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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my neck of the woods (SE WI/ NE IL), finding good rideable crust in the woods is like searching for Bigfoot. You kind of think it's out there, but you gotta be in the right place at the right time to find it. Well after years of searching (and finding little bits here and there), last week I was finally at the right place at the right time (and have video to prove it). These weren't good crust conditions, they were amazing crust conditions.

I spent that morning playing on the steeps of a small ravine. Crust snow and really steep inclines are perfect together. The somewhat high rolling resistance of crust combined with the fact that it covers up all the ground debris means you can try riding stuff you would not consider riding in the summer. I'm not talking about trails here, I'm talking about finding a clean line on a steep snow-covered incline and going for it.

Highlights include two mild over-the-bars when the front wheel broke through. One where I landed on my feet, and the other that had me sliding on my back headfirst down the ravine towards the creek.

 

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Great and unique post! Never had a great crust ride here in SoCal! I usually get a few good snow rides in each year on a few inches of fresh powder. Gotta get to it before the thaw and refreeze or the rapid melt into a slushy mess!

Looks like the shortcut log crossing was the riskiest move of the ride! Thanks for the post!
 

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Crusty The Clown is my bestest friend. We laugh our way through the woods together. We giggle, we slip and slide but most of all we go wherever we want to go. We meet early in the morning while it's so cold that there's nobody else around so there's no proof of the fun we have together after the hoots and hollers fade.

This was a 1/2 mile long smooth descent through the woods this morning

The traction is so good it's unbelievable

Gotta have the right tool
 

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I had this one time about 10-12 years ago in CT. Miles and miles of rolling smooth hills with endless amounts of traction. The snow was just perfect. Just like in you're video. Just a little bit of loose stuff on top for traction and other wise smooth under the tires.

super fun!
 

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Crust biking. Who knew? Certainly nobody here in San Diego.
Thanks for that video. It was most entertaining, and the soundtrack was a good choice. Props also for the applause!
 

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trailville, is that at Beulah? I've been itching to get out and ride, but figured everything would be too sloppy even with the cold on Sunday.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
trailville, is that at Beulah? I've been itching to get out and ride, but figured everything would be too sloppy even with the cold on Sunday.
Yes, that's Beulah. Sunday morning would have been fine as long as you got out early enough. We're probably going to have a long muddy season, so watch the forecasts for any cold nights over the next couple of weeks because the next mornings will probably be the only chances to ride for a while.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
The allure of crust.

I guess for those that don't live in the snow belt or have never tried to ride crust I should explain the allure of crust.

Crust is kind of like a spring gift to those who have endured a long snowy winter. You need to start with quite a bit of snow to get good crust, so those that haven't earned it, don't get to ride it. We had a really tough winter this year so I got to ride crust. If you live in parts of Alaska, in the mountains, or some other heavier snow areas, you may get good crust every spring (and you deserve it).

Anyway, so after months of bundling up every time you go outside, trudging through snow, shoveling snow, repeatedly having to clean snow off your car, you have an opportunity to walk, ski, or ride on top of the snow (crust skiing is actually quite amazing).

Riding a bike on crust isn't really better than riding on other surfaces, it's just different. I can't think of any other surface that gives the same feel as crust.

Then there's the freedom of riding off trail. It's kind of hard to describe the feeling of turning off the trail to head through the trees or across a bog and just go wherever there's good crust and clean lines.

And finally, for many of us there's the elusiveness of good rideable crust. Good crust is temporary, and depending where you live may only exist once every so many years and only for a few days or a few hours. For me, over the years I've gone out many times to see if there was rideable crust only to break through or just find small areas of rideable crust. It could be many years before I find conditions similar to the ones in my video. Skiable crust is a little easier to find, so I get to crust ski more often than I get to crust bike.
 

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That's how it's done! We have some local trails that get very little traffic (except for wildlife) so the trails are not packed down, making riding .... very interesting. Lot's of exploring and fun!
 

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We get a pretty reliable crust season in March and April. We had a big thaw with lots of rain followed by a flash freeze last week and it's been cold ever since. Perfect crust riding conditions! Got out for a short one on Saturday and heading out again in the morning before temps rise above freezing on Friday.
 

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Nice. Crust is good. We get it quite often here although it's been kinda spotty this year due to the low snow levels and some early thaws. So, more like frozen mud interspersed with rideable crust (if you get out before temps climb above freezing)... like little islands of crust that act like jumps and bumps in the trail. Spices things up nicely.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Harder Faster Crust.

Reviving this old thread because we had some amazing crust a few weeks ago. Very different from the typical late season thaw/freeze cycle crust, this was a beautiful carpet of about 4-inches of hard crust created by a very wet snow/ice storm and a deep freeze. It was everywhere, and stuck around for over a week so plenty of riding opportunities.

 
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