For those of you that know me personally, you know that I really enjoy riding my bike! Springtime bike riding in Alaska can be really beautiful and exciting. The snow is starting to melt and the roads can be difficult to navigate with gravel, melting snow, slush, and ice in different areas. This variety of terrain is best maneuvered with a mountain bike or cross bike with studs. Riding my road bike makes me nervous with the increased possibility of a flat tire due to the gravel on the roads from the long winter. Flat tires can make a bike ride frustrating especially if you are ill equipped or lack the knowledge to properly change a tire.
This week, the Anchorage weather has been fantastic! Unfortunately, a majority of my week has been spent inside looking through windows as the Chugach mountains and sunshine taunt me. I feel like a lab rat. Why is it, that the weather seems to always be more more cooperative when I CANNOT be outside!?!? What’s up with that…. Hey look, I have a day off. Oh its raining… awesome.
I have been uncharacteristically busy lately which has been frustrating but fortunately I was able to get outside and soak up some vitamin D today. Anchorage has some great biking trails and scenic routes. One of my favorites is to cruise around hillside, at the base of the Chugach mountains. I try to escape into residential neighborhoods which has less traffic and different terrain such as ice and slushy dirt roads. The down-side of riding along hillside is that it involves alot of hills therefore if hills are not your forte, I would encourage you to ride elsewhere. Fortunately I am prepared with studded tires which grip nicely to the ice and add comfort and confidence.
Another feature about springtime biking is that you need to be prepared to get dirty! All of the melting snow and mud like to attach to the tire and get flung onto your face and all of your clothes. If you ever need an excuse to wash your clothes, go for a bike ride. Problem solved.
The other aspect regarding slush and mud is that it also gets on your bike which deters from the bikes longevity. The mud can get into the chain and start to make shifting difficult and the overall riding performance of your bike sub-optimal. It is best to counteract the mud by cleaning your bike after every ride and adding oil to the chain. This will significantly assist in maintaining the bike and smooth operation.
Here are some photos from my ride: