The weather got colder in February and I've been checking the ice often. Yesterday it finally looked solid enough to ride on, even though there was one open area, so my frend Tony and I ventured out on the lake. We slid around for about an hour, then went over to an island and climbed a hill to watch the sun set. It sure was beautiful. There was a party of icefishermen and some kids playing hockey, but otherwise we had the whole lake to ourselves.
The ice was smooth as a mirror and free of snow. I had studded tires and got great traction. Tony just had regular knobbies, and he was spinning his wheels half the time. He looked funny, cranking as fast as he could in an easy gear, but not moving at all. He has great balance--I couldn't have done that. He used to ride BMX, so he also had fun doing tricks. I'm a little more sedate, but I did some spins and slides too. I fell once, when I absentmindedly squeezed the lever for my front brake to stop. Tony said the ice was pretty thick if it didn't crack when I fell on it. After that fall, I used my rear brake, and only had to put my foot down to stop a skid.
I have been doing all of my winter riding on the local lakes. It is my favorite place to ride in the winter. I can ride out my door and connect two lakes for up to a 2 hour ride. Yesterday was my fastest ride yet. All the paths to the fishhouses are plowed now and down to bare ice. Studded tires required.
Specialized HardRock stock (my to work/play bike) and a Kona Scab with some minor upgrades (my getting hurt bike)
I'm lucky enough to live close to alot of lakes. We get out and ride a few of them. Riding at night would be kinda dangerous. Even with a full moon and bar lights. I take alot of care when We ride the lakes. Check the thickness... You don't want to go through. I lay it down alot on the ice because I don't ride studs. Makes for a more hands and face on lake riding experience. Some of the things You see when riding on smaller back lakes is sick... deer, foxes, rabbits, drunk dudes on Snowmobiles.
I saw a bobcat on the ice once. He ran out, then saw me and ran back to shore. He skidded on the ice just like a big fat tabby cat skidding on a waxed floor. This was just 3 miles outside Lansing, Michigan. Winter is the best time to see wildlife, I think.