Snow! What the hell can you do with all this snow? It has just continued to pile up all winter. Here in Wisconsin, we do not have the vertical to do much with gravity and snow combined. If I lived in the mountains, or even in the UP, maybe there would be gravity. But, we have plenty of gravity here just no vertical and it is not doing it. Hmmmm….
Ok, gravity skiing isn’t an option. What about XC skiing you ask? Well, I like it plenty when I am doing it, but somehow it just isn’t lighting a fire for me. I used to spend a lot of time doing it. Driving every weekend to find a good spot, chasing snowfall and looking for grooming etc… But that sport is just more gear and wax technology that baffles, standing around in the cold waiting for the start, trying to find warm clothes after, and you cannot do it most times with your dog. Nah, I’m kinda over it. As I said, I’ll do it but I just cannot get up the ambition to chase it.
I could build a motorbike set up for ice racing, but again some how that has not bitten me either. Tires with big spikey things sticking out, you need fenders with coverage so that you do not shred into your own or someone else leg, wacky methods of trying to keep your hands warm etc… Hmmm again more gear and limited usage.
Ok joe, but you have to do something with all this snow you say. You would be right. Enter, the Farley.
I know what you are thinking, “snow bikes are a freak show”. You would be right, btw. But wow, what a fun freak show. I mean they go slow, they bounce way to much, the handling is a bit unpredictable, they are heavy feeling… Yep, all of that. But somehow they transcend that. They end up being really fun. In a goofy back to basics kinda way, they really do deliver. It is winter, and you are riding an Offroad 2wheeler after all. That IS what it is all about after all.
One of the misconceptions people have is that those big fat tires can just ride over anything. They cannot. The snow has to be packed down reasonably firm. If the snow is soft, you just sink in way to much to pedal through it. Snowshoeing a trail down works, but you will need about 6 or so people to pass on snowshoes to make it work. A snowmobile trail is rideable, but not very exciting because they are pretty wide. Additionally, one of the great things about being Offroad on a bicycle is dogs. Dogs and snowmobiles do not really mix well.
But, get yourself to a purpose designed and maintained singletrack for snowbikes and, wow. Fun fun fun. It is still not fast like summer mountain biking, and the handling is quirky, but it is fun for sure. Because you are on a singletrack, it is a reasonable substitute for summer riding.
There are a ton of snow bike trails popping up all over Wisconsin. I have not found a definitive source for them all, but look around on Facebook etc… You will find them.
Time to go ride! Spring will come!