Some go to the gym, others ...well, don't. While some just head outside and walk, or jog, you don't see too many on bikes at this time of year.

Former runner and triathlete, Jason Stewart, stays fit and active all winter long, cycling on trails around Weyburn and beyond. In fact, on Wednesday, he cycled around Moose Mountain Provincial Park, which is one of his favourite places to ride his "fat bike".

(Yes, it was very cold on Wednesday.)

"The fat bike is a Canadian Tire bike that I bought for 400 bucks. I'm a father of six, I've got a budget, so," he shared. "But I've upgraded all all the components to it and the wheels, the gear rings, the shifters, everything."

fat bike

Stewart said the most important element is the tires. 

"You can get a cheap bike and make it. But you can't have cheap tires. So the tires are actually worth more than the bike. They were 300 bucks apiece," he told. "And that is the key to not falling and being able to get through quite a bit. They're studded tires, so when we ride on ice, which is usually a problem but not this year, you're not sliding out and I kind of crashed a few times before I got the studs."

"Every winter is a little different. Some of them the river is very full of snow like this one, and some of them there's barely any, and you gotta watch for rocks."

"I ride the year round out on the trail, and I actually ride on the mountain bike trails year round," he said, adding this is his fifth winter doing so. Previously, he had a track for his outdoor bike to be used indoors.

"I just couldn't ride inside anymore, no matter how many videos, no matter how many things I did, I just couldn't do it anymore, I was done so I sold that and then I turned around and bought the fat bike and I've been making upgrades to the fat bike ever since," shared Stewart.

Prior to the indoor bike, he was cross-training.

"In high school I was a track and field athlete in Weyburn here, I ran track and field in high school and I ran it cross country in college, too. I ran half marathons right out of school. So it was always running. But the injuries started to pile up, because the thing is, if you don't have a perfect stride, the injuries will pile up and they did. They started to, and it doesn't mean I couldn't run an hour and a half half marathon. I just started to get beat up. I was running myself to pieces, so I started transitioning to triathlon and I did two half Ironman, then a bunch of smaller triathlons. And then from there I just kept riding my bike and then transitioned almost away from running. I very rarely run now, it's mostly cycling."

"Since I've been 12 years old, when I discovered I could run faster than everybody else at a distance, I've always tried to do something and maintain some sort of level of physical shape," he shared. "I don't mean that I'm like a perfect physical specimen, because I'm not. I just gotta keep doing it because I'll get really big if I don't, I figure, so I keep doing it."

Stewart said last year he rode a little over 3200 kilometers.

"I'm hoping that it'll probably break that this year because I'm riding more consistently, though, in the winter you don't ride as long kilometers, because you're going so much slower, you're going 10 to 12 1/2 KPH, maybe 13 on the fat bike on the gravel mountain bike you're looking at anywhere from 15 to 19 depending on the terrain and the and the roads, and on a road bike I can hold 30 to 32 pretty easily."

He said he's been riding on the river locally, but this is more snow than he has seen since he's been doing this. 

night cycling

Spending sometimes four to five hours some days at Moose Mountain Provincial Park, he said he has come across some wildlife along the way.

"I saw a moose once, fat biking, actually, he just popped up out of nowhere and I came with I had to literally jump off my bike," he told. "As far as other animals, you have moose and deer, but you just get out into some of those isolated areas of the park, and I know the park very well, and all the spots, ins and outs, how to get to many of the places. There's not too many places I haven't been in that park now and I know a lot of the roads I can get down and can't get down. It's a real beautiful place and we're blessed to have it only an hour from us."

He said his wife Shawna is able to track his cell phone just in case he ever stops moving, and he carries extra battery packs with him at all times, which helps, because he's got heated insoles connected to his phone.

For anyone else interested in cycling in winter, Stewart highly recommends a good pair of boots, and it's all trial and error.

He noted you'll only ever underdress once, before you get it.