Snow biking – gaining attention

If you can bike in the summer, why not bike in the snow? Brad Jackson, Physical Therapist for UP Rehab Services, knows how staff and clients can not only recover from injuries, but also continue participating in active sports.

The first World Snow Bike Championship Race was held in conjunction with the Noquemanon Ski Marathon in Marquette last weekend. A new event involved more than100 participants in snow bike races of 50, 24, and 12 kilometers in distance. The snow bike event took place on the same trails used by the Noquemanon ski racers.

Brenda Salisbury, another Physical Therapist for UP Rehab Services, competed in the 24 km snow bike race, finishing as the third overall woman and first in her age group. Brenda is new to snow biking this year, having taken up the sport while recovering from foot surgery. An avid mountain biker, Brenda was pleased with her race performance but says her real enjoyment of snow biking comes from trail rides in the woods, accompanied by her four legged companions, Pika and Bear.

What is a snow bike? Also known as a fat bike, Jackson says a snow bike is almost identical to a traditional mountain bike but with much wider tires. The snow bike tires are usually 3.5-4.0 inches wide versus a traditional mountain bike with tires about 1.5-2 inches wide.

The tire pressure of a snow-bike is set very low, and this combination of wide tires and low pressure allows the bike to ride effectively on packed and semi-packed snow.

An increasingly popular sport, it is not unusual to see snow bikes around Marquette and across the country. The popularity of snow biking in Marquette has evolved, and there is now a dedicated effort to routinely pack snow on the traditional mountain bike trails found around the city of Marquette. This allows snow bikers the excitement of riding on the single-track trails and the opportunity to experience the beauty of snow covered terrain.

It is just one more winter sport that keeps residents active and continues to bring visitors to the area.

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