The sea ice at Davis has to be one of its best attractions. Sure it’s fun to take advantage of motorised methods of transport with their fancy heaters and comforts. But what about those that provide more mechanical advantage than walking, like skiing or mountain bike riding?
This was a discussion that Jason D & I (Graham) had been having for a while, so after we found a weekend where we were both free we decided to just go for it. Brookes Hut is the closest to station, approximately 17km, so for our first trip we decided that this was our best choice. However it was still undecided should we ride or ski, both would be fun.
We managed to recruit another expeditioner, Chris to join the team. He however was less keen on the idea of 34km ski or ride, so he opted to be our quad support vehicle. This was awesome for us, as he could tow a trailer and take our field packs and all the other important stuff like food, so we didn’t have to carry it.
In the end it was the weather decided for us, with not enough snow cover mountain bikes were the way to go. The weather was good when we set off. Winds about 5 to 10 knots which on the way there was always going to be a head wind.
Our fatboy bikes were equipped with chains to give us more grip on the ice. Ice with a light snow cover was nice to ride on and looked quite picturesque. Dirty ice however didn’t look as pretty but with no snow it provided less resistance and was very nice to ride on.
For about 75 per cent of our trip we managed to traverse on snow and dirty ice, however there were large sections of uncovered ice. This looks quite nice, you can see different shades of blue and air bubbles that have been trapped but it’s very slippery, way too slippery to ride on. So we donned our micro spikes and pushed our trusty steeds. Chris on the other hand didn’t need micro spikes and I’m sure his heated hand grips were very nice.
We made it to Brookes in good time, by having Chris’ trailer we could bring all the comforts from home, fresh clothes, lots of cheese and bickies, hut booties and board games. Jason taught us the finer points of ‘Unexploded Cow’ and there were a few rounds of Monopoly Deal and of course our favourite Batman Love Letters.
The next day’s trip home was much easier, rather than trying to ride on the nice looking ice we knew we had to just walk. We were also better at picking our course and with the wind behind us, it made for better riding conditions.
By Graham — Electrician.