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Monday, February 18, 2013

Pondering the Point of Snow Bikes While Riding With Wolves [Wired]


KETCHUM, Idaho – Snow bikes are good for hucking about on groomed trails. They are not good for outrunning wolves.
This became obvious as a group of us, dressed in garish red Lycra suits and riding black, orange and DayGlo-green bikes with cartoonishly large tires, pedaled frantically through the snow after a trio of wolves caught our scent.
The experience made me ponder the point of these bikes, and the questions those building them must answer if snow biking is to catch on. It isn’t as if people often see apex predators when riding. But my encounter with canis lupus highlighted the shortcomings of bikes that are a hell of a lot of fun but struggling to find their place.
Snow bikes are, of course, designed to ride over snow. Fat, cushy tires pumped to a whopping 5 PSI keep you from sinking. Garage tinkerers in Alaska and other cold climes have been building them forever, welding mountain bike rims together to double up on tires and fashioning frames to straddle them. The DIY ethos went corporate a few years ago when industry juggernaut Quality Bicycle Products joined the party.

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