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I live in New England, and winter riding is pretty great. Unfortunately we have about a month at the end of the season where we have to deal with freeze/thaw cycles. And most typically don't ride during this time as the trails can get significantly impacted.

What happens in the warmer areas such as the Mid-Atlantic? Do you have freeze/thaw cycles all winter? If so how do you manage riding during this time?
 

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Where I live in Delaware, we get freeze thaw, but typically much shorter than up there; there are also stretches where it stays above freezing for days.

Also freeze/thaw isn’t as big of a deal bc we generally don’t have much snow., so it’s just the ground freezing overnight….and getting mushy during the day. There’s periods where it too muddy to ride…but, mostly we just through the winter.
 

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I live in New England, and winter riding is pretty great. Unfortunately we have about a month at the end of the season where we have to deal with freeze/thaw cycles. And most typically don't ride during this time as the trails can get significantly impacted.

What happens in the warmer areas such as the Mid-Atlantic? Do you have freeze/thaw cycles all winter? If so how do you manage riding during this time?
I live in northwest NJ. I call my winter riding skiing and leave it at that.
 

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What happens in the warmer areas such as the Mid-Atlantic? Do you have freeze/thaw cycles all winter? If so how do you manage riding during this time?
I live in northern PA and depending on the year, we either have fantastic XC ski and fat bike conditions or snow free ground that works for hiking and non-snow fat biking or we have rather rapid freeze thaw conditions that result in slick and unusable (read really unsafe) conditions for everything. Last year we had great snow and then it would rain and sleet and we ended up with several inches of glassy, slick ice everywhere for more days than not. Seems this has been our pattern the last 3 or 4 years now, so no XC skiing, hiking or any sort of biking or really anything in the woods for extended periods of time😩
 

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Here in VA during that cycle, there are a few hours of ridable condition early in the morning. Once the sun starting to hit the trails, everything gets mushy quickly.
That's generally how it goes. Seems like 10am is pushing it because of the angle of the sun. Even on days where the air temps are still a little below freezing, the sunshine can thaw things out. Very sandy soils and rocky soils seem a bit less impacted by the freeze/thaw, but soils with a lot of clay turn into a royal mess with freeze/thaw cycles.

I live in WNC, and we get plenty of freeze/thaw. How it affects the trails depends on how much moisture was in the soil prior to the onset of the freeze/thaw cycles. We'll usually have periods where it's been pretty dry, so the temps don't really affect anything. But then periods where the freeze/thaw occurs after a persistent drizzly rain that soaks everything, and freeze/thaw definitely affects conditions. That said, in the mtns, we have trails with many different types of soils. Once you've been here awhile, you learn which ones get messy easily and which ones are very durable.
 

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I live in southern Ontario. Our winters have freeze thaw episodes which makes for some interesting conditions for riding. We leave the studded tires on until beginning of April. When it thaws and the soil is exposed we avoid clay based trails; for some trails, the snow melts and the ground stays frozen and the water pools for some splashy rides... every ride is different :)
 

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I ride a Peloton. We have 3 months that are basically unrideable due to snowfall/frozen ice trails. I really wanted to like fatbiking in the winter, but it just wasn't my thing.

My wife loves the Peloton and uses it year round. I honestly thought I'd hate as I'm an outdoor person to the core but it's actually a crazy good workout. I'll also substitute regular rides for the Peloton when it's too hot or I don't have enough time. We also get tons of wildfire smoke so I try to limit my time in that also.
 

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I live in western PA and it's a crap shoot.

We have winters where it just rains a lot.

We have had winters in the last 15 years when trails were perfect and it was sunny and unseasonably warm more often than not.

Last year we had more good snow than normal and it was great for fat bikes.

And then we have winters where it either is 40 and raining or dry and really cold. Those are probably the worst for attempting any kind of riding.
 

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It depends where you are. River and lake basins can be nightmares when wet. The ridge lines such as Rothrock and the Shed are fine. Need to bring the right tires to the party.


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We're not Mid-Atlantic, but I'm throwing the "no leaf blowing" monkey wrench into this discussion.

The freeze/thaw cycles seem to have much less effect when leaves are left on the trail. Think of the leaves as little shingles. I volunteer as a trail monitor (9th year), so I am out in all seasons and all conditions just to see if the improvements that were implemented (mostly drainage) are serving the purpose. It still looks like bare dirt absorbs the most moisture, gets the most frost heaves, and displaces more easily than covered dirt. In NEO that can mean weeks of closures at each end of the season. Lake Erie lake effect is a real weather phenomenon that drives a lot of precipitation. The best trails have rocks and sand, but most of them here are clay.

-F
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
We're not Mid-Atlantic, but I'm throwing the "no leaf blowing" monkey wrench into this discussion.

The freeze/thaw cycles seem to have much less effect when leaves are left on the trail. Think of the leaves as little shingles. I volunteer as a trail monitor (9th year), so I am out in all seasons and all conditions just to see if the improvements that were implemented (mostly drainage) are serving the purpose. It still looks like bare dirt absorbs the most moisture, gets the most frost heaves, and displaces more easily than covered dirt.

-F
I did see a great YouTube video a few months back saying the same thing.
 
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