Shyla and I have settled into our winter schedule, riding together at sunrise, with some breaks for play in the midst of our ride.
In the photo below, I rode past one of my trail cameras on a trail that I've *never* been able to ride in January or February in past years. It's a place that gets almost no sun all winter long so the snow usually piles up over the winter months. My huge tires leave behind a 5" wide packed trail that the animals like to use for easier walking than in unpacked snow.
Taryn asked what I wear and carry on such cold and snowy rides. You can see in the photo above that I'm bundled up. I have a stocking cap, a neck gaiter, three layers on my upper body, two layers on my legs, winter cycling boots with chemical toe warmers, mittens, pogies (big mittens that go over my handlebars), and chemical hand warmers. I have tools for fixing my bike in the under-the-saddle wedge pack on my bike. I have a down sweater in a frame pack that is in the "triangle" of my bike, and I have high energy food and an emergency beacon in yet another pack attached to the front of my bike. My camera is in my backpack.
That is tons more stuff than I carry for a summer ride but I must be prepared for getting stuck somewhere due to a mechanical problem or an injury. Hypothermia or frostbite could become problems very rapidly. That's why I have so much stuff with me, including the satellite-based emergency communicator.
Here is the same spot as I rode and made a nice tire tack a few days later. After some fresh snow had fallen, a bobcat walked carefully in my tire track.
It's starting to feel like spring will be here before we know it. Every year, I look forward to my first photos of bears (and often their tiny cubs) and, around the same time, seeing the colors of the first wildflowers in the forest.
But, for the sake of Mother Nature, we need to get a lot of snow before true springtime arrives. Shyla loves the snow so she's looking forward to it!