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This sport can be very stimulating and exciting, provided one follows correct procedure. Be sure to wear light but insulating clothing and definitely heavy socks, because when you find yourself in 4 inches of snow, things get cold quick. Drink plenty of liquids before the ride, especially if you are out in the extremes for more than an hour. Water is your friend, dehydration your enemy, and in cold temperatures, one cannot be too careful.

Now on to your riding equipment. Proper tires are key. One can garner some dirt tires at their local bike shop, which, due to their aggressive treads, are adequate for the job. Alternatively, for the more economically blessed, get a hold of some studded bike tires. Nokian sells the Extreme 296 (26” x 2.1). Each individual tire contains 296 studs, which makes for some excellent traction, even on ice. Setback is about 99 dollars for each tire, but well worth the added cost if you are an avid biker. With your studded bike tires, you will find that the increase in traction will result in about a 15 percent increase in available speed over traditional dirt tires. More speed = more fun!

The amount of snow one can ride in varies with the amount of speed one has. Personally, I have found that going down a fairly steep incline at around 10 mph, I can get through roughly 5 inches of light powder. Optimal riding conditions are about 3 to 4 inches, any more and you need lots of speed. Also try deflating your tires a bit to obtain a wider “footprint”. A major benefit of snow biking is the existence of a buffer between you and the ground. Falls can be quite fun, especially when you are aiming for what you think is a six-inch base, only to discover it is about 14 inches, and poof!, you go over the handlebars and into the snow! You can also make some neat designs in untracked areas like empty parking lots, etc. Try your initials, or crop circles :) Art on wheels.

There is nothing quite like that perfect night, the stars shining and just you and your bike, making fresh tracks through the newly fallen snow.

It is worth noting that there are cheaper alternatives to the unobtainable Nokian studded tires mentioned above. I found some more reasonably-priced studded tires at Bike Nashbar for 30 bux a piece. They go under the name IRC Blizzaks iirc. As with all products stocked at BN, they go in and out of stock at random intervals.

Snow biking is the most zen-like form of bike-riding that I have ever experienced. Being in the middle of a large forest, only hearing your jacket rustling and the snow seperating for your tires, is an experience above the par of anything else on two wheels. Snow biking is definitely a one-person activity, because of the speed/flotation differences of people of various weights and sizes.

If you like snow biking, and get used to it, I'd suggest that you try playing the game Elimination on an empty snow-covered field with your biking buds.

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