The Rise of the Snowbike
It has been waiting in the background, slowly growing in popularity and support, and now it is ready to be unveiled on the world properly.The sport of snowbiking involves traveling down a traditional ski run on a modified bicycle. Chucking yourself down a ski run on a bike is nothing new, but the hundreds of people who tried it previously didn’t do too well on account of the fact bicycles rely heavily on good ground friction. For many years ski and snowboard fans have been working on advancing designs in the hope of developing something that worked. After years of trial and error, and a few accidents, a snowbike design was finally conceived that was both functional and practical.
The best snowbike on the market is produced by a Canadian company, and they are so confident that the sport will be a huge hit, that they are arranging the first even world championship for 2010. Snowbikes are not really freestyle or jumping pieces or equipment, but instead built for speed and manoeuvrability. This will be reflected in the world championship events that will be based around slalom and speed competitions. The large majority of snowbikes that have succeeded in the market share many characteristics with snowmobiles. They are lower to the ground than normal bikes and have a blade at the front of the bike attached to the steering column. This gives the rider much better steering control, but only one blade is needed as snowbikes are a lot lighter and do not travel as fast as snowmobiles.
Snowbike manufactures admit that snowbiking is not the easiest of extreme sports to master, but that it is well worth putting in the hours to master. Apparently learning how to snowbike shares similarities with learning to ride normal mountain bikes. It is a skill that takes a little while to get right, but it has a steep learning curve and once you’ve mastered it you won’t lose it.Snowbikes are now beginning to be made in multiple sizes so that people of all ages can enjoy the sport. They also come with some additionally safety features including padded framing and stabilisers.
There will be a temptation for many proficient snowboarders and skiers to tackle the hardest runs straight away, but manufacturers urge people to start of small and build up, no matter how good you think you will be. Snowbikes are much harder to stop than snowboards or skis, and if you haven’t mastered the technique you will not only be risking your own safety, but you may be endangering the safety of other winter sports enthusiasts also.
Certain American ski resorts in fact have prohibited snowbikers on their slopes until more is known about the safety of the things. The majority of locations however are understanding to snowbikers, but still suggest that everyone is careful until we know just how safe they are. Whatever resorts think of the bikes, with a reported 30,000 snowbikers worldwide, this one seems like a trend that is going to stick (or slide as the case may be).
Filed under: Sports and Recreation