Riding in the Cold

Winter is for “fat bikes.” During the warmer seasons, these bikes can handle trails and poorly maintained roads, including potholes and awkward drainage grates. Their thick, wide tires and low pressure provide grip and stability. In winter, these bikes extend your season and enable you to ride in snow and slush, conditions we often experience in the Seacoast area. If snow is too deep to ride, fat bike riders gravitate, like skiers and snowmobilers to more groomed conditions.

Some locations with trails – such as Stratham Hill Park, some groomed trails in the White Mountains and Great Glen Trails and Bretton Woods – rent fat bikes for use on their trail systems. These bikes will even let you ride during thaws, icy conditions, and mud season.

When you’re riding a fat bike in cold weather, dress in layers, somewhere on a scale between what you’d wear for cross-country and downhill skiing. Even when you’re active, your feet and hands can still get cold. Bar mitts keep your hands warm, booties help your feet. Big platform pedals let you wear winter boots to stay warm. Experiment with tire pressure. Higher pressure works well for dirt or pavement, lower pressure suits for snow or sand at the beach.