MPLS Winter Biking Is New Interactive Site for Twin Cities Bike Commuters

MPLS Winter Biking is an online resource launched a couple of days ago by Foundry, a software design & development agency based in Minneapolis, that allows bike commuters in the Twin Cities to report and view trail/road conditions.  It works for both desktop and mobile devices.  Users of site can rate and add comments to their reports by clicking the map for the road or trail they would like to inform other cyclists about.

MPLS Winter Biking is interactive using Google Maps with Bicycling routes highlighted and user submitted reports are color coded based on the 5 star rating system.  Reports indicate whether or not they contain an optional comment on the conditions.  Cyclists can zoom in to report for a specific road or trail and each report shows the date and time of  the submission.  To keep the map information current, user submitted reports are only 3 days old or less.  Over the last day and a half, a lot of new reports have been submitted detailing how the commuter conditions have changed with the new snow we have received.

Whether you're an avid or occasional bike commuter, put this resource to use by submitting your reports so that other cyclists can be in the know and plan their routes accordingly.  Your fellow cyclists will thank you.


My Favorite Winter Fatbike Gear-Part 2

Winter is finally here and and that opens up a lot of new opportunities to ride fatbikes.  Some of these opportunities are made even better with the right gear.  This will be my fifth year of winter cycling and I have a few favorite items that help make fatbiking out on the snow and ice much more enjoyable. 

45NRTH Dillinger 4 Tires 

This Winter has started off extremely icy and a pair of studded tires has almost become a must if you want to get in any riding.  Most of the Twin Cities area singletrack is currently unrideable without studded tires until we get a decent amount of snow to pack down on top of the ice.  I've crashed on icy patches in previous years and vowed that I would go studded this winter for better traction and to ride areas that I couldn't before.

I recently purchased a pair of 45NRTH Dillinger 4 studded fatbike tires and set them up tubeless so I could run lower pressures when needed without the risk of pinch flats.  From the very first ride I was amazed at their grip on the ice.  Now I can ride the slippery stuff with confidence thanks to their 240 concave studs.  These tires now allow me to go places I would have never thought of before.  Frozen lakes, creeks, marshes and icy singletrack are no longer off limits thus extending my opportunities to ride.  They will definitely be put to use during some fatbike ice fishing ventures to come.

Revelate Designs Mountain Feedbag

The Mountain Feedbag from Revelate Designs is a favorite cockpit bag of mine.  I use a pair of them year round for different practical applications.  They're small, but big enough to carry the things I need for the ride.  I can easily fit my tool kit in one with room to spare for keys, wallet or snacks.  The other one usually carries a spare tube, water bottle or other gear needed for cold rides.  They allow quick access and hold very secure, even on the bumpiest of rides.  I like to travel light and these bags allow me to do that without feeling cumbersome.

Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump

The Bontrager TLR Flash Charger Floor Pump is one of the best floor pumps I've ever owned.  This high capacity pump works great for filling high volume fatbike tires and also has a pressurizable chamber that makes seating tubeless tires a breeze.  I recently set up a pair of Bontrager Barbegazi 26x4.7 tires tubeless and was able to get them to seat easily without the use of a compressor.  I check my tire pressure before every ride and adjust it to handle the trail conditions and this pump makes doing so quick and easy.  The pump action is very smooth and I would definitely recommend the Flash Charger to anyone who has a fatbike.

WSI Sports HEATR Baselayer

One of the newest gear items I'm most excited about is my new base layer from WSI Sportswear.  This Eagan based company has a full line of performance base layers that have been designed, tested and made in Minnesota.  HEATR is their line of base layer apparel that warms against the skin while wicking away moisture to keep a person dry and comfortable in a variety of cold conditions.

I have their warmest Full HEATR Pant and Long Sleeve 1/4 Zip Shirt that has a comfort range from -20° to 50° F and added their HEATR Socks and HEATR Glove Liners to complete the set.  The material is thin, stretchable and wicks moisture really good.  I combine this set up with my Gore Bike Wear Windstopper outer shell to stay remarkably warm without layering up too much.  I'll be putting it to the test with the subzero temperatures to come and hope to write a full review later this Winter.
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