Destination Recreation: Winter Biking - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Destination Recreation: Winter Biking

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Bikers are heading out on the trails, even though there's snow on the ground, and winter is showing no sign of letting up.

"It was just so much fun," says Lynn Beal, "and I took my dogs and my dogs could run and just get a great exercise."

The winter biking trend has been popular in the midwest, and has been growing in the last few years in Vermont. Beginners say other than the occasional tumble, it's a great way to get out year-round.

"It can be a little slippery -- you've really got to hold on," Beal says. "And under the snow you won't know that there's ice there."

It was my first time biking on the snow, so Kingdom Trails manager Lilias Ide gave me a quick lesson.

Reporter: "So what do I need to know about this bike? Obviously it's a bit different than a normal bike."

Lilias Ide: "It's a little different in that basically it has much fatter tires so that you can float on a softer surface."

The fatter tire the better, she says, and just like with cars, studded tires are better for icy conditions. Most tires are three to five inches wide with an aggressive tread. But it felt a lot like a normal bike ride. Once I'd gotten a feel for it, it was time to hit the trails.

Ideal conditions are hard-packed, grippy snow like we have here. Smoother surfaces are easier to ride on, which is why places like Kingdom Trails, which groom, are more popular for winter biking.

"Breaking trail is tough so it's nice to have actual single-track trails that are groomed and then you know you have a nice riding surface," Ide says.

She says put on what you'd wear while cross-country skiing, but you should use hand and foot warmers. And while it's tempting to want to make sure you aren't going to slip on the snow, you still need to look up when you're riding.

"You want to look ahead of you -- whatever you're looking at is what you're basically going to hit," she says.

And as a beginner, the hardest part for me was the curve on the downhill.

Out in the woods off the beginner trails, avid mountain bikers can find the more challenging terrain to tackle, peddling no matter what the weather holds.

For more information about winter biking at Kingdom Trails, visit: http://www.kingdomtrails.com/trail-network/winter-bike-snow-bike-trails

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