Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Final Adieu to Winter???

This past weekend ended up being one of the nicest weekends for riding all winter. The recent freeze thaw cycle with cold temps up north created phenomenal riding conditions. If we had the typical 40(F) March weather 90% of the route I chose to ride would have been unrideable mush.

Both Saturday and Sunday were bluebird days in the Northland and I enjoyed every minute I could on the bike. I know I won't get back up here until after the thaw. The next time I ride these gravel roads and fire trails they will more than likely be wet and muddy.

There is still plenty of snow in the woods and it will likely remain there well into April if we do not get a prolonged warm-up. Without any thaw periods all winter long the snow just kept accumulating. Also, with prolonged cold the frost has worked its way deep into the ground in some areas. This means that once the frost does start coming out, the ground will be soft for awhile.

If you look at a road map of northern Minnesota you will see mile upon mile of gravel forest road. The roads form a network of routes that extends to the Canadian Border, Voyager's Natn't Park, the BWCA, all the way east to the North Shore of Lake Superior.

"Into The Next County"

This endless network of roads is connected by sections of paved highway and is a veritable untapped area for those liking gravel and having the willingness to get out and explore.

This is my escape from the stress of everyday life and living in the city. I'm never more relaxed than when I'm  here on a bike. Be it winter, spring, summer, or fall there are not many places better than this to ride.

Throw into the picture hundreds of minimum maintenance roads and trails and you have plenty of opportunities to explore and get lost..."Adventure by Bike" opportunities.

A week ago a young man at one the Twin Cities bike shops asked me where I was going to ride. He was somewhat taken aback when I declined to divulge my riding territory. I equate it to being like a fisherman not wanting to give away their honey hole. I've never run into another person on a bike on any of my rides up north and I hope that will continue well into the future. Unless of course I invite you to come along. So my answer to many, when asked the question, "Where did you ride?" is of course, "Just north of town."

Very soon it will be gravel season and I'll be riding these same roads and trails along with others along the North Shore of Lake Superior and within the Superior National Forest

 "Into The Wild"

Until Spring...
I may be posting from Arizona in a week :)

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