With the coming of spring…or at least the plowing of the GTNP inner road, it is a great time of year to incorporate a bicycle into your ski tours and shoot for some of the peaks and lines north of Teewinot and Cascade Canyon. FWIW, I don’t think a bike really helps you that much for skiing Teewinot itself (assuming there is still snow on the ground in the valley to ski on), so I usually pull out the cycle for anything north of that peak. It’s kind of fun riding the bike in the wee hours of the morning…and adds to the adventure for sure!!
Anyway, I’ve got a POS for a bike, which is just about what it takes to roll up the road to where you might start skinning. Having a POS helps you worry a little less about it when you stuff it into the trees and are off skiing as well. Having a bike that shifts gears is a bonus!!! Here are some tips that I find really help with making your ski-bike experience a good one.
Slick Tires- Well, they don’t have to be total slicks and a little bit of tread helps for those light dustings or icy spots on the road. But getting rid of those knobby off-road tires really makes pedaling on the pavement much easier and faster. Pump the tires up to 80psi…and you can really fly!!!
Rear Rack- I’m a wus (and sensitive in those certain spots) and I really hate carrying a pack when I’m riding the bike…especially if it’s a large and heavy one when doing overnight trips. A rear rack is perfect for strapping your pack onto, but…
1. Make sure it is centered on the rack. There is nothing worse than seeing your pack slowly fade to one side and throw off your balance.
2. I use a couple pieces of 4mm accessory cord to secure the pack. Too skinny a cord can bite into your cold hands in the early morning and be hard to untie. Too fat a cord can sometimes be hard to tighten down. I like 4mm cord.
3. Make sure it is tied down tight!!! Having to stop once you gotten started riding to fiddle and re-tie the cord again bites…and wastes time.
Skis On Bike Frame- This is best way I’ve found to transport skis on a bike…at least skis with Dynafit bindings. Here are a few hints to do it quickly and effectively.
1. Two long ski straps are all you need to strap the skis on the bike…one in front…one in back.
2. Running the straps under the cables assures your brakes and gear shifters will still work.
3. Tails in front is the name of the game and be sure to position the rear of the binding well in front of the head tube. Also, be sure that the tips of your skis don’t rub against the rear tire. This…would be the suck!!
4. I also like to disengage the front brake cables. Your steering can sometimes be limited with the skis attached to the bike (not a real problem though) and the front brake cables might bind up when you turn the handle bars. Disengaging them means you won’t endo over the bars when you are turning.
Pedal in Ski Boots- If you pedal in your ski boots, it’s one less thing you have to attach to the bike or carry on your back. It’s not that hard either. Old-school pedal cages help out a lot here.
Well…that is about it. I’ve attached upwards of 100lbs onto my bike, including skis, poles, over-night pack and sled, and it seems to roll down the road pretty good. The hardest part is getting your speed up from a stand still. Good luck and happy pedaling!!!
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