Sunday, October 30
Saturday was beautiful here in Mpls... a perfect day for a nice long bike ride. The number of fall weekends with sunny skies and (relatively) warm temps are getting down there. Before too long we'll be shifting into a fairly persistent gloomy weather pattern. Then we'll get snow, and the riding around here will become a whole new adventure.
On my way to the dirt trails I stopped by the Angry Catfish to check out the new Husker Du fat bike tire from 45North. Knob height is about the same as Larry, but with a denser knob pattern so I think it'll be a better dirt tire, especially up front. I'm going to wait until I need to replace my Larry before I try the Husker Du; which is where I think this tire will fit into the market... as a Larry alternative.
The Husker Du doesn't look to have the massive traction of Nate, the smooth roll of Black Floyd (or the Endo for that matter), and certainly doesn't have the huge volume of Big Fat Larry. I'll be interested to see how people like them in the snow... at this point I'm still thinking Nate and/or Big Fat Larry will be the ideal snow set-up.
After my stop at Angry Catfish I headed toward the MN River, taking paved bike paths to the Long Meadow Lake trail where I dropped into the river valley. At Hwy 77 I continued straight along the north bank of the river, eventually connecting to the River Bottoms mtb trail.
The section from Hwy 77 to the Lyndale Ave parking lot is particularly nice. Tough at times with all the sand, but at the same time gorgeous with the fall colors.
The fat front Fargo did fairly well except in the deepest, softest sand. The fat front keeps me tracking straight and as long as I can keep powering through it, the rear tire digs in and keeps me moving forward. It was only in spots where the sand was so soft and deep that either the rear tire got bogged down or I simply fishtailed and lost my momentum.
I saw at least 5 fat bikers out on the river trails yesterday, and a LOT of fat tracks in the sand. On the gravel road west of Lyndale I stopped for a short chat with a group of three guys on Mukluks. At the time I couldn't figure out why they looked familiar, but now I'm pretty sure they are part of the Salsa crew. Either that or Kid from Salsa has a twin.
I probably should have turned around at Nine Mile Creek, but I had planned on going all the way to Savage. Somehow the plan of riding to Savage and back had turned into a "goal" that was worthwhile. Whether it was actually worthwhile is still up in the air. At Bloomington Ferry I crossed into Savage, turned around and had a snack on the bridge. I then took the road back to the Lyndale parking lot, following the River Bottoms to Hwy 77, crossed the river at Hwy 77 and took the MN Valley Trail to Mendota.
After crossing the Mendota Bridge, I tracked down the Blow Me Fall Colors Tour (aka Homie Fall Fest) at their final destination. Friends, fire, bikes, and beer... a great way to cap off a ride.
There were quite a few fat bikes in the bunch, and I finally got the opportunity to check out a Moonlander in person. It is crazy how the Big Fat Larry on 100mm rims makes my Large Marge/Larry combo look skinny. After a couple cans of Surly Wet, I headed home... tired as heck.
* On a side note, I did my first attempts at fillet brazing this week. I had an old steel frame with a frozen bottom bracket that I cut up and mitered to make some practice joints. The welding class I'm taking uses flux covered rod and didn't have any paste flux, which aren't the ideal materials to be using for framebuilding, but I figured practice is practice. The brazes are pretty ugly, and getting good penetration through the joint was hit or miss, but it was fun to get some practice under my belt. I'll probably spend some time later this week filing and sanding the joints to see how smooth I can get them.
Stopping can be as much fun as riding...