Saturday, December 24, 2011


Well, somehow I've managed to get sick over Christmas 3 out of the past 5 years now, to include right now. That and other reasons (we have basically no snow and I've been out of town or working most days) are why you haven't been seeing any fat biking updates or anything else for that matter here on treadnorth for a while. I was out sick half this past work week, and may not even make it out for some flying I picked up early tomorrow before Christmas events at the family start. I'm over my fever and aches phase, but my head is still pretty plugged up, so I've been spending a lot of time in front of my e-reader, off my bikes, and out of airplanes.

However, I do have a couple things to share. I never did get around to posting pix of a Mukluk ride I got out on when we did have snow this year, so I'll do that now.

It was a 20 mile ride on and along the Gateway Trail, which is a multi-use trail that leads out of the Twin Cities to the northeast, ending up in Washington County not far from Stillwater, MN.
There were a few bootprints, and couple ski tracks, and a few signs of dogs, but I was the only fat biker. I'm not entirely sure what the rules are in the winter months of who can use the trail, but the skiers I ran into seemed excited to see the Mukluk, so for at least this ride I was not bothering anyone, and stayed well out of the ski tracks. There's plenty of room for everyone, so I hope the access rules go that direction. I'll have to check.

I can't wait to get out on some more snow with this bike once winter finally arrives. The forecast for today and Christmas are the upper 30's, and the dusting of snow we got yesterday will disappear to leave us with the first non-white Christmas I can remember is some time. If I was healthy, I think I'd ride the Lemond to Christmas dinner just to say I did. :) The plan was to ride the Mukluk, but unfortunately my head won't take it this year.

Well, I said there were a couple things to share, and the second is pretty exciting. After a search that went off and on for the last 2 and a half years, Alison and I are closing on our first home on January 4th! We're very excited to be getting out of the apartment scene after so long. We've enjoyed our time living on Grand Ave in St Paul, but it's time to have our own space. We'll be living in the Highland Park neighborhood of St Paul, which is not very far from where we are now, so we're excited to be staying in the same general area of the Cities, as it's a good fit for us as far as this big metro goes. It's a very bike friendly area that's close to work, our friends and family, our climbing gym, and all the great food St Paul has. And I won't have to do my bicycle maintenance in the living room anymore! :) We will have a garage big enough to have a small shop. It'll be great. We'll share more about it all as we move and settle in.

For now, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, and hope you get a chance to spend it with loved ones, and hopefully get outside a bit! Enjoy...

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Start of winter fat biking...

We received some snow today. It's still falling in fact. I don't think it will be any tremendous amount, but it made for a fun fat bike wandering this afternoon.
I headed out with a friend of mine from Hidden Falls Park in St Paul, and we meandered through woods, beach, and a little bit of trail. The confluence of the Minnesota and Mississippi Rivers makes for some good fat bike exploration possibilities, and it's right out my back door. I plan on riding down there quite a bit this winter.
The Mukluk is really an amazing bike. There's no need for a trail, which allows me to explore areas near where I live that I've never taken the time to see. I pretty much just wander off into the woods and see where I end up (well, I do navigate).
Riding the river floodplain feels a bit like an odd sort of slow, obese trials riding- it's a lot of picking lines over obstacles, but instead of jumping, it's just rolling over stuff. I'm sure that sounds contrived and perhaps pointless, and maybe it is, but it's fun. I like it.
And the shoreline riding is perhaps my favorite fat biking near where I live so far. Our local rivers provide great scenery and tend to remove you from realizing you may still actually be in a big city. Today involved floating over lots of sand, which is awful to ride on a non-fat bike, and rolling plenty of rock beds. We dove into the woods whenever the shore got too full of downed trees, and dove back whenever there was a good stretch to ride. When the snow started coming down hard, we paused to enjoy watching snowy sheets of ice float by on the water, and got excited at the prospect that we have a whole winter coming to enjoy on big tires and's just getting started.

Riding through the debris of the Mississippi floodplain...

Shoreline of the Mississippi, covered in fresh snow...consistency varied today from loose to packed frozen sand, to gravel or rock beds, all covered in snow toward the end of the ride...

If you're interested, here's where the ride took place: