Sunday, February 24, 2013

With Scout and Pugsley in the snow

I'll have some continued coverage of the 2013 North American Handmade Bicycle Show in the following post, but something happened to preempt that effort for the time being. We finally got a respectable amount of snow.

Starting yesterday morning, the forecasters had been warning of a snowstorm. They were predicting snow in the afternoon. H-hour for the blizzard came and went. No snow. By late last night, I was ready to chalk it up as another error in weather prognostication. Then flakes began to appear. By morning we had several inches. After making a nice Sunday breakfast for the family, I was out the door with Scout and Pugsley.
This is the dog expression for impatience, as I was getting prepared to go.

Once under way, it was slow going as we were breaking trail.

I let out some air a time or two and, presto! The bike ate up the snow.
I don't really know what my tire pressure has been for the past month or so. I started with about 10 psi and have adjusted down and up and down a few times. Today, the pressure direction definitely called for a reduction. I kept letting air out until the tires felt almost like a neglected playground kickball. It turns out that was just about perfect.

In an extended variation of our standard street and trail loop, I was able to ride 99+% of the time, the exception being in a place where the snow had drifted deeply over a distance of several meters. Overall, I was quite impressed with the Pugsley's performance using a stock Larry/Endomorph combo on Rolling Darryl rims. I stayed mostly in the 22-tooth ring in the front and the larger cogs in the rear.
Fat tires loving the snow.

For my riding footware, I chose an old pair of Sorel snowboots. They were fine for pedaling and kept my feet toasty.

Even on a snowy day, somebody's gotta sniff the trees.
It was a terrific time to ride. We seemingly had the town to ourselves, as there were very few people out and about. Something about being out in fresh, falling snow and with limited visibility is indescribably pleasing to me, perhaps reminiscent of similar experiences in rural Wyoming as a kid. Being on a bike makes the experience that much more enjoyable. A soft scent of wood smoke from a chimney at the local historic farm permeated the air to enrich the ambiance.

My riding buddies

The sights and smells of the farm remind me of parts of my childhood.

Three fatbike tracks, but they're all mine.

A horse-drawn sleigh in need of a horse.
Witnessing the joy of a dog in the snow is one of the best things about a day like today. Scout absolutely loves snow, and revels in bouncing through drifts and snuffling hidden treasures underneath. Recently, I've been training her to understand some sled dog commands, and so far she's been learning "haw" (go left), "gee" (go right), "on-by" (keep going past that dog or distraction), "easy" (slow down), "wait" (staty at a stop), and her favorite "let's go" which is self descriptive.

I won't label the Pugsley a snow bike, because it is so much more than that narrow descriptor implies. It's a fatbike, and snow is just one of many fun riding surfaces that I've experienced with the Pug. I can't wait for more.

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