Visiting Anchorage in December- Mtbr.com
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  1. #1
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    Visiting Anchorage in December

    So, I will be in Anchorage from November 30th through December 21st for work. I will likely have some days off. I would like to do some fat biking while I am there and am looking for some recommendations on the following:

    1) best place to rent a bike from. So far I have found Chain Reaction and Trek store for decent rentals. Thoughts on those options? Other suggestions?

    2) good places to ride. I am an experienced rider but new to winter fat biking

    3) I have lots of cold weather gear (some from work, some left over from my teen and college years in NY and NJ) but none of it is cycling specific. What cycling specific cold weather gear is worth buying? Recommendations on brands? I am assuming pants, shoes, and gloves? Would cycling rain pants with some thermal layers under be adequate for pants?

    Thanks in advance!

  2. #2
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    I lived there 2016, 17.
    The easiest way to get in a ride would be this.
    Go to The Bicycle Shop on Northern Lights and rent a fat bike.
    The stores downtown that rent bikes rent low end garbage.
    I spoke to someone at The Bicycle Shop and rentals are 75.00 but they said the price may be going down to 45 or 55. It's Alaska. Nothing is cheap and deals are hard to find. The nice thing about the Bicycle Shop is that Earthquake Park is a short ride down Northern Lights where you can access the Tony Knowles Coastal Trail. That will take you to Kincaid Park where there are some amazing trails. Be very careful of the moose. Have fun. My wife and I are going back for Christmas to visit relatives.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Visiting Anchorage in December-26116027_1917681948245530_6962417131862668932_o.jpg  


  3. #3
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    If you go this route you need to cruise thru Lake Hood. It is the largest float plane base in the world. Have fun.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails Visiting Anchorage in December-17310314_1611463928867335_6885182719989649285_o.jpg  

    Visiting Anchorage in December-17349745_1605785316101863_555987278415730550_o.jpg  

    Visiting Anchorage in December-12794899_1254555834558148_7032859970835074617_o.jpg  


  4. #4
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    Thanks for the recommendations guys!

    Iíll definitely have to swing by lake hood on this trip. I love aviation (do it for a living).

  5. #5
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    I have some ideas here:

    First, skip the coastal trail and Kincaid, especially in December when coverage may be thin and spotty. The Northern exposure trails in Kincaid see little love in the winter and tend to become unconsolidated snow on the "fun loops". There are some fun short loops on the South side, but lots of intersecting ski trails and you cannot ride on those in the winter. There isn't a whole lot of trail out there and it doesn't connect with anything, except the paved coastal trail. Earthquake park is not a trails area. The bonus I guess is you can ride there from downtown, but it's a lot of flat boring riding on the coastal trail to get there.

    There is some new singletrack being built along the Chester Creek trail, that does connect with some other trail areas over by the University and eventually over to Far North Park. It'd be a little tough to route-find this mostly on trails in a few short days, but it's possible.

    Far North Bicentennial Park/Abbott Loop Community Park is where things just explode in the winter time as far as trails. You have a selection of wide ski trails and narrow singletrack. What were swamps in the summer time become trails and routes in the winter time. This area also retains the snow better, important in early-season. Although the route-finding is a little tougher, people get lost in Kincaid as well due to the "inner loop". Use trailforks to help with orientation. The Far North Park stuff also connects with the Hillside Single Track Advocates (STA) trails, so you can do some flatter or tech trails, then hook up to Hillside for a little more sustained up/down action. Then, if you want even more adventure, you can connect with Chugach State Park and ride the new South Fork Rim Trail and back around on Middle Fork Trail, which are fun loops in the winter, but dependent on snow and traffic.

    Most of the bike shops will rent out fat-bikes. Most of them are great and will go out of their way to help out people. I'm partial to sending people to Paramout, because they don't pressure the "not as serious" riders, but all the shops are good. Renting a fat-bike shouldn't be an issue.

    Bring lights!

    As far as clothes, see the myriad of posts on that subject by doing some searches.

    A few basic things are:

    XC ski stuff works great generally, you need breathable stuff with a little wind-proofing on the frontside, waterproof is NOT a goal and usually suffocates you and makes you sweat. Stuff that claims to be waterproof AND breathable is not in the winter at biking exertion levels. Sweating is bad and will make you cold. Hard shell type stuff (that may be waterproof) is generally only a good idea in the more extreme cold, below 0F, when you actually need to trap heat. Bring the "next level" of clothes with you so you can stop and put it on if you need. A down puffy large enough to fit over your outer layers, even a light one (that is real down) is amazing for this. I say this because they pack extremely small and weight/space is always a concern on a bike. That said, it doesn't really matter what, but it's a good idea to bring an extra layer like that. Make sure you stop and change layers if you need to, in either direction. Too many layers is just as bad as too little, as too many will make you sweat. It's normal to be a little cold before you start and it takes around 20 minutes to "heat up". Stop and vent, unzip, take stuff off, but don't keep riding if you are starting to get a little cold or hot, stop and fix it, that will make you much happier and safer for the ride.
    "It's only when you stand over it, you know, when you physically stand over the bike, that then you say 'hey, I don't have much stand over height', you know"-T. Ellsworth

    You're turning black metallic.

  6. #6
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    Visiting Anchorage in December

    A little follow up.

    Got a surprise day off tomorrow and got out of work early today. I swung by The Bicycle Shop on northern nights (near my hotel) and rented a fatbike for 24hrs. Got a short night loop in tonight at Hillside and am planning a longer ride tomorrow. A few things I noticed:

    1) holy crap climbing is a lot harder. Definitely was hike-a-biking a few spots because I could not get traction up steeper grades. Climbing also required a higher gear and lower cadence than I am used to so that sapped some of my energy.

    2) falling hurts less (voice of experience)

    3) down hill flow trails are fun in the snow, it is like a weird mix of biking and sledding

    Thanks again for the suggestions. Looking forward to tomorrow!

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by bronxbomber252 View Post
    A little follow up.

    Got a surprise day off tomorrow and got out of work early today. I swung by The Bicycle Shop on northern nights (near my hotel) and rented a fatbike for 24hrs. Got a short night loop in tonight at Hillside and am planning a longer ride tomorrow. A few things I noticed:

    1) holy crap climbing is a lot harder. Definitely was hike-a-biking a few spots because I could not get traction up steeper grades. Climbing also required a higher gear and lower cadence than I am used to so that sapped some of my energy.

    2) falling hurts less (voice of experience)

    3) down hill flow trails are fun in the snow, it is like a weird mix of biking and sledding

    Thanks again for the suggestions. Looking forward to tomorrow!
    Cool that you got out yesterday. The riding was a bit tougher yesterday than a "typical" day just due to the new snow. Once trails get packed down, the riding becomes a lot easier and faster. Today should be a noticeable improvement.

    Hopefully the Bicycle Shop gave you a little information about trails, specifically that some trails are off-limits to bikes. Many of the Nordic ski trails in town are ski-only in the winter. They are signed pretty well if you make sure to check the trail signs at intersections or look at the maps at the kiosks. As long as you are on singletrack, you are always good. If you find a wide, packed trail, it may be a Nordic trail and you will want to make sure it is posted as a multi-use trail.

    Hope you have a good chance to put in a little more time today on the trails.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by anchskier View Post
    Cool that you got out yesterday. The riding was a bit tougher yesterday than a "typical" day just due to the new snow. Once trails get packed down, the riding becomes a lot easier and faster. Today should be a noticeable improvement.

    Hopefully the Bicycle Shop gave you a little information about trails, specifically that some trails are off-limits to bikes. Many of the Nordic ski trails in town are ski-only in the winter. They are signed pretty well if you make sure to check the trail signs at intersections or look at the maps at the kiosks. As long as you are on singletrack, you are always good. If you find a wide, packed trail, it may be a Nordic trail and you will want to make sure it is posted as a multi-use trail.

    Hope you have a good chance to put in a little more time today on the trails.
    They gave me some great info.

    I actually found conditions a little more difficult this morning but still fun. Got about 8.5 miles in with a mix of bicentennial and hillside. Got turned around by a moose at one point but a local hiking with his dogs who also bikes gave me some great tips on alternate routes I could take.

    Here are some photos from today


  9. #9
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    Go to Moose's Tooth for pizza.
    Santa's Little Helper is my fav.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lickety Split View Post
    Go to Moose's Tooth for pizza.
    Santa's Little Helper is my fav.
    Been twice already. I am staying about a block away at TownePlace Suites

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