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Winter mountain biking in Minnesota: locations, conditions, equipment, group rides, events

 fat bike on a packed trail: excellentregular mountain bike on a trail with little snow: excellentregular mountain bike on a trail with moderate snow, not packed: difficultfat bike on a trail with deep snow, not packed: difficult

I attended Freewheel Bike‘s 2nd annual Winter Bike Expo ("the world headquarters of winter riding fanatics") on Saturday at their Midtown Bike Center.  (I blogged about the event on my Mountain Bike Geezer blog here, including my photo album).  While the event had offerings for bike commuters, the bulk of the action was aimed at mountain biking in winter, using fat bikes especially. QBP’s brands Surly and Salsa each had a big presence at the event, as both offer a number of fat bike models.  (They’re sold locally by Mike’s Bicycle Shop here in Northfield and Milltown Cycles in Faribault.)

I’m doing some consulting work on the 2nd Annual Fat Bike Winter Summit & Festival coming up at the end of January in the West Yellowstone area, so I’m locked in on the trend. And the Expo gave me a picture of how much enthusiasm there is here in Minnesota for fat biking.

I don’t (yet) own a fat bike. Last winter I didn’t need one, since we had so little snow. My hardtail 29’er worked fine just about everywhere I went. But with a solid 8 inches from our weekend snowstorm, things are looking up for a decent winter.  And more and more of Minnesota’s mountain bike parks and other trails allow mountain bikes.

So let’s use the discussion thread attached to this blog post to discuss winter biking locations, conditions, equipment, group rides, and events.

7 thoughts on “Winter mountain biking in Minnesota: locations, conditions, equipment, group rides, events”

    1. I agree, Jerry. Last year, with the crappy winter (little snow + freeze, thaw, freeze, thaw, etc), most of the other Metro MTB trails were closed much of the time. The MN River Bottoms trails, however, are generally always open. The variety of terrain options (flat and hilly, sandy, easy and difficult obstacles, etc) also makes it a great place for beginners through advanced riders.

  1. I rode Lebanon Hills yesterday with Bill Nelson, he on his fat bike, me on my skinny tire 29’er.

    Conditions could not be any more perfect. Packed snow, great traction.

    And if you have trouble with the X or XX loops in summer, they are generally much easier right now, as the snow is packed around the rocks.

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