Ice Offers Great Getaway If You Have The Right Bike

A mountain biker seeks the path of most reliable ice while riding in the Duluth area this winter. (Hansi Johnson photo, copyright Hansi Johnson)

I received an e-mail invitation this morning from a friend in Lutsen who’s going on a 20-mile mountain-bike ride tomorrow. The lake ice is perfect, he said, for riding bicycles with studded tires.

Not much later, I happened onto the blog of Thomson’s Hansi Johnson, extolling the pleasures of ice-riding on fat-tired bikes with studded tires.

Winter bicycling is becoming more and more popular, and it isn’t unusual, if I’m hiking or skiing at night on woodland trails in Duluth, to see a couple of bright headlight beams coming toward me — bikers on the move. With the advent of fat-tired bikes (not just mountain bikes but ultra-fat bikes designed specifically for winter riding), lots of bicyclists are extending their riding season year-around. LED technology in biking headlights and headlamps also has improved the sport. Those beams are powerful, and the lights are much more reasonable in price than a few years ago.

I told my Lutsen friend I couldn’t make it Tuesday because I’m headed for Lake of the Woods. But I want to see his photos, and if I do, I’ll share some here. Meanwhile, check out Hansi’s blog, Universal Klister, here and see some of his excellent ice-riding photos. Hansi also does a nice job of discussing risk assessment in ice-riding.

Here’s a look at the studded tires mountain bikers use on ice:

Studded bicycle tires for winter riding. (Hansi Johnson photo, copyright Hansi Johnson)