Ever ridden a bike through snow? Here’s how.

Why hibernate when you can play outdoors instead? This winter, give “fat bikes” a spin!

Reinventing the wheel

As you might have guessed, not every bicycle can handle snow. You’ll need a fat bike.

Don’t let the name fool you. Goofy monniker aside, these beasts are pretty tough. They resemble mountain bikes in every way, with the exception of the tires. Wide and textured, “fatties” are hard to miss. Some are twice the size of a typical mountain bike tire. Their eccentric looks aren’t just for show, though. Fat bikes have lots of perks.

Traction is their biggest benefit. They have superior grip— just what you need for snow, slush, and ice. What’s more, wide tires don’t “sink” as much as narrow ones. You’ll feel like you’re floating above the terrain instead.

Fat bikes are also versatile. Snow aside, you can take them over sand, rocks, and mud. If speed isn’t a priority, you might be tempted to keep these machines going all year!

Oh what fun it is to ride

Snow and bikes? The combination seems unlikely. But in the past few years, winter riding has gained lots of traction.

For one thing, snow makes old paths seem new. Favorite summer trails transform into magical winter wonderlands, seemingly overnight. There’s nothing like pulling over and savoring the silence of a frosted meadow or forest.

For another, low-pressure fat tires make riding fun. They’re bouncy and floaty— and much more entertaining than cycling at the gym. If you’re looking for a refreshing alternative, this is a great option.

Saddle up

You can easily write a book about riding techniques. However, if you’ve never ridden in snow before, these rules of thumb will help.

  • Keep your hips slightly behind the saddle and your heels down. That way, it’s harder to tumble forward if the front wheel slips.
  • Extra weight over the back wheel improves traction. When possible, try to remain in the saddle.
  • When approaching a curve, keep your knees loose. Doing so improves reaction time if your bike loses traction.

Handy gear

Old Man Winter is cold. You know that. Still, riding through snow can be miserable if you’re not prepared.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Wear layers
  • Get wind-blocking gloves and foot covers
  • Stock up on air-activated warmers for hands and feet
  • Prevent snow glare with a pair of sunglasses
  • Replace metal pedals with plastic; it’s harder for ice and snow to accumulate on them

For long backcountry rides, bring a friend and emergency equipment. A pocket knife, lighter, and space blanket are essential. Of course, these suggestions are just starting points. Do all the research you can before hitting the trail.

Ask the experts

Now for the fun part: shopping! The New River Gorge, renowned for its spectacular trails and outdoor recreation, has lots of resources. Check out Marathon Bicycle Company and Arrowhead Bike Farm in Fayetteville; both have everything you need to get riding. Once you’re outfitted, hit the Arrowhead Trails for a fun-filled ride!

Good luck and have fun!

The post Ever ridden a bike through snow? Here’s how. appeared first on Bridge Day.

Stay in shape for the holidays, the fun and scenic way!

Do you feel stuffed from too much Thanksgiving stuffing? Wondering how to prepare for Christmas feasts and upcoming holiday celebrations? Here’s what you can do to burn off those extra treats.

Hikes

Let’s face it: neighborhood walks get pretty boring. But in the mountains, there’s always something to explore. Changing seasons and terrain make exercise engaging, too. Intrigued? You won’t go wrong with New River Gorge’s nationally acclaimed trails.

Top favorites include:

Nuttallburg Trails

  • Keeney’s Creek Rail Trail (easy): a 3-mile venture that combines manmade intrigue with natural beauty. Look forward to historic trestle bridges, picturesque forests, and streams.
  • Headhouse Trail (moderate): this hike’s claim to fame is a historic coal conveyor, which stretches more than 1,000 feet long. Expect steep terrain and a total distance of 1.25 miles.
  • Conveyor Trail (hard): twisting paths, uneven terrain, and steep sections make this path a workout. But the 0.8 mile trail rewards you with lovely views of the gorge and mine.

New River Gorge Trails

  • Fayetteville Health Trail (easy): accessible from downtown Fayetteville, this 1.1-mile path loops through a local park and tranquil forest.
  • Hawks Nest Rail Trail (easy): located at the state park in Ansted, this scenic 1.8-mile path traces along Mill Creek. Waterfalls and mining remnants line the route.
  • Oak Hill Rail Trail (easy): this flat 7.8-mile path takes you through quiet forests and occasional neighborhoods. It’s popular with bike riders, too.
  • Endless Wall Trail (moderate): winner of multiple national awards— including USA Today’s “Best National Park Hike” for 2015— this 2.4 mile-long trail is famous for its breathtaking vistas. The clifftop ridgelines and river views are sublime.
  • Kaymoor Miners’ Trail (hard): this mile-long path has vigorous twists and turns. Hang in there for fascinating mining remnants, including old signs and stone foundations. If you need to burn off extra calories, descend 821 steps deeper into the gorge, where you’ll discover coke ovens and a coal processing plant.

Bike trails

  • Arrowhead Trails: this award-winning stacked-loop system has paths for all types of riders. There are scenic workouts for beginners and twisty turns for experts.
  • Craig Branch Trail (easy): glimpse outstanding views of the gorge along this 2.4-mile (one way) path. Add the Kaymoor Trail if you want to explore a historic mine!
  • Kaymoor Trail (moderate): this 8.6-mile path keeps you motivated with exhibit signs, mining artifacts, and lovely woods. It also connects to other trails.

Winter sports

Winterplace, WV

Skiing at Winterplace

True fact: you burn more calories when it’s cold outside. That’s because your body needs lots of fuel to keep warm. And at Winterplace Ski Resort in Ghent, it’s easy to stay outdoors all day. Mountain slopes, terrain parks, and snowtubing lanes entertain you from dawn to dusk. Who knew “exercise” could be so much fun?

Here’s what you can do:

  • Skiing: with a top elevation of 3,600 feet, Winterplace has lots of wild, wonderful room to roam. There are 27 trails for beginners and experts alike. You can even ski at night!
  • Snowboarding: Winterplace boasts 2 terrain parks with obstacles. You’re also free to glide down the trails.
  • Snowtubing: don’t want to ski? Try West Virginia’s largest snowtubing park— all 18 lanes of it! No experience required. For extra winter magic, play at night.

Winterplace makes snow, too. That way, you can play even when Mother Nature doesn’t cooperate. Other perks include equipment rentals, lessons, restaurants, and lodging.

The resort is open from December through March, weather permitting.

How do you like to stay trim during the holidays? Share your ideas!

The post Stay in shape for the holidays, the fun and scenic way! appeared first on Bridge Day.