Today On A Bike

2016-01-03 09.08.20

After a long while of rain and warmer temperatures, it was nice to get out on frozen dirt today with a bunch of others. I’ve been riding mainly pathways this winter staying active. I’ve been mentally somewhere between off-season fun first riding and starting to work towards race season.

I signed up for Chequamegon Fat Tire Festival again. It’s been a yearly marker for the end of my race season that I really enjoy both for the race but also the environment and hanging out with good people. If you’re interested, you should check it out. Registration is still open but the available spots will fill up. I plan on racing the Illinois Mountain Bike Series and signing up for as many crits as possible. But for now, it’s just about chasing the person in front of me and smiling, mostly.

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2015 Global Fat Bike Day

2015-12-05 10.24.49

December 5th is a fun little Holliday amongst a group of people who enjoy silly bikes, Global Fat Bike Day. This year, I joined friends and others at the Peoria Illinois participation of the event. We rode waterways and double track. Smiles were had, silly adventures enjoyed. Riding with a large group of fat bikes is the closest thing to being five with your first bicycle I’ve felt. Look at that ledge.

I. Must. Jump. It.

The ride was a lot of fun. We rode the waterways, surrounded by graffiti. Occasional ice and other slick surfaces made the off camber concrete riding surfaces interesting.

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There were lots of tunnels, some very long. Long enough to drown out the sunlight, so we brought lights to navigate to more fun.

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It’s nice that even after five or so years of regularly riding, I still find myself in new situations and experience things like this ride. I’ve ridden a lot of terrain, but never waterways like this before today. Being a cyclist given me a much wider appreciation of experiences. Everything from beautiful mountain vistas mid ride at elevation to freezing temperatures in a giant storm water tunnel, it’s all special with the right group of people enjoying the moment. I’m thankful for these moments.

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2015 Enchanted Fat Bike Stomp

2015-02-28 14.18.10

This past weekend I was able to participate in one of my favorite winter activities, riding the banks of the Mississippi river on fat bikes. Friends of Off Road Cycling do a great job of organizing fun events. Three years ago their first Enchanted Fat Bike Stomp opened my eyes to another great kind of cycling.

The river banks provide a lot for fat biking. When you get bigger groups of riders together, naturally some differences in skill levels and ride expectations emerge. The beauty of the river banks are that you can ride the smoother terrain or opt for more technical obstacles, and does the river ever provide the obstacles. Every year, when the river rises it brings with it a variety of transplanted objects from the current of the water. This makes each year I’ve ridden the banks unique and new.

I arrived a bit early and had a beer riverside at a brewery while people arrived. The amount of fat bikes that roll into these events still takes me by a bit of surprise. Even though this ride didn’t have the massive number of years past, it’s still more fat bikes than I ride with any other normal ride. Riding with thirty to one hundred fat bikes is pretty awesome. I’ll be back next year for more. Thanks again FORC for being another important and awesome piece of the puzzle that is the central Illinois cycling environment.

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Today On A Bike

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The background for toady’s ride was pretty spectacular. There was a fluffy five or so inches of fresh snow from last night. The best part was the falling snow during the ride, that always feels a bit special.

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Today On A Bike

2015-01-04 09.49.41Today I joined some friends on the Illinois River for some Quad City inspired fat bike stomping. My face still hurts from smiling so much. This is my favorite type of riding in the winter. It was very similar to the riding I’ve fallen in love with in past trips on the Mississippi.

The flood plains along the river banks provide a lot of variety and options for everyone to enjoy. My favorite cycling trips are the ones that offer something for everyone. The mixture of riding over makeshift obstacles and riding the river bank is a blast. A big thanks to the people who organized the ride today. I can’t wait to go back!

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