Thursday, January 1, 2015

Winter Solitude Returns

December 27th found me heading north once again. We had just received several inches of fresh snow and the Iron Range had received some additional snow early in the week and temperatures had cooled considerably. We didn't arrive at my Mom's until early afternoon and I wanted to make sure I was home for dinner, so I waited until Saturday night after dinner to get a little ride in.
The conditions were perfect to ride some local trails that were packed by snowmobiles.

 I was really anticipating getting out into the deep woods on Sunday...

Quiet Solitude

Sunday found me alone riding solo in a very happy place. I absolutely love riding these roads and trails in Northern Minnesota. One selfish thing on my part is that I really don't tell anyone exactly where I ride. In all of the years I've been riding up here or even up off the North Shore, I've never encountered another cyclist. This I like very much and would prefer to keep it that way. So, when someone asks me the inevitable question, "Where do you ride when you go to Northern Minnesota?" Specifics are avoided as much as possible.

Fishermen don't talk about their honey holes for fear of finding others in their spot the next time they go out. I treat my rides the same way. So if you want to ride forest roads in the Northwoods my reply is pretty much..."Take your pick."

Another question I get from the techie cycling geeks is, "Do you put your rides on Strava or Map My Ride?" or "Do you use any other cycling apps to track your rides?" My reply is generally "NO". I don't need to see where I've been, nor do I need to keep track of miles, elevation, average heart rate, calories burned or any of that other stuff. I've done that before and it became an obsession, so now I just ride and I don't worry about anything else. I'm not "training" for anything. Rather, it's only about getting out a bike and enjoying the ride and my surroundings. For me this is what cycling is all about.

 "Long Shadows of Winter"

My other appreciation for this type of cycling is the places you can actually go. I've taken my bikes and have ridden in places where not many other people would think of riding a bike. However, now that gravel riding has gotten to be such a big deal (I seemed to be ahead of the game here also) more people are riding forest roads, but the number is still quite few. Hopefully it will remain that way in the Northern part of our fair state.

I'm still riding the old Pugsley and still loving it. Back in 2008-2009 there were very few people riding fat bikes. Now that the roadies and everyone else has gotten into the fat bike scene, the same people who were laughing at us and calling us fat bikers crazy are riding carbon framed fat bikes and can continue their racing year round. 

The thought of getting rid of the Pugs has never came into my mind until this year. Now I'm actually thinking of getting a newer fat bike. Possibly another Pugs, but more than likely a Salsa Mukluk. I have no desire to get into a super light weight carbon model. Most of my riding is adventure riding in nature so the Muk sounds like a good choice and definite upgrade from the Pugs.

In the meantime, I'm just going to continue enjoying my solitary rides in the Northwoods.

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