2015 Enchanted Fat Bike Stomp

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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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First Impressions: 45NRTH Sturmfist 4

MJ5L2704These gloves are amazing… The 45NRTH Sturmfist 4’s are four finger gloves intended for use below 15º F. I have been using my Sturmfist 5’s this winter so far as the temperatures haven’t demanded anything warmer. Tonight I joined some friends for a night ride on my fatbike. I brought the Sturmfist 4’s to try. The temperature was in the upper 20º’s F.

The gloves were great, but they want to be used in colder temps. I removed the included merino wool liner 15 minutes or so into the ride as they were simply too warm. Even without the liners the gloves were shockingly warm, in a good way. I’m happy to report that these gloves are as advertised good for below 15º F.

The gloves are full but never limited dexterity of my braking or shifting. The joined ring and pinky finger were not restricting. The leather on the palms is very nice and provides lots of grip, and toughness. The cuffs are long enough to keep the cold out and short enough to be comfortable. Both the liner material and the primary gloves internal material are soft and warm. The material is kind to the cuticle of fingers, something I appreciate.

MJ5L2710 MJ5L2713I’ll provide more info as I continue to use both the Sturmfist 4’s and Sturmfist 5’s. For now, I’m thrilled with both. They are on par with the 45NRTH Wolvhammer boots that I love, a tall task to accomplish!

Thanks again to Tobie at North Central Cyclerly for getting me these gloves when they were in high demand!

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Today On A Bike

2014-12-28 13.27.16 2014-12-28 11.49.04 2014-12-28 13.12.47 2014-12-28 13.06.55 2014-12-28 13.31.28It doesn’t look like winter in these without the snow of years past. Today was the third ride this week after taking time off of a bike. I can’t believe how much I’ve lost in terms of fitness. It’s humbling. Lots of work to do…

The 45NRTH Strurmfist 5’s were perfect today in the 30º F temps. I really like them so far.

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