Drinking Up the Last Dregs of Winter

fat biking

Saturday, Steve and I packed up our bikes and went to the trails behind the Rum River library because the ‘real’ fat bike trails were already closed for the spring thaw. The Rum River trails aren’t fat bike specific and have no rules except to stay on the trail during hunting season. They are used by a combination of cross country skiers, fat bikes, and people out walking their dogs.

We didn’t arrive at the trail until 10 AM, and by that time, with the sun out and the temperature in the truck showing 43 degrees F, the trail was already a bit slushy and slippery in spots. In one area along an open corn field, the wind had created a deep wave of snow across the path that brought our bikes to a creaky forward motion and then a toppling stop. It had been so warm riding in the woods but in the open area, we were quickly zipping our jackets up high on our necks to have some shield from the sideways blow. We took the first right available to head back into the woods.

fat biking

When the path ran close to the river, we could hear and see the zip zip of snowmobilers running down the ice. I’m a bit of a chicken when it comes to trusting an ice covered body of water, especially a body of water with a current and spots where the ice open up, but we came to a stretch that looked solid and did a bit of river running. It was fun seeing a very familiar area from a different level.

fat biking fat biking

When we got back home, a couple packages had arrived that contained a new bicycle helmet and grips that I had ordered for our bike touring dreams. When I had a bike fitting awhile back, it was pointed out to me that the bike I planned to use, a hybrid Trek with straight handlebars, wouldn’t be as comfortable to ride as my road bike for long distances because there was really only one position to put my hands and thus my body while riding. The problem with using my road bike though is that I could only put a bracket on it that would attach to the seat post and hold about twenty-five pounds of gear. Since we are planning on camping, that wouldn’t allow me to carry enough stuff, although I could just pile everything on Steve’s bike…

No, that didn’t seem fair. So I found these cool grips that I could put on my straight handle bars to give me three positions to move my hands around on. After putting on the grips, we also put on the panniers, one side loaded with sleeping bag, pad, and rain suit and the other side only with cooking gear, and did a little riding down the street to see how the additions felt. I love the grips! It’s like having a new bike to play with.

bike grips

The helmet was purchased to have more airflow and stay cooler. Skinnier, less knobby tires, and a handlebar bag to carry my camera, and I think I’ll be ready to go. One other thing will be a fully loaded test drive up a hill to see if I need a change to my bicycle gears to ease climbing.

Anyone know how to easily make a skirt to wear as a cover up when you get off the bike and don’t feel comfortable walking around in way too revealing bike shorts? I’ve tried finding something that will work at Goodwill and other such stores — nothing. The $65 to $100 wrap and pull on type skirts I’ve found online seem a bit much. I’m sure I can figure out how to run my mom’s hundred-year-old White sewing machine (not quite that old but almost)…

I ‘m getting pretty excited about the idea of bicycling combined with camping! We’ll just be doing short rides to get some experience. The sad part is leaving the dogs behind, but who knows, if we find this is our new thing and we get strong enough, maybe we can go farther and drag the dogs in trailers (I’ve found people doing that online), but that’s a big IF.

Monday I started seeing how far it is to New York — ummm, would take me at least a month. Phoenix — even farther! Boulder?

I think I better not get carried away and see if I can make it to Wisconsin first…

bike touring

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  1. Wow this is quite an adventure you will be having Maery. Love those fat tires and the grips….I have been sidelined from my bike for a few years due to knee injuries and then surgery last year. I hope to get back on my bike to start taking some rides….I never do get very far, but I love it.

  2. I love ergon grips!!! I think your hands will appreciate them! I’m glad you got a fitting… that’s a big step toward being more comfy on your bike.

    The “last dregs of winter”? Hmm, not here, I don’t think. But that’s a hopeful outlook. Riding on the river must have been fun. I’ve never done that.

    As for the skirt, I don’t know of anything. But, you can get baggy shorts to wear over top of your lycra ones for not-too-much money!

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