Friday, November 23, 2007

Winter riding - returning to a trail near you!

Well, Thanksgiving week got off to a snowy start, fueling my optimism that I'd be doing a pre-feast bike ride on trails in the Campbell Tract and Bicentennial Park. It's a tradition that on turkey day, Jon and I do a ride (or sometimes a ski) before the early evening meal.

Last year, we took our bikes with their studded tires to Portage lake to ride the frozen surface as other people skated and played hockey. A tourist from Hawai'i took my photo to show the people back home what we Alaskans do for fun. Fun was a ride to see the glacier and explore the perimeter of the lake, slowly to not produce too much wind chill. Narrow waterfalls were stilled in ice. Small bergs were locked in the foot-deep, smooth surface. We pedaled to a spot where the sun had reached a little piece of the lake but its light didn't warm the air above the estimated twenty-below-zero.

Portage doesn't freeze like that every year so we were happy we'd taken the opportunity to ride it that day. Snowpack on local trails is just about as unpredictable. It doesn't always stick around, as we've been reminded for the last few days. What the cold temps bringeth, the Chinook taketh away. But don't despair. Stop putting off getting your bike ready. It's only November and there are over four months of good riding ahead.

Check out Chapter 8 for tips on winter cycling and a list of trails that are open to multi-use, including bikes, during the winter months. Bundle up. I'll see you out there.