Although winter feels long gone from the city, out at Pigeon Lake, where my family spent Easter Sunday, it still feels very much like winter, at least out on the actual lake. My son Max and I brought our bikes, thinking we'd explore some gravel roads around Mulhurst, the little village on the northeast corner of the lake.
But when we arrived at our friends' cottage, we realized that the lake was still totally frozen. Folks were out ice fishing, walking about, quadding, and generally cavorting on the ice. Our riding plans quickly changed. It's not every day that you get a chance to cycle on a frozen lake.
The riding conditions were pretty much perfect: a few degrees above zero; the wind calm; the sun shining. A thin layer of old snow on the ice gave us some grip. My fat bike was the right ride for me, and the skinny lad's mountain bike did the trick for him. We rolled over some major cracks in the ice but I was never worried: it's still 20 inches thick. Plenty of truck tire tracks were visible, though I think the days of fishtailing your F-150 are done for this year.
You forget just how much traffic there can be on a lake in winter. Packs of quads buzzed back and forth across the bare horizon, looking in the distance like a scene from some arctic Mad Max. None of the folks we cycled past out there seemed at all surprised to see a couple of bicycles on the lake--I guess it's just one more mode of winter transport on an icy superhighway.
My cartographic wheels were spinning as we pedaled too, as it occurred to me that there's no reason a fellow couldn't cycle clear across the lake from Mulhurst to Ma-Me-O. Not now, of course, what with the melt on, but there's always next winter.