Monday, November 18, 2013


I've always loved winter. There is something amazing to me about the way skin smells after it has been out in the cold for hours. That mix of clean and cold, if clean and cold have smells.

I've been bad about sharing that love with my loved ones, though. I am a bit of a selfish person, in general. I'm not a guy you'll meet on a group ride. If I end up going to some social function, most likely I'll be the guy at the back of the room, looking down into my drink until I've built enough courage to actually speak. It's not that I don't like sharing experiences with others, I am just a coward overall. It's easier to not share with others.

But I've often felt that I'm cheating my kids this way. How can they really know who I am if I don't share a bit of myself with them?  And what is it that I like to do over just about anything else? Bike. In the snow. On fat tires.

Saturday morning we woke up early and ran over to Backcountry Bike and Ski, in Palmer and rented a Kona Wo. 17 inch frame. The perfect size to fit all three of my kids as well as my wife. The shop was super helpful, changing out the mustache bar for a low-rise bar to give a more trail-capable ride.

The idea was to rent the bike for Saturday and return it early Sunday morning. What I didn't realize at the time is that the shop isn't open on Sundays in the winter. And the owner, whom I spoke with about renting the bike, forgot as well, as they just switched to their winter hours. Anyway, we made a plan to meet at 9 on Sunday morning to return the bike.

Good plan, plenty of time for each of the kids to get a ride in. For the first ride, I took my oldest and one of her friends out, put her friend on my bike and let them go. As we were waiting for their return, I got a call from the bike shop letting me know that I could keep the bike until the shop opened again, on Tuesday. No charge. Now, this is awesome. I don't have to try to fit in everyone's ride in one day. What could be better?

My daughter and her friend returned and my son and I hopped on the bikes for our turn. It was cold - 12F and clear. My son, for some reason, just wasn't feeling it. Whether it was the weather or the heavy bike, I'm not sure, but we put in six miles in just a touch under 2 hours. Slow going, but overall fun. I think that my son ended up enjoying it overall, just needs to be in a bit better shape.

The plan was to then take my oldest out for a night ride when she got done at the high school play. Full moon weekend, so what better time to ride in the dark? In the end, she got done way too late so we decided to postpone until Sunday.

Wake up Sunday and it is windy and cold. 20MPH winds from the north. 16F temps. Cold. My middle daughter and I decided to run over to the river to take a ride out there, but as we got closer and watched the wind whipping the snow opted instead for the Matanuska River Park trails. A new area for me. Spent an hour and a half putzing around on the trails in the woods out of the wind. The first thing my middle one said to me as she started riding the bike was "This feels weird, but really cool." She loved it, even though many of the hills required her to hop off and hike a bike.

Later in the day my oldest and I went out for a nice little ride as the sun was setting. So we left at 4 and got home in the dark. The ride was awesome, though. Watching the sun go down and the full harvest moon come up. Yeah, pretty awesome.

Thanks to Backcountry for helping me share my passion with my kids. I'll probably have to figure out how to buy a fattie for them now. A good problem to have.

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