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This bike pic Saturday is a peaceful morning for a bike ride and to bundle up junior and get him conditioned for the cooler weather ahead.
So, adjust to the cold and get into the zone when continuing your time outdoors and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Iowa or Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends, and check out more stories at Let’s Do MN.
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Now rolling through our 19th year as a bike tourism media, enjoy! As we pedal forward, we aim to encourage more people to bike and have fun while highlighting all the unforgettable places you can ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.
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As we continue encouraging more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure. Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile-friendly in our 14th year of producing this handy information booklet full of maps.
Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends, and don’t forget to smile. With one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo appearance while you are riding and having fun, we may be around the corner. You could be in one of our next Pic of the Day.
It was impossible to miss the Sealskinz booth at Interbike this year. There in the center of the exhibit was a huge tub of water with a woman standing in the middle wearing nothing on her feet but socks! When I asked if her feet were wet or cold, she responded casually “nope, I’ve been standing here for an hour and my feet are still dry and warm.” I was intrigued, but not convinced, because I couldn’t help but think “how could it be soft and waterproof”? Well, fast forward a few weeks and I am happy to say that Sealskinz recently sent us a care package of products right in time for winter. Take a look for details on the Super Thin Pro Socks.
Sealskinz socks construction
The Sealskinz’ seminal product was a waterproof, insulated sock designed for the rigors of wet English winters. We received SealSkinz’ new Super Thin Pro sock. The great thing about this sock is it retains all the waterproof and insulating properties of their exiting socks with a third less weight and bulk. To achieve a lighter sock, Sealskinz employed a new knit pattern for the outer layer and bamboo fiber for the insulation layer. Because a sock has a huge hole in the top of it to accept your foot, they cant be 100% waterproof. What Sealskinz does to combat water coming in from the top of the sock, is to employ a silicon band along the inner cuff of the sock. It rests against the skin and seals off most of the water that would normally migrate down into your sock.
How they fit
Immediately upon putting them on I could feel the liner embedded in the fabric. Why they feel different is the waterproof membrane gives the socks a structure that is more substantial than your normal socks. The fabric bonded on the inside and outside of membrane is really soft to the touch and comfortable on your skin. I did have a concern that the socks would not be able to stretch and flex enough to conform to my feet, but I was proven wrong, again. nearly immediately. Also, I had concerns about the silicon cuff. On many cycling shorts with “grippers” at the bottom of the leg cuff can be uncomfortable. I am happy to report that I never felt any discomfort with the Sealskinz cuff.
Socks in the real world
Although I haven’t had a ton of time to ride these socks, I did have an exceptional first experience. My commute to work is about 40 minutes through the rolling terrain of the Twin Cities suburbs. The day I received the socks was just under 30 degrees and spitting a rain/snow mix. I left for work wearing my standard cycling shoes and a good quality wool cycling sock. In those conditions, I arrived at the office with numb toes that when thawed, hurt a ton. Fast forward to the end of the day, where conditions were exactly the same as the morning, yeah! (More freezing temps and rain). In the evening, I wore that Super Thin Pro Sock instead of my wool sock. In contrast to my ride in, by the time I got home, my feet were still nice and toasty. To clarify, I rode 40 minutes in rain/snow mix and 30 degrees with my feet warm and cozy.
So the Super Thin Pro Sock has passed all my initial tests. However, I’m not done yet. So over the next few weeks, I will test them again. As Minnesota’s temperatures continue to drop I plan to find the lowest temp these socks will work on my feet. Additionally, I have gloves and booties from Sealskinz that will be subjected to the worst Minnesota has to dish out. Stay tuned for more!
With winter here for a few more months it is not uncommon for cabin fever to set in. Many of us use this time of year to head off to a warm riding destination to get out of the cold and kick-starting the spring season a little early. While the list of warm biking destinations is nearly endless, here are a few that can be extra fun. Read on to learn, where to go and how to get there.
Finding the perfect warm riding destination takes planning
The first part of any trip is usually the least fun – planning! However, taking a little extra time to figure out what type of riding you want to do, what off the bike activities you want to enjoy and the type of accommodations that meets your needs will make the trip more enjoyabe.
I’m not going to tell you how to pack, but I will recommend you bring more than you think you need for a warm riding destination trip. A rain shell, a long sleeve jersey and a pair of tights don’t take up much room in your bag and can totally save a day if you receive unseasonably cool weather while away. Additionally, I would recommend you prepare your bike. Research the trail/road conditions by calling a local bike shop to see if they recommend anything. As an example, in the southwest there is a plant called Puncturevine (or goatheads), that produces a very hard, very sharp seed. These seeds destroy the more delicate tires your topography may allow. So when I have traveled to Arizona in the spring, I changed my tires to the puncture resistant variety and saved hours of fixing flats.
R&R – Rides and Relaxation
I know the idea of a warm riding destination trip can be exciting, but be sure not to bite off more than you can chew. Overdoing it on the first day can set a bad tone for the rest of the week, so concentrate on riding and relaxing. I like to set up two rides for the first day (typically a morning and afternoon ride). That way, if you feel great you can enjoy both, but if you can’t muster the second one it’s easy to skip it. By contrast, if you setup one long ride for the first day, you may get stuck half way out with an empty energy tank.
Where to go
I am lucky to have enjoyed many winter months in warmer places, Some of those listed below are favorites of mine, while still others are on my list of places to go.
Georgia has become a cycling destination for riders of all discipines. It was the location of the first Olympic mountain bike race as well as the home of one of the united states most difficult stage races (tour of Georgia). If you have your heart set (and prepared) for a day of climbing hills and enjoying views, you can enjoy the Mile high 55 ride in the town of Roswell. If flat cruises, beautiful beaches and southern living are more your speed, check out the town of Savanah for it’s endless bike paths.
Tennessee is home to great weather, awesome people, and spectacular riding. Places like Montgomery Bell State park just outside Nashville is a great jumping off point for mountain bike as well as road rides. It’s proximity to the musical city of Nashville also ensure your days in the saddle can be well balanced with nights of fun.
Florida is a well known winter destination for all the resorts and beaches, but did you know they also boast world class mountain bike trails? Even in a city as spicy as Miami you can find dirt to satisfy you? Trails like the Oleta River State Park have tight singletrack with whoops, roots, and drops to make even the most seasoned rider shout with joy.
Arizona is a winter haven for many thanks to its temperate climate. While it gets a bit hot for many in the summer, winter and fall are breathtaking. The roads outside most major cities are clear and some can be incredibly challenging. For instance, north of Tucson sits Mt Lemmon, a 6 hour ride that puts you more than 8000 feet above sea level. It is littered with wide open vistas and earth shattering views so bring your camera along!
Mt Lemmon’s views are worth the trouble climbing to them
For cycling trips, it is difficult to beat the riding in California. The large state has green rolling hills in it’s northern territories as well as dry, desert roads that stretch on forever and let you work on that tan in it’s southern half. I personally love riding high above the golden gate bridge in the China Camp trail system in Marin county. While you are there, you can soak in some cycling culture at the Marin Museum of Bicycling and Mountain bike hall of fame.
The Marin Museum of Bicycling is home to over 100 years of bicycle evolution. It is also a hangout for some of the most influential bicycle builders of ll time.
Traveling with your bike is not that difficult. If you plan to travel a lot, investing in a dedicated travel bike or buying a bike case are probably your best options. If that isn’t the way you want to go, many cities have stores that will rent good quality bikes at reasonable rates.
Riding in unknown locations
There are a few things you want to make sure of before you go riding somewhere new. First is to let others know where you are going and when you plan to return. This can alert people to your absence if need be. Also, you may want to think about SAG support? AAA Auto Club now offers roadside bike assistance as a service where they will pick you up if you have a problem. Finally, bring your smartphone. You may want to turn the ringer off, so reality can’t spoil the fun, but it’s mapping functions can get you out of a jam if you take a wrong turn or need 911.
So have fun and share your #NextBikeAdventure pictures and stories with us at HaveFunBiking.com on your next warm riding destination getaway.