Southwest: Fort Custer

For posting trail-specific conditions and problems

Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby grinder » February 26th, 2014, 1:26 pm

There are no official rules posted...and it would be difficult to segregate all of the users (regular mtn bikes, fatbikes, walkers, snowshoe walkers, dog sledders, cross country skiers, etc.). And the park management does not want a hassle with the multiple users arguing over trail use.

With that being said, other trails systems that groom for fatbikes typically have some general guidelines that they try to adopt for the trail...3.7" or larger tire diameter, 10psi max pressure for tires, no riding of fatbikes if you leave an imprint deeper than 1" in trail, etc.

I am sure that some of the trail would handle a regular mountain bike tire at typical pressures...but currently, in my opinion, at least half of the loop would not be conducive to regular mountain bike tires. You just simply would not be able to ride it (too soft). A fatbike tire has an immense amount of "floatation" that allows those style bikes to ride on somewhat softer surfaces.

I plan on grooming the trails again on Thursday evening...then riding it again soon thereafter (maybe Fri/ Sat). I will post my honest opinion about the practicality of "regular" mountain bike use by the beginning/ mid weekend.

Conditions can vary so much in so little time...with the fresh snow that has fallen (and will continue to fall through Thursday according to forecasts) I really don't think "regular" mountain bikes would have much success until maybe Friday evening or into the weekend...again I will make another post as to the conditions soon.

If anyone does attempt to ride a "regular" mountain bike and notices that they are creating a "rut" or other indentation in the trail surface I would hope that they would turn around and not ruin the trail for other users. It is sort of like the trail etiquette for summer season riding when there is a lot of rain...if the trail is muddy and you are leaving a rut, please get off the trail. I only plead with users about damaging the trail because there has been many many hours put into not only grooming the trails (and the expense of gas, and equipment use) but also in fabricating the equipment needed to groom. Without sounding prude, just use a little common sense and have some respect for the trail surface at any time when riding.

I have been out there with my fatbike intending on riding, but noticed early off that I was rutting the trail, so I turned around quickly and stuck to the asphalt roads in the park to get my ride in. It is up to "us", the trail users, to self-govern ourselves for the betterment of the trail and the sustainability of the trail surface.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby RickPlite » February 26th, 2014, 2:35 pm

grinder wrote:There are no official rules posted...and it would be difficult to segregate all of the users (regular mtn bikes, fatbikes, walkers, snowshoe walkers, dog sledders, cross country skiers, etc.). And the park management does not want a hassle with the multiple users arguing over trail use.

With that being said, other trails systems that groom for fatbikes typically have some general guidelines that they try to adopt for the trail...3.7" or larger tire diameter, 10psi max pressure for tires, no riding of fatbikes if you leave an imprint deeper than 1" in trail, etc.

I am sure that some of the trail would handle a regular mountain bike tire at typical pressures...but currently, in my opinion, at least half of the loop would not be conducive to regular mountain bike tires. You just simply would not be able to ride it (too soft). A fatbike tire has an immense amount of "floatation" that allows those style bikes to ride on somewhat softer surfaces.

I plan on grooming the trails again on Thursday evening...then riding it again soon thereafter (maybe Fri/ Sat). I will post my honest opinion about the practicality of "regular" mountain bike use by the beginning/ mid weekend.

Conditions can vary so much in so little time...with the fresh snow that has fallen (and will continue to fall through Thursday according to forecasts) I really don't think "regular" mountain bikes would have much success until maybe Friday evening or into the weekend...again I will make another post as to the conditions soon.

If anyone does attempt to ride a "regular" mountain bike and notices that they are creating a "rut" or other indentation in the trail surface I would hope that they would turn around and not ruin the trail for other users. It is sort of like the trail etiquette for summer season riding when there is a lot of rain...if the trail is muddy and you are leaving a rut, please get off the trail. I only plead with users about damaging the trail because there has been many many hours put into not only grooming the trails (and the expense of gas, and equipment use) but also in fabricating the equipment needed to groom. Without sounding prude, just use a little common sense and have some respect for the trail surface at any time when riding.

I have been out there with my fatbike intending on riding, but noticed early off that I was rutting the trail, so I turned around quickly and stuck to the asphalt roads in the park to get my ride in. It is up to "us", the trail users, to self-govern ourselves for the betterment of the trail and the sustainability of the trail surface.


amen, nice post
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby dirtjunkie » February 27th, 2014, 10:47 am

Agreed ....great response/post.

The work you guys are doing at the Fort is awesome! Thanks!
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby grinder » February 27th, 2014, 2:10 pm

I am planning on grooming later tonight (5-8pm or so). I am needing the winds to die down a bit...don't want to create a good surface with grooming and have the wind drift snow over it like I never was there.

I am expecting good results for riding starting Friday afternoon (that should allow the trail surface to setup...it can take between 2-12 hours for a surface to setup after a panning or grooming application). Then, if we don't get more snowfall and the wind is not too bad it should provide for a good trail throughout the entire weekend. Fingers crossed for great results soon!
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby grinder » February 27th, 2014, 9:19 pm

I just completed a complete grooming of the entire fatbike trail (finished 8:00pm Thursday 27th). The trail looks amazing...and with the very cold temps I expect the trail to setup firm and be as good as it can get (including the two newer sections).

There was a dogsled and a skier out there, but i was the last one out there so the surface should be really flat. There was an enormous amount of drift snow in the open areas...I stomped that down really good.

Should make for some great fatbike riding over the next few days! If you have a fatbike you need to get out there and enjoy it!!!
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby grinder » February 27th, 2014, 9:26 pm

Image

Pretty view of grooming done Thursday 27th...
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby Green Giant » February 28th, 2014, 6:41 pm

Yet another great afternoon of fat biking out at the Fort today.

My opinion is that I would not attempt it on anything other than a fatbike though, maybe, just maybe something like a 29 x 3 surley knard with the pressure down as absolutely low as you can run it. That said you will still struggle.

But, if you have a fatbike and are wondering if the drive is worth it to the fort - no question. Close to 6 miles of groomed trails depending on how you put together a loop.

Loops will take most riders 30 minutes plus or minus 5 minutes depending on your route and direction I suspect.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby grinder » March 3rd, 2014, 12:06 am

I just completed grooming tonight (Sunday March 2nd). That area got about 4-6 inches of snow...and there was significant drift snow as well. The first 2 passes with the groomer were needed to just remove the top "fluff"...leaving the original harder base behind. With it getting really cold, the trail should set up very good. All sections were groomed 3x tonight. Should be good for the next few days (as long as this snow stops sometime soon???)...Monday the 3rd should be awesome riding!
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby vette-ss » March 5th, 2014, 4:41 pm

Question for experienced snow fat bikers....I just got a fat bike and have only been once. I was planning to get over to Custer this weekend since it appears to be one of the prime trail destinations in southern MI. But looking at the weather forecast, I don't want to wreck the trail. Friday high is 40 with a low of 28. Saturday high is 33. Any opinions on how soft the trail will be Saturday morning since it's barely getting below freezing? Saturday low goes down a bit so maybe it would firm things up again and Sunday morning might be better, assuming it's not all rutted up from the warm weekend. Thoughts? Its about a 2hr drive for me so I'd hate to make the drive and not ride.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby Sortaslow » March 5th, 2014, 5:46 pm

Island lake is good to go I think. That is, of you are worried about risking the long drive.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby vette-ss » March 5th, 2014, 7:06 pm

Yeah, that was my first ride and planning to go there again tomorrow evening. Was looking for a change of scenery, and I love the ride at Custer in the summer.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby glr » March 5th, 2014, 7:12 pm

Jason and crew groomed crooked at pinckney a few days ago..... might be worth checking it out.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby Static_Crash » March 5th, 2014, 9:27 pm

vette-ss wrote:Question for experienced snow fat bikers....I just got a fat bike and have only been once. I was planning to get over to Custer this weekend since it appears to be one of the prime trail destinations in southern MI. But looking at the weather forecast, I don't want to wreck the trail. Friday high is 40 with a low of 28. Saturday high is 33. Any opinions on how soft the trail will be Saturday morning since it's barely getting below freezing? Saturday low goes down a bit so maybe it would firm things up again and Sunday morning might be better, assuming it's not all rutted up from the warm weekend. Thoughts? Its about a 2hr drive for me so I'd hate to make the drive and not ride.


I'm not sure we'll be getting out to groom again this season with the warmer temps coming, so come out and ride while you can. If you're running low enough pressure (5-7psi) then you should be good to roll Saturday or Sunday. I'd check the forum one last time before you head out and even PM me and maybe I can get you some current conditions Saturday.

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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby Green Giant » March 7th, 2014, 8:13 pm

Think I might try to get out real early on Saturday and hope that overnight it freezes back up, but guessing it's soft now.

If I get out, I'll post up.
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Re: Southwest: Fort Custer

Postby dirtjunkie » March 8th, 2014, 2:21 pm

Green Giant wrote:Think I might try to get out real early on Saturday and hope that overnight it freezes back up, but guessing it's soft now.

If I get out, I'll post up.


Please post if you do make it out. Teeter-tottering on going there tomorrow (Sunday), but don't want to head that way if it's soft and easily rutted.
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