Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Ice Cream Truck commute

I was all set to do some kind of sentimental "Ode to Winter Cycling" post, but Fall has been amazing this year in the MSP. We have had a nice slow descent into lower temperatures, and no hints of early winter yet. So I'm going to stay in the moment. This is as good as it gets.

Since I got my new Surly Ice Cream Truck a few weeks ago, I have stopped riding other bikes. My Surly ECR is on loan to a friend, and my "road bike", a hot-rodded Torker Graduate, is mothballed for the season (unless someone wants to buy it). So the ICT is my only bike, for now. Eight years ago during the fat bike stone age, I would tell people that a fat bike was a sort of luxury for the person who already owns 7 bikes and wants something "different". And now in 2014, here I am thinking that I feel pretty happy with the ICT as my only bike. This is partly because fat bike technology has improved dramatically in the past 8 years, and partly because my perception about what a good fat bike can do has gotten broader with experience.

Anyway, with the sun shining and temperatures still mild, I left a little early for today's commute. A few minutes after leaving home, I ducked around a long-abandoned, rusty steel gate onto a weedy, cracked-up old road, down the bank, and under a bridge to the river.

By the way, the Surly Bud is the ultimate fat bike tire (unless you need studded or skinnier than 5"). Bud was originally marketed as a front tire, with Lou marketed as its companion rear tire. I now run Bud front and rear. Bud seems faster than Lou with no meaningful loss of rear traction for us mere mortals.

It was mostly smooth riding, but I had to go into the water to get around some fallen trees. I got two soakers, but I didn't care.

I was eventually "forced" to ride in the woods. The nice thing about the ICT is that I don't really need a buff trail. I can just meander through the woods, around and sometimes over logs and other debris. Luckily this spring's flooding hauled away a lot of those obstacles, and left large swaths of open riding. It's particularly lovely down there with the yellow leaves.

I am lucky to be able to tie so much "wilderness" riding into my commute. It improves my mood all day.

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