Metroparks Meetup: Winter biking at Oak Opening Preserve
Biking is usually more of a warm-weather affair, but while many have hung up their helmets for the season, fresh snow means a fresh opportunity at the Beach Ridge area of Oak Openings Preserve between Whitehouse and Swanton.
"Biking has become a little bit more year-round with the advent of 'fat bikes'", explains outdoor skills interpreter Jake Willing. "Wider tires, bigger tread. They're really good on snow and sand, any loose terrain -- that big wide tire gives you a ton of confidence and control on the ground."
Confidence is key to driving on four wheels, let alone two on fresh powder, but seasoned riders would rather have the frozen ground over the soggy mess that most of the winter has brought to this point.
"This winter's been a little interesting, with some of the conditions we've had -- sloppier, a little bit wet -- but now that it's frozen and packed, we can actually ride," Willing said.
Oak Openings has a 12-mile singletrack trail winding across the Lucas/Fulton County line, but for my sake, we opted for a shorter section of it. After a bit of an unsteady start, I somehow managed to emerge unscathed.
For a finale, we decided to take on the FitPark Ride challenge area, which opened back in September... and I was quickly humbled by falling off the first obstacle. (Making snow angels can always be a good alternative to biking in the winter, I suppose.)
For a full map of the trail, visit the
or grab your helmet and your sense of adventure, and see where the trail takes you.