Snow Riding in Alaska- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1

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    Snow Riding in Alaska

    Wow, I feel like the new guy. The newbie who hasn't got a clue about biking... I've been riding for something like 17+ years, so it's been a while since I felt so clueless about a topic. Sort of fun.

    So here it goes...

    I'm located in North Carolina, we seldom get snow where I live and I want to experience snow riding in Alaska. So I'm interested in hearing any and all tips, warnings, precautions, must do, shouldn't do, must see... anything you can throw my way to help me understand what snow riding in Alaska is like and about.

    So here I am a newbie... perfect fodder for bashing.
    Cheers!

  2. #2
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    You should check

    www.arcticcycles.com

    He's got snow bikes you can rent, and tons of info on places to go check out.

    .

  3. #3
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    P and P

    Pugsley and Pogies are key.

    Pugsley being surly's mutant fat tired bike. I suggest single speed to keep things simple

    Pogies being the big insulated handle bar covers.. They make an amazing difference for keeping your hands warm.

    I also recomend growing a beard. It works so much better for me than any balaclava or face mask I've ever come across.

  4. #4
    is buachail foighneach me
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    don't sweat. and if you do sweat, don't stop moving. remove layers for climbs and areas sheltered from the wind, add them for downhills and more open areas.

    alot of it is about finding what works for you. the snow riding you'll do in nc will likely be completely different than most of the snow riding that happens up here after october. from november through april/may, we're almost entirely on snowmachine trails, which have a very different dynamic than rocky singletrack with a few inches on top.

  5. #5
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    Pma

    The best way to experience winter biking in AK is to come-up and experience winter biking in AK. Like is says above, Try Billy at Arcticcycles. He can hook you up with everything from a pugsly to pogies, and everything in between...all you need is a good positive mental attitude and then sit back and experience the experience.

  6. #6
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    Check out http ://home.gci.net/~winterbiker/ "Alaska All Season Cycling". Lots of winter biking photos, descriptions of rides, trails and trips in Interior Alaska. t

  7. #7
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    Don't know if a Pugsley is key but pogies certainly are in addition to the usual hydration and efficient layering.

    I think an appropriate boot set up is prob next right in line with the right tires. Surley's Endomorphs seem like they are the only option,

  8. #8
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    I would recommend a Pugsley. I rented one a while ago and have to say it was an easy hook...and then ended up buying one this January. It makes a lot more places accessible. A buddy and myself rode part of Johnson's Pass last weekend and have to say it was pretty cool. There were a few places where the snow was a little soft and required more effort (off some of the snow mobile trails), but still well worth it! It is a ride you should certainly consider.

  9. #9
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    I am just not a fan of offsets, asymmetry, and non-standard components. Check out Wildfire Designs, Fatback from Speedway and 9:zero:7 from Chain Reaction in Anchorage. Although a more expensive they have evolved leagues from the Surly design. The Fatback can also be converted to 29'er in the summer.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Elfbkr50
    www.arcticcycles.com He's got snow bikes you can rent, and tons of info on places to go check out.
    Thanks I'll check them out.

    Quote Originally Posted by njbisme
    Pugsley and Pogies are key.

    I suggest single speed to keep things simple. I also recomend growing a beard. It works so much better for me than any balaclava or face mask I've ever come across.
    I saw a photo of some guy's bike the other day... the rear D was frozen and caked with ice. Seams like a Single Speed makes a lot of sense in those conditions... and a lot less headaches too. I already have a beard that I keep trimmed down, just need to grow it out... but thanks for the tip. I should have thought of this myself for winter riding here.

    Quote Originally Posted by sean salach
    don't sweat. and if you do sweat, don't stop moving. remove layers for climbs and areas sheltered from the wind, add them for downhills and more open areas.
    Man I sweat year round... Guess I'll just have to keep rollin and run through the layers as needed.

    Quote Originally Posted by damnitman
    The best way to experience winter biking in AK is to come-up and experience winter biking in AK. All you need is a good positive mental attitude and then sit back and experience the experience.
    Yea, I figured it's just one of those things that you'll never fully understand unless you just experience it first hand.

    Quote Originally Posted by awinterbiker
    Check out http ://home.gci.net/~winterbiker/ "Alaska All Season Cycling". Lots of winter biking photos, descriptions of rides, trails and trips in Interior Alaska.
    Great stuff on that site, that's for sharing!

    Quote Originally Posted by Valhalla
    Don't know if a Pugsley is key but pogies certainly are in addition to the usual hydration and efficient layering.
    I think an appropriate boot set up is prob next right in line with the right tires. Surley's Endomorphs seem like they are the only option,
    My feet are what I figure would give me the biggest issue. They seem to always be cold. And on winter rides here in NC, that's the first thing that always bothers me. A good set of winter riding shoes would probably fix that for me. But I've managed with my regular shoes so far. Do you guys even use clipless up that way or flat pedals?

    I really don't know anything about the Pugsley, FatBack, offsets, asymmetry, etc. but from what I've learned so far and if I'm correct:
    the Pugsley is a Surly snow bike.
    the FatBack is a snow bike.
    the Endomorphs is a Surly tire.

    And from this thread I should consider:
    going with a single speed... keep it simple.
    get the right clothing and gear to protect myself from the elements appropriately.
    grow a beard.
    pace myself, stay hydrated, layer up as needed, layer down in shelter areas away from the wind, and try to keep the sweating down if possible.
    come with a positive attitude, take it in and enjoy the experience.

    It's going to take me some time to save up the cash for this trip. But when the day comes and I arrive, I plan to hire a guide and rent the bike I'll need. I'll probably ask my guide to help me pick out the right bike for the trip, but having an understanding of what my choice of bike options are will be nice to know.

    As for clothing, I've got some home work ahead of me to learn more about the necessary clothing, layering right, etc.
    Thanks for sharing these tips!

    If you have any other suggestions, please offer them up.
    Thanks!!!

  11. #11
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    One more thing. When it is cold you get to eat a lot. Stoke the furnace as they say. Big days require big amounts of calories. Reindeer sausage for breakfast, high fat high calorie snacks (peanut butter and other nuts w/ chocolate) etc. I have had phases winter biking and skiing where I was easily putting away between 5,000 and 10,000 cal/day. My wife can tell the moment she runs out of calories because she gets cold, so eat up. It's awesome. bon apetit

  12. #12
    is buachail foighneach me
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey650b
    I really don't know anything about the Pugsley, FatBack, offsets, asymmetry, etc. but from what I've learned so far and if I'm correct:
    the Pugsley is a Surly snow bike.
    the FatBack is a snow bike.
    the Endomorphs is a Surly tire.

    And from this thread I should consider:
    going with a single speed... keep it simple.
    get the right clothing and gear to protect myself from the elements appropriately.
    grow a beard.
    pace myself, stay hydrated, layer up as needed, layer down in shelter areas away from the wind, and try to keep the sweating down if possible.
    come with a positive attitude, take it in and enjoy the experience.

    It's going to take me some time to save up the cash for this trip. But when the day comes and I arrive, I plan to hire a guide and rent the bike I'll need. I'll probably ask my guide to help me pick out the right bike for the trip, but having an understanding of what my choice of bike options are will be nice to know.

    As for clothing, I've got some home work ahead of me to learn more about the necessary clothing, layering right, etc.
    Thanks for sharing these tips!

    If you have any other suggestions, please offer them up.
    Thanks!!!

    don't forget to take alot of photos. airfare to ak from the lower 48 is cheapest in winter. i've been able to find prices in the $550 - 650 range, round trip, from(or to now that i live here) the east coast. and you will either need to rent a car, or stay in anchorage and car pool to riding destinations. there is no feasible public transportation outside of anchorage.

  13. #13
    ckg
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    Quote Originally Posted by Valhalla
    I am just not a fan of offsets, asymmetry, and non-standard components. Check out Wildfire Designs, Fatback from Speedway and 9:zero:7 from Chain Reaction in Anchorage. Although a more expensive they have evolved leagues from the Surly design. The Fatback can also be converted to 29'er in the summer.
    Just a little language niggle...the Wildfire Fatbikes had years of commercial production and years of wins in the Alaska Ultrasport bike races before Surley came up with their similar product. The Wildfire Fatbike may well have evolved far beyond the Surley, but certainly did not evolve from the Surley design.

    PS: I've seen 29's on the current Wildfire Fatbikes.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by ckg
    Just a little language niggle...the Wildfire Fatbikes had years of commercial production and years of wins in the Alaska Ultrasport bike races before Surley came up with their similar product. The Wildfire Fatbike may well have evolved far beyond the Surley, but certainly did not evolve from the Surley design.

    PS: I've seen 29's on the current Wildfire Fatbikes.
    Fair enough

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