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Winter Cycling Don't let snow and ice discourage you this winter. The key element to year-round cycling is proper attire! Check out this winter cycling forum to chat with other ice bike fanatics.

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Old 02-27-14, 01:40 PM   #1
mike625
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Riding the river ice

I'm in northern Illinois and with the snow as deep has it has been on the trails - "Fat Bike has not come in yet" I'm walking my studded 29er as much as riding - I'm thinking of trying to ride the river but falling thru the ice is not high on my list. Anyone know how you know if it is safe or not. It is the Fox River and it does still have some open sections.
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Old 02-27-14, 01:55 PM   #2
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I guess it's a use at your own risk kinda thing. I do it regularly around these parts. I follow snowmobile trails on the rivers mostly. I figure if a 500 pound snowmobile can ride on it. So can I on my Fat Bike. I stick to snow covered stuff. Not exposed ice. Riding rivers lets you go and see places that you would have trouble seeing or even getting to spring, summer and fall. Seen some beautiful sites for sure.

Great fun if you ask me....sorry shameless self-promotion but it fits the topic...

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Old 02-27-14, 02:03 PM   #3
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Even with the recent cold around here, it's starting to get a little late to be riding the Fox. Stay away from any dams, or water treatment inflows/outflows, and try to keep close to shore (if there isn't any open water there.)
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Old 02-27-14, 08:56 PM   #4
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I guess it's a use at your own risk kinda thing. I do it regularly around these parts. I follow snowmobile trails on the rivers mostly. I figure if a 500 pound snowmobile can ride on it. So can I on my Fat Bike. I stick to snow covered stuff. Not exposed ice. Riding rivers lets you go and see places that you would have trouble seeing or even getting to spring, summer and fall. Seen some beautiful sites for sure.
THIS!!! ^^^

Up until a couple weeks ago when we got a bit of a warm up, I was riding section of the Milwaukee River on Milwaukee's north side. You could even ride up a section of the partially frozen dam. Lots of snowmobile tracks. And IMO, that's the only way I would ever ride a river. There has to be FRESH snowmobile tracks.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:03 PM   #5
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Snowmobiles can drive over open water. Just sayin.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:38 PM   #6
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Snowmobiles can drive over open water. Just sayin.
Yes, they can, but not easily. And the chances of it being safer when you see them all over the place, including hikers, dogs, and giant penguins, are better than relying on your own instinct.
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Old 02-27-14, 09:44 PM   #7
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I ride on the river here in Montreal but I look for spots where there are ice fishing shacks and ride in that area. I use Schwalbe Ice Spiker Pro tires. Lots of fun.
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Old 02-28-14, 06:29 PM   #8
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When I was a kid we used to ride the farm pond (not deep) on our BMX bikes with ultra thin ice on top of it where you had to go fast enough to keep from falling through. Ice would bough under the tires and if you were too slow start cracking behind you.

If you start to feel the ice bough underneath you then start going faster and heading towards safety, if you keep your speed up you can still make it without falling through on very thin ice. Wouldn't do it deliberately now-days since I'm not a stupid crazy kid anymore and even back then I don't think I would have done it on anything other then a shallow pond.

Just thought I'd share that experience though, keep in the back of your mind if you ever hit a thin spot, if you limit how long your weight is on each individual patch of ice by keeping your speed up you can keep from falling through very thin ice, thin enough you can feel it bough underneath you and can leave a crack in the ice behind you with puddles of liquid seeping up on top of the ice.
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Old 03-03-14, 02:37 PM   #9
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As an avid ice fisherman, I will tell you that if you do not know how thick the ice is: stay off!

Rivers are especially dangerous. They are 100 times more dangerous than lakes.

In rivers, ice varies more, forms slower, melts faster, and of course, the obvious: if you go under in the river, the current takes you and we will find you in spring.

Of all the ice accidents we have around here, 99% are people either in rivers or river mouths, or people near working cracks on lakes.

Take a second, close your eyes, and picture yourself under the water, trying to swim up to the light of the hole you just made when you broke through, but the current is carrying you downstream...
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Old 03-05-14, 06:33 AM   #10
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Remember, snowmobiles have an enormous footprint (it's what keeps them on top of loose snow), and so exert much less pressure on any localized area, much lower than someone standing or walking. There have been instances where someone riding a snowmobile on thin ice gets off and falls through, because their feet are tiny surfaces for the weight.
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