Riding the rail

Yes, indeed, we did get a nor'easter. Fifteen inches worth, according to Ted, my local weather guy. Truth be told, we were due for a big dumping.

So back to the fat bike. Deciding it was time for a change of scenery, I took a right out of my driveway and headed to a nearby snowmobile trail. Big mistake! While there had been some use since the huge storm, as I had predicted, it wasn't enough to harden the surface. Consequently, my oversized tires sank like stones in the soft conditions. Undeterred, I threw it in reverse, and pedaled back to the always dependable Kennebec River Rail Trail (KRRT).

Because it had been plowed — and it was a chilly 14 degrees — the ride was perfect, and my studded 45NRTH Dillingers were singing a happy song as they bit securely into the icy path. The sun was bright. The air was crisp. And I had the entire route to myself for two hours of playtime.

Frankly, I'm surprised I don't see more cyclists out on fat bikes and, in particular, the KRRT. In fact, I haven't spotted another one this whole winter. I realize that they are a kind of niche product; so much so, that Specialized decided to stop making fat bikes a few years ago. Maybe riders can justify getting more year-round use with a mountain bike — and then throw on spiked tires during the crappy-weather months? People tell me they see a lot of fat bikes at ski resorts, like Maine's Sugarloaf Mountain.

All I know for sure is that I enjoy my Specialized fat bike, which affords me the opportunity to keep spinning my wheels during the cold days of December, January, and February — and when road riding just isn't possible. And I'm grateful for the convenient proximity of the Kennebec River Rail Trail, just a few downhill minutes from my dooryard here in Hallowell. It is a valuable asset to our community.

For my blog followers in Maine, there is a fat bike event coming up later this month. It's the Titcomb Mountain Fat Bike Race on Friday, Feb. 18. I might have to check it out!

I had the wonderful Kennebec River Rail Trail all to myself.

Measuring the miles

I thought I would try something different this season in regards to offering mileage updates. My plan is to issue statistics — along with other minor details — at the completion of every month.

So, for January, I rode 13 times, using my Specialized Crux and Specialized fat bike. For a total of 222 miles. Not much, but it is wintertime after all. Stay safe!

'Thought for the day'

"It's not about the bike." — Lance Armstrong, whom I met in 2002 in Austin at the conclusion of my North Carolina-to-Texas ride.

From "Words To Ride By ... Thoughts on Bicycling" by Michael Carabetta (Chronicle Books, 2017)

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