Michigan’s predicted tough winter with lots of snow has not deterred the plans of a group of guys I have occasionally ridden with out at Sony Creek Metro Park.
Several will be riding bikes with four inch wheels.
Called the Pugsley and manufactured by Surly, these $1,500 iron horses make easy work of snow and, as the picture shows, even sand.
“I was looking for a bike to ride year round and especially in the winter when everyone else is cross country skiing, I wanted to ride,” said Bruce Mack, who got his Pugsley a few weeks ago and has racked up 250 miles on it before the snow even started to fall. “Even though the Pugsley is heavy and you might think it would be a dog, when it gets rolling, it handles very well. I ride a 29er on the trails and I have no problem taking the Pugsley on the trails because the large tires grip the ground and just plain roll over rocks and roots. And when it comes to sand, it just floats over it.”
Mack says he key to the performance of the Pugsley is the tire pressure which can be run very low, in fact somewhere around 10 PSI for packed snow, sand and wet rocks, depending on your weight. I have not found the sweet spot for myself yet, but I keep adjusting the air.
George Lombardi is another one of the Stony Creek riders who has a Pusgley. He plans winter riding with the group but got his to explore the sandy two-tracks that go for miles across the state and national forests of Northern Michigan.
“The Pugsley is an expedition type bike that can ride in snow or sand with in reason,” says Lombardi. “The fire roads of Northern Michigan is a new frontier for exploring. The loose sand up there on the seasonal dirt roads makes it almost impossible to ride on a normal bike tires. I was up on the power tower sand roads off the Vasa trail last week and did reasonably well if I picked the right line.”
There are lots of cyclists who ride in Michigan’s wintertime. Many swap their flats and MB rubber for studded tires. But the guys on the Surly out at Stony Creek are betting the low tire pressure and extra width will give them more and easier rides.
Meantime, what advice do you have for winter riding?
What’s the best way to keep your hands and feet warm?
How about clothing?
Pass your tips under comments below.
Tags: witer bicycling, pugsley to heavy, biking in Michigan