How’s a snow bike handle in the snow?

I didn’t plan to ride on the snow today. But when I spotted a couple of hungry-for-action snowmobiles go whining across the 20 acre hayfield across the nearby stone wall I changed my mind. I want to see what this new Surly “Pugsley” snow bike does on a snowmobile trail. Five and a half miles later, I completed a loop of learning that included a serious workout.
I learned that:

  1. It is still a bitch to pedal a bicycle in loose snow.  My best performance was when I was in the tractor tire path that my next door neighbor established when he hauled out a big oak tree some 1/8 of a mile from the snowmobile trail.

    Love that tractor!
  2. The track from one pass of a snowmobile doesn’t help that much.  The snow was powdery and loose beneath.
  3.  I will carry a tire pump and pressure gauge each time I ride this thing. I kept lowering pressure in the tire , but was nervous about letting too much out and being stranded in the woods with a flat tire.
  4. Momentum helps.
  5. The workout is fantastic.   Not only is it hard to keep churning out forward momentum, but the front end needs much more correction as it is skidding about and moving to and fro.  Also, there are unexpected dips and obscured drops under the snow that you have to quickly react to. At one point, the snowmobile path went down a steep drop and across a stream.  Although the path looked frozen, my front wheel dropped through the crust right over the stream and the tire, rim, and half the wheel submerged into the icy water.  I went sideways off the bike  , but kept standing.  I thought that I’d have some kind of problem with ice buildup on the wheel, but there was no problem.  I am not sure that I am going to keep the clips on the pedals.  I was thrown to the side numerous times where I staggered around trying to stay upright after I released from the pedals.

So, all went well.  Should be no problem with these trails hardening up .  It is supposed to rain a little bit tonight with single number temperatures coming right up.

Who needs a gym around here?  Not me.  I’ve been pleased with the hiking, walking, snowshoeing, road biking, and now snow biking alternatives that are right out my door.

Loop around Moody Pond

Date: Jan 16, 2012 1:13 pm
Distance: 5.18 miles
Avg Speed: 3.6 mph
Max Speed: 17.1 mph

3 thoughts on “How’s a snow bike handle in the snow?

  1. It looks like you have a pair of Nate tires on the Surly — how long have you had them? Do you find they work better than the stock Larry/Endomorph? I ordered a pair of Nates yesterday, but they might not be in till next week.


    1. I bought the bike with Nates on them rather than the stock tires. It was no xtra $$$. I have never even used the Larry’s. The shop advised me that the Larry’s suck in the snow, which was my primary reason for buying the bike.


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