Tag Archives: Winter Biking

With winter showing signs of ending and roads soon beginning to clear of snow and ice, we all look forward to venturing out into the world on two wheels. The following should help you find the right cycling clothes for that #NextBikeAdventure

How to pick the right cycling clothes for any condition

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

With winter showing signs of ending and roads soon beginning to clear of snow and ice, we all look forward to venturing out into the world on two wheels. The following should help you find the right cycling clothes for that #NextBikeAdventure. Even though the weather is improving, true summer temps are still a ways off, so take a look at these tips.

Layering Up with Cycling Clothes

As we swing closer into spring finding the right cycling clothes for an early season bike ride is important as temperatures fluctuate.

As we swing closer into spring, finding the right cycling clothes for an early season bike ride is important as temperatures fluctuate.

Your perceived temperature as well as the actual ambient temperature can change while you ride. In order to get the most flexibility, and stay comfortable, layered clothing offer the most options. Listed below are the many items that make up a complete wardrobe of cycling clothes. However, depending on your geography or personal preferences, some items may not be required.

     -Jersey

A cycling jersey isn’t a necessity for riding, but it sure does make things comfortable. Jerseys come in lightweight sleeveless versions for the hottest summer days, or insulated long sleeve versions for cold weather riding.

     -Base Layers

They come in short and long sleeve versions. They’re usually made of a polypropylene material that keeps you dry by moving moisture off your skin quickly.

     -Shorts

Cycling shorts are the most important piece of clothing when it comes to comfort. There are tight versions as well as baggy ones, but all have a pad to help make your saddle more comfortable.

     -Arm Warmers

Arm warmers fit snugly from your wrist to just below your shoulder. The ability to roll them up or down while you ride makes them ideal for rides that have a large change in temperature.

     -Knee Warmers

Like arm warmers, knee warmers offer great flexibility on days with a large shift in temperature. They can be easily packed in a jersey pocket for use when needed.

     -Gloves

Gloves range from half fingered summer versions to heavy, windproof, winter versions and everything in between. The most important thing about glove is to find something that fits comfortably.

     -Tights

Tights are an essential piece of clothing if you want to be comfortable riding as the temperature drops. They help you retain body heat while not being bulky and interrupting your ability to ride comfortably.

     -Jackets

Cycling jackets are noticeably thinner than a standard winter jacket. The reason they don’t need as much loft is because as you exercise, you create enough heat. Most good cycling jackets use a windproof material to stop heat from being pulled off your body by the air moving around you as you ride. Some higher end jackets are windproof as well as waterproof.

     -Wind Breaker

As it sounds, this jacket or vest’s main job is to stop the wind from pulling heat away from your body. They are usually lightweight and can be packed into a very small bag for easy transport.

     -Hats

Cycling caps are usually thin enough to fit under a helmet and vary in insulation depending on the material used. Warmer caps are usually made from fleece with a windproof membrane, while summer caps are made of nylon.

     -Booties

Booties are thick neoprene covers designed to fit over your shoe and ankle. They do a great job of insulating while still allowing you to wear you comfortable cycling shoes. If you plan to do a lot of winter riding, you may want to invest in a dedicated winter shoe, rather than booties.

What to Wear

Now that we know about cycling clothes, let’s talk about how they fit into the game. Everyone’s temperature threshold is different, so you may find it comfortable to wear slightly more or less clothing than recommended below. After a full season of riding, you will figure out exactly what works for you and where you may need some more clothing options.

Above 65 Degrees

Winter riding above 65

Jersey, shorts, gloves, and socks should be comfortable.

65 Degrees

Winter riding at 60

Add knee warmers, arm warmers, base layer, and light full finger gloves.

55 Degrees

winter riding 55

The addition of a vest keeps your core warm.

50 Degrees

Winter riding 45

Trade the arm warmers for a long sleeve jersey and swap out to thicker socks and gloves.

45 Degrees

winter riding 45

Swap knee warmers for light tights, short sleeve base layer for long sleeve, and add a hat.

40 Degrees

Winter riding 45

A wind breaking coat and booties keep you toasty.

35 Degrees

Winter riding 35

Trade light tights for winter tights, light hat for winter cap, and full finger gloves for winter gloves.

30 Degrees

Winter Riding 30

A heavy winter coat replaces the windbreaker and long sleeve jersey.

Stay Dry

With the simple breakdown of cycling clothes above you should be able to comfortably ride throughout the spring and deep into winter. If it rains, all bets are off. With rain on top of cold, the most important thing is to stay dry. Most synthetic insulating fabrics will still work when wet, but the wet greatly diminishes their ability to keep you warm.

In the rains of the fall and early spring staying dry can be a difficult task. The best way to stay dry is to wear waterproof clothing. A jacket and pants are a great way to start, but socks and gloves make the outfit complete. Before you go out and just buy anything labeled “waterproof”, understand that all waterproofing is not the same.

In their most basic form, a lot of materials are waterproof, but as soon as they are perforated with stitching, zipped closed with generic zippers, and left to be loose at all the cuffs, their waterproofing goes out the window. On top of the issue with letting water in, basic waterproof materials don’t let water vapor out. It’s just as bad to get soaked through with sweat as with rain as far as insulation is concerned.

     -Keep Water Out

To keep water out, look for waterproof cycling clothes that have sealed seams or welded seams (see image). Pay close attention to the zipper. Look for waterproof zippers (pictured) or large flaps that prevent water from driving through the zipper. Make sure all the cuffs are adjustable enough to be snugged against your skin.

Examples of cycling clothes with taped seams (Left), welded seams (Center), and a waterproof zipper (Right)

     -Let Sweat Out

To let the sweat out, waterproof materials should also be breathable. Breathable means that water from the outside cannot penetrate the fabric, but that any water vapor (sweat) being produced by your body, can escape through the fabric. Breathable fabrics work because water vapor is smaller than water droplets. To breath, the material will be perforated with holes small enough to stop water droplets from getting in, but large enough to allow water vapor to escape. Using a breathable material in tandem with base layers designed to pull moisture off your skin is a sure fire way to stay dry and warm.

You cannot beat the changing scenery of fall riding or the feeling of rediscovering riding in the spring. Hopefully, with these tips and a little experimentation, you will find comfort and enjoyment riding outside, even when the weather is cool.

Chasing away the winter blues by visiting a warm weather bike destination.

Chasing away those winter blues by traveling to a warm riding destination

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

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.

Getting ready

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

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

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

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

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!

war riding destinations

Mt Lemmon’s views are worth the trouble climbing to them

California

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.

Warm riding Destinations

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.

More bike destinations to consider

Check out our HaveFunBiking National Guide for more place to ride for that #NextBikeAdventure.

How to travel with your bike

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.

A little Monday winter wisdom to get you through the rest of your week. "If you wait for the perfect conditions, you'll never get anything done."

Bike Pic Jan 8, Monday winter wisdom from those who fat bike

“If you wait for perfect conditions, you’ll never get anything done.” A little Monday winter wisdom to get you through the rest of your week. Just because Winter is upon us, doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up your helmets.

View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in our new HaveFunBiking Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends at one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for viewing Today’s “Monday Winter Wisdom” Bike Pic

Now rolling into our 11th year as a bike tourism media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun. While highlighting all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more destinations you can have fun at we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. As you scroll through the information and stories we have posted, enjoy!

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each), of who is in the photo (if you know?) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger, to be considered. If we do use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continues to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your next bike adventure – Also, check out the latest  Bike Guide, mobile friendly as we enter into our 9th year of producing print and digital guides.

So bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure. Please share all our pic’s with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the next corner with a HFB camera ready to document your next move while you are riding and having fun. Capturing you in one of our next ‘Pic of the Day’ posts.

Have a great week!

Bike commuting is an easy way to increase fitness, jump start your energy level, and enjoy nature. Read and learn about what you need to commute in comfort.

New Year’s Resolution: make 2018 your best bike riding year ever!

By John Brown, HaveFunBiking

After all the presents are opened and the last of the cookies disappear many of us turn our attention to the year ahead. More specifically, many of us begin the annual task of developing new year’s resolutions for ourselves. This year, why not resolve to make this year your best year of bike riding ever!

Get ready for the bike season

For most of us, the season doesn’t begin in earnest until April 1st. Coincidentally, April 1st is also the first day of the 30 days of biking pledge. Therefore, why not take the next three months to get ready for April’s goal of 30 days of riding!

best year of riding

A happy rider having completed his 30 days of biking!

It’s been proven countless times in history – the mind drives the body! I find a great way to get my mind ready for a goal is to share that goal with others. For me, once I tell others about my goal, I am making a deal with myself that it is a real thing. Once your goal is real, begin clearing your schedule for it.

Get your body ready for the bike

Make a training plan now. Your plan can be as simple as committing to ride two times a week or as detailed as planning the mileage, date, and time. Just be sure that plan matches with your goal (example: riding for only one hour a week wouldn’t give you the fitness you need to ride two hours a day through April).

Minnesota is currently locked in a winter freeze, so conditions may not coincide with your availability to ride outdoors. But keeping yourself physically active is paramount for this time of year and it’s especially crucial for your training. You can go snowshoeing, running, swimming, cross country skiing, indoor riding (on a trainer), take spin classes, or anything that raises your heartbeat.

best year of riding

Indoor rides can be fun with the right group.

To ensure you have on-bike fitness there is no better indoor exercise than riding a bike trainer. There are spin gyms, training centers and bike shops that run classes a few times a week. Look into what programs are available and you will stick to in your community.

How to fit riding into your daily routine

Most people don’t have time to do the things they need to do (like that home project you swore you would finish last summer). So how do you fit in time to train? To start, try not to add too much separate riding time to your schedule. Instead, commute to work by bike. Drive part of the way and ride the rest. A normal 30 minute drive could turn into a 15 minute drive and the rest on your bike with a little planning. That way, you only add a 15 to 20 minutes to your schedule and still get a ride in. Do it in the morning and the evening and you bought an hour of riding while only adding up to 40 minutes to your daily schedule.

I find that I make a trips to the grocery store for a handful of items a few times a week. Try to ride your bike to the grocery store, rather than drive once a week.

Also, try adding a ride to your normal downtime. If you have an indoor trainer, ride for one hour a night while watching TV rather than sitting on the couch. It may seem counter-intuitive, but being active is a great way to wind down from a busy day. You will find you sleep better and generally feel more relaxed.

Get your bike equipment ready

Bring your bike out of hibernation and put air in the tires. Take it for a spin around the block and check to see if it’s functioning properly. April 1st is smack dab in the middle of when many people begin to think about riding their bike. If you wait until the last minute to drop your bike off for service, chances are, you will be waiting longer than you like for you bicycle. Click the  (link) here to read about some of the benefits of servicing your bike in the winter.

best year of riding

This rider is looking for speed, but a good bike fit can benefit any rider!

If you bring your bike in for service, think about making sure your bike fits you properly. A professional bike fit will lower the chance of repetitive motion injuries and make you more comfortable and efficient. While you’re having your bike serviced and fit you can also find the right clothing and accessories for the year ahead. The weather in April can be a mixed bag, so make sure your clothing options include something to keep you comfortable in the sun,rain, snow, wind, or cold.

The First step

The longest journey begins with a single step and that step should be taken on January 1st. Making the time to ride or exercise on new year’s is easy considering most of us are off of work. Getting started right away is a huge moral booster, for the goal of having your best year of bike riding ever!

There are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep your fitness through the winter riding months.

Fun and fitness when winter bike riding is not your thing

by John Brown

Snow, ice and cold are great conditions for Fat Biking, but how do you keep your fitness if fat biking isn’t your thing? Luckily, there are tons of exercises, drills and products to help you keep you in shape through the winter months.

winter riding

Fun is fat through the winter

Off the bike fitness ideas

Even the smallest efforts help you stay fit. Trying things like taking the stairs rather than elevator, parking on the opposite side of the lot and walking when shopping or taking time in the evening to go for walks around the neighborhood will make a big difference when the riding season comes back around. You can also start putting some time in at the gym. In the past I had a gym membership that I would turn off except for 3 months a year. I enjoyed yoga classes, weight training, treadmills, spin classes, as well as all sorts of other gym related activities.

On the Bike training

Besides fat biking (which is the best winter riding option) you can enjoy your bike through the winter by buying an indoor trainer. An indoor trainer holds your bicycle upright and offers resistance when you pedal, thus turning your bike into a stationary bicycle. Using an Indoor trainer you can ride from the comfort of your own home or in a group setting. In fact, most bike shops have trainer nights in their stores through the winter.

winter riding

Trainer rides are a great way to connect with other riders

If you join a shop’s group trainer ride there is usually a leader. However, riding alone can still be fun. Most people start riding their trainer while watching TV and it’s a great plan at first, but that quickly gets boring. I find it interesting to use trainer specific workouts online. There are plenty of free and for pay versions. Additionally, depending on the trainer you buy, some of those workouts will actually change the resistance through your trainer.

Spin classes

Most gyms offer spin classes. These classes use a stationary bicycle, music, and instructors to guide a class through a one-hour workout. These rides are really fun and offer an intensity that is difficult to achieve riding alone at home.

Winter riding

Spin Class is a fast and fun workout

There are however, a few downsides with spin classes to keep in mind. One issue is that a spin bike won’t fit the same as your own bike. To fix this, many riders will install their own saddle and pedals on a spin bike before each class. The other potential problem is that the classes are not tailored toward your personal goals. The classes are usually high tempo, high effort workouts that might not fit with your training plan.

Fun in the Snow

If you live in a cooler weather climate and snow is reality for months at a time you can enjoy the white stuff and keep your fitness. Cross country skiing, snow shoeing, and ice skating are amazing ways to get your heart rate up. I love skating on our pond with my boys because one, I’m not good at it, so I get to use new muscles and two, I have to really work hard to keep up with them.

winter riding

Our winter oasis where I fumble through learning to skate

However you find your fitness through the winter, enjoy your time off the bike. The brief time between fall and spring is perfect to strengthen new muscles, work on flexibility, and let your body recover from a full season of cycling. Additionally, time off the bike always makes me more excited to get back on it once the weather clears.

With below normal temps snow is sticking throughout the upper half of Minnesota making it perfect for some fat bike fun as this biker chick demonstrates.

Bike Pic Nov 7, its fat bike fun in the upper half of Minnesota

With below normal temps snow is sticking throughout the upper half of Minnesota making it perfect for some fat bike fun as this biker chick demonstrates.

What better way to continue your fall fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Yeah Fat Bike Fun’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to 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.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage 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, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, 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. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

It’s Friday and time to ride off on another weekend of fun taking in that next bike adventure that maybe includes a fall mountain bike ride.

Bike Pic, Nov 3, yeah its Friday time for that next bike adventure

It’s Friday and time to ride off on another weekend of fun taking in that next bike adventure that maybe includes a fall mountain bike ride or ccyle cross event. With mild fall temps and a few flurries here in the upper Midwest, it looks like another perfect weekend to pedal and explore.

What better way to continue your fall fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for viewing our ‘Yeah Its Friday’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to 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.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage 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, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, 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. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Is mountain biking in the snow season really here in the upper Midwest?

Bike Pic Oct 28, mountain biking fun in the snow is here again!

Is mountain biking in the snow season really here to stay in the upper Midwest? With temps hovering in the low 30’s, including rain and snow over the next several day. it maybe time to get the fatty out and prepare for some winter riding fun.

What better way to continue your fall fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of our HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Biking’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to 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.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage 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, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, 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. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

While we cant stop the cold from hitting soon, get out and discover how fun it is to fatbike.

Learning to fatbike for fitness and fun as winter soon returns

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

As the winter winds begin to shift and blow into our office, here in Minnesota, thoughts turn toward the snow covered trails. We are lucky here to enjoy a massive amount of trails that are designed for winter riding. But if you are like me and new to the whole fatbiking thing, how do you get into it and what should you expect?

The fatbike

Fatbikes are more like normal mountain bikes than you may think. As an example, the only parts unique to most fat tired bikes are the crank, tires and wheels. Other than those things, all the other parts are interchangeable with you normal mountain bike. That being said, the parts that make a fat tired bike different are responsible for their namesake. The large wheels and tires give these fatbikes their flotation on soft surfaces like snow and sand. There are now several brands available at most price points so getting into the sport has never been easier. Plus many bike shops offer rental programs.

Interbike E Bike

The Surface Boar is as versatile as it is cool fatbike

The fatbike ride

The best part about a fatbike is that it extends your season with an all new cycling experience. For the most part, when snow was falling, people were kept from riding. Now, with so many fat tired bike options, a thick layer of the white stuff simply means more riding for all! With 4”-5” wide tires and pressures as low as 4psi, a fatbike can easily navigate deep snow. The only issue you will run into is ice. An icy surface doesn’t really care how wide the tire is, it’s still slippery. Once a trail gets slick it’s best to either change your tires to studded versions, or install studs in your existing tires. With studs below you, the game is back on.

Studded (left) and standard (right) fatbike tires

The Gear

I find the hardest part of fatbiking is dressing properly. I am no stranger to winter riding, but most of that has been commuting. Once I got off road, I found that I was chronically overdressed. Off road riding is slower than commuting, so there is less wind chill to contend with. Additionally, I find it is a higher effort (more calories spent) to fatbike than to commute. When winter riding make sure your feet and hands are warm with good gloves and winter shoes. I also find you should wear warm cycling clothes that will wick the moisture away and resist the urge to wear too much clothing.

While I can’t stop the cold from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for winter riding. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the winter.

While we cant stop the cold from hitting soon, get out and discover how fun it is to fatbike.

Having Fun

The most fun part of riding a fatbike is experiencing an existing trail you may have used before, in a new way.  With a fresh coat of snow on the ground, features that may normally be difficult get smoothed out and sections that are typically easy, can become difficult. That change in perspective gives all new life to trails that may have become old and commonplace to you. So get out there and try fatbiking this winter.

While I can’t stop the cold from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for winter riding. Here are a few tips to help you get ready for the winter.

Prepare for winter riding with these fun, easy cold weather tips

by John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

I can’t fight it any longer, my powers of denial are only so strong. Despite my best efforts a change is coming and there is nothing I can do to stop it. That’s right, winter is right around the corner. While I can’t stop the cold from hitting Minnesota, I can prepare for winter riding. Here are a few tips to prepare your bike and body for the change of season.

Is your bike set for winter riding?

Even though your bike will function perfectly in cool weather, there are things you should do to protect it and you from the elements.

Lubricants

Not too much care needs to be taken for the sealed parts of your bike, like the hubs, bottom bracket, or headset. Those places are well greased and sealed from the elements, so no need too change the type of grease. What you do need to be concerned with is the chain. It’s best to switch from dry or wax lubes to a synthetic oil (like Park’s CL-1) ifor winter riding.

Lubing your chain is easy with a wax based lube or synthetic oil.

Frame

For most of the United States winter roads mean salt. That salt can play havoc with your frame and components. The best way to protect your frame from salt is to install fenders. A plastic fender is impervious to salt damage and can stop slat from ever reaching your frame. Additionally, Fenders keep you dry when there is moisture on the road and clean from any debris your tires kick up.

Tires

Thanks to rain, snow, and less road maintenance there is an elevated amount of debris on the roads during the winter riding season. Coupled with lower temperatures that make tires stiffer, flats are more prevalent in the winter months. For these reasons, I encourage you to get some “winter tires”. By “Winter tires” I mean something that has a pronounced tread and a puncture resistant feature. With a little more tread, and protection against flats you can confidently ride through he winter months. If you live in an area that gets below freezing and stays there for several days, investing in studded tires is also a good plan. For Fatbikes or Mountain Bikes you can also invest in aftermarket studs that thread into your existing tire.

This tire has a reinforced layer (orange) that prevents most flats

Lights

Winter is as dark as it is cold. Therefore, having some additional visibility is important. If you are riding on well lit roads or paths, blinkers that make you more visible are perfect. In contrast, if your route is not well lit, I recommend getting a headlight that has at least 100 lumens. That light will allow you to see safely.

Your Body and winter riding

For you, dealing with winter riding is simply the basics of keeping you comfortable. As the winter rolls on, you will need to use different amounts of insulation to keep you warm. In early fall, knee warmers and a long sleeve jersey will offer ample warmth but as the temperature drops, knee warmers make way to tights and long sleeve jerseys are eclipsed by jackets. For a complete overview of temperature vs. clothing, check out our article on winter clothing.

prepare for winter riding

This “Rider” has his arm and knee warmers (blue) on

The ride

Riding in the winter is amazing if you are prepared. It’s incredible because there is a calm and quietness to winter that cannot be replicated during any other season. While it may sound difficult or unenjoyable to ride during the cold days of the winter, it is that fear others have that allows you to have most of the trails, all to yourself. Start slow and build up. As an example, try to ride until the temps reach 40 degrees. That temperature requires little additional clothing, and will keep most others off their bike. For the following season, try riding down to freezing and so on.

If all else fails

AAA Road Service now includes bicycles, it like have a SAG in your back pocket and a call away.

AAA Road Service now includes bikes. It’s like having a SAG in your back pocket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because winter riding puts you out into the elements, breaking down can be dangerous. Rather than getting yourself stuck in a bad situation, make sure to tell others where you will be and have a contact you can call for a ride home. If you don’t want to rely on a friend for a ride, you can always buy a AAA road service membership, with three-inexpensive options, that includes your bike. Its like having a SAG service in your back pocket, if you have a flat or break a chain, call and they will come a get you.