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Blog #3: Fat Bike Grooming in Cable, WI

Cable WI Area Winter Fat Bike Grooming

Blog 3:

Cable Area Fatbike Trail Grooming
Cable Area Fatbike Trail Grooming
Fatbike Grooming
Fatbike Grooming

We thoroughly admit we love to groom and Fatbike the steep, out-of-bounds, unmapped Winter trails we at the Up North Guided Tours shop maintain!  Yes, the downhills are absolute barnburners, and a few of the uphills are hikes, but our routes put the adventure back into bike.  They get you into the deep, very less traveled backwoods; they provide you with incredible vistas for your viewing pleasure; they do feature some long, flowing sections; and they get you connected into the natural world.  We create Winter trail so you get a true Northern Midwest outdoor experience!

We start grooming early in the Winter to create a base, we groom after snowfall to maintain trail integrity, and we groom towards the end of warm-ups to compact trail so it hardens providing rock-solid firmness.  Grooming is better than not grooming, but routes set up best when groomed as temperatures are going down.  Grooming the steeps is an exercise in balance: speed, momentum, and snowmobiler agility/weight distribution are necessary to clear uphill stretches and tight, downhill, banking turns; staying off the brakes on downhills keeps the groomer in-line; and properly weighting and applying the right amount of pressure via the jack on the groomer pan as snow and temperature conditions dictate all must be considered.  Grooming the steeps is never perfect, but when balance is reached, functional snow art is created.  Accordingly, some art and some science are involved!  Remember, Snow/Icebike is an extension of mountain bike: open up your front suspension, let a little air out, and take some rough with your pristine!!!

Our preferred grooming tools for the steeps, esp. during a snowy Winter are as follows: our 2-Stroke Ski-Doo Tundra 550F LT; our Wildcat 33″ Groomers; our Stihl chainsaw; our Tubbs Wilderness 30 snowshoes in case we have to walkout; our office cell phones w/ the best possible coverage; and 2 of our compact, well charged flashlights that we typically use as handlebar lights.

We do not only create Winter biking trail by pulling a groomer, we also rough-in shorter, narrower stretches via snowshoe, poles and gaiters.  Examples are evident at our shop’s Home Trail and our Cabin’s Connector Trail we rough-in for our guests, participants, and equipment rental customers.  Now, on a personal note, the beauty of roughing-in trail by snowshoe is in the silence.  Nature forgets we are there and continues as if undetected.  Owls and Wood Peckers are heard, fresh Wolf tracks are seen, and the sweet smell of dense forest practically envelops us.  Gotta love this kind of work!

Outside of our roughed-in Home and Cabin Connector Trails, our grooming route is within Bayfield County Forestland and a large private parcel.  We take our Permit and Right-of-Way License privileges very seriously, and we thank Bayfield County Foresters and the Private Landowner/Manager for same.  The trails we maintain that are in Bayfield County Forestland are HVN and TRTS, and the trail we maintain on the private parcel is HVN X.  Those three trails are open to the general public for Snow/Icebiking.  Please see the Trails page of our website for detailed descriptions of each.  Additionally, there are trails we help FAT CAMBA maintain.  Those trails are mostly within Bayfield County Forestland and are Westside and Backside, both of which are open to the general public, as well.

Why do we put in this type of work?  To enhance the experience of outdoor adventure seekers, of course.  Enjoy!  See www.upnorthguidedtours.com, and contact josh@upnorthguidedtours.com or 715/413-2076.

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What is Up North Guided Tours Doing (w/ Fatbike)?

Family FATbike Guided Tour

Blog 2:

Family Fatbike Tour
Family Fatbike Tour

Rolling Stone and Tim Krabbe would say: To explain (Fatbike) is to diminish.  So let’s leave plenty for you to chew on.

We could tell you all about our purposes of advancing recreational tourism in Northwest Wisconsin, enhancing Northeast Illinois residents’ experience in the outdoors just beyond their own backyards, raising awareness on the potential of fat bike as the ultimate human-powered backcountry travel tool, promoting healthy lifestyle, and advocating for multi-use trail sharing, but yawn: that would bore you to tears.  Up North Guided Tours is really about having safe, non-competitive, GROUP FUN in Midwestern natural areas.  We offer a release from normal, everyday life!

We love and do all forms of off-road riding: from flat gravel to singletrack, from primitive jeep trail to freeriding the steeps.  It’s all fun, it all offers different forms of off-road cycling exercise, and it all provides different types of cycling experience!  We also love to explore on snowshoe.  We blaze our own Winter paths and experience Winter serenity in its purest form.

We don’t do what we do only thru our money-making vehicles of guiding, equipment rentals, and apparel sales, we go much deeper.

We work closely with Bayfield County Forest Department and private owners of large tracts of land to not only open areas to general public biking that were not previously open to same, we also help to maintain those areas.  From basic chainsaw maintenance to snow bike grooming, we love working trail!  We especially love steep trail since we believe there is no riding quite like gravity-based riding, which is somewhat untapped here in the Northern Midwest.

Up North Guided Tours is also behind Cable Night Riders, which provides Cable area youth with an opportunity to ride off-road bike and explore their backwoods for free on Friday nights.  Kids in Cable are an underrepresented group, they simply do not have enough to do.  We give them a productive way to get together, enjoy nature, and blow off steam!

Now, regarding our Guiding, Equipment Rental, and Apparel Sales work, we are focused on providing you with the very BEST SERVICE.  We watch out for your safety like no other and take you on routes that are right for your skill level and interests, we provide you with higher-end and very well maintained equipment, and we only carry the very best in apparel at reasonable prices.  We serve you the way you want and deserve to be served!

Want to know more?  Check us out in person and judge for yourself.  You will have fun and will have a unique experience!  See www.upnorthguidedtours.com, and contact josh@upnorthguidedtours.com or 715/413-2076.

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Fat Bike Philosophy

Primitive Fat Bike Trail in Cable, WI

Fatbike is the most versatile, human-powered method of accessing the backcountry.  Low tire pressure and lack of motor leave little to no trace, switching out tires and chain rings allow riders to utilize fat bikes during most seasons under most weather conditions, and the wide tires and rims let you ride terrain that is close to impossible to ride via standard mountain bike in a substantially safer fashion.  Fatbike is the utilitarian solution to backcountry travel!

Wider tires which are run at extremely low PSI (Pounds per Square Inch) and wider rims distribute and displace bike and rider weight, and that in turn leads to little to no tread markings on all types of terrain, including: grassy , two-track, single-track, technical (rocks and roots), and overgrown routes.  Lack of motor reduces noise and air pollution in the backcountry.  In other words, Fatbike is not a cause of environmental damage so long as Fat Bike is not ridden on anything but gravel roads during mud season.

One Fatbike can responsibly handle most weather conditions.  Responsibly is the operative term granted we do not ride ‘em, nor do we advocate riding ‘em, during mud season as routes, except those on gravel roads, are too soft and even Fatbike tires have too much negative impact during those few months. One is the magic number since all you need is one Fatbike to handle all your off-road riding so long as you switch out a couple components.  Here’s what we do, tires: we run a set of low-resistance rollers for summer and fall months, that means a low-rise tread pattern to increase rolling efficiencies; and during winter we switch between a set of snow tires for solid snow conditions and a set of studded tires to handle icy conditions. Chain rings: we run a larger chain ring for summer and fall, and we opt for a smaller chain ring during the winter.  The larger chain ring during summer and fall allows for faster downhill bombing, whereas use of the smaller chain ring during the winter makes pedaling easier when riding snow and ice.  In other words, we customize our Fatbike fleet based on riding conditions to enhance your experience.

Wide rims and wide tires not only lessen environmental impact, they maximize your fun!  The wider stance not only creates stability, which is safer than skinny-tired bikes, it allows riders to thrive in steep, technical terrain with confidence.  That opens many riding options: off-road riders no longer have to follow meticulously maintained trail lines to get their miles in.  We are free to roam!

Submitted by Up North Guided Tours, LLC for Forest and Lakes Monthly, and originally appeared in the Forest and Lakes Monthly October 2017 edition on page 7.  Up North Guided Tours guides Fatbike and Snowshoe tours for all skill levels to places you have never seen on our fleet using our transport to and from our routes.  We also rent out our equipment and sell off-road cycling apparel.  Further we perform supplemental trail maintenance, advocate shared trail use, and provide youth services out of our Northwest WI location.  We are in the Chicago Area during the Fall and Spring seasons, and we are in Cable, WI during the Winter and Summer seasons.  We utilize all forms of off-road riding our areas offer, including routes that are unmapped and hard to find.  We promise you a unique off-road riding experience!  Call or email Josh for details 715/413-2076 or josh@upnorthguidedtours.com, see our site at www.upnorthguidedtours.com, and check us out on Facebook!