You’ve probably been wondering what this fat biking thing is all about. I have been. Maybe you’ve had a friend or two suddenly contract an obsession with riding this silly looking bike with oversized tires all the time, and everywhere. The way it spreads through a community had me worried that it might be contagious.
There’s more than a couple bikers here in our little hometown that seem to relish biking in the worst thinkable conditions. I’ll go months without seeing them biking through town, and then the morning after a storm with 6 inches of slushy snow and standing water on the sidewalks there they are – biking to work it appears. I’d never thought of it before now, but perhaps they only have a two wheel drive car and so their only option on a day like that is to take their one wheel drive bike. Which really makes sense because if you bought one of these bikes you might not be able to afford a car payment anymore.
It was bound to happen to me someday. I couldn’t avoid wondering what the craze was all about. I wrote it off as stupid when I’d see people riding them on the road in the summer. We all know that skinny tires are the way to go there. But on the beach . . . This concept of a wide surface area made a lot of sense. I’d tried beach biking on my mountain bike a few times and it left some things to be desired.
Enter Carl. I’d seen Carl and his wife riding through town on their fat bikes before so I was a bit suspicious of him. He might be another one of these guys that thinks huge tires are cool, completely unaware that skinny tires are so much better on pavement but I later found out they like to bike from their house down to the beach, go for a ride there, then bike home. So I gave him a chance. And I also wanted a little easy unique adventure to shoot for a project I’m working on with Alaskan Brewing Company this year (more on that soon). Fat biking on the beach was a good fit so game on.
It took me about the time from my house to the beach (maybe 3 minutes) to give up my resistance. The first few peddles on the beach and I was hooked, another 50ft and I was ecstatic. I could not believe how fun it was. It was a lot like the first time I tried a stand up paddleboard. From a distance it looks kind of interesting but slightly dumb. Up close you can’t help but be curious. When you try it yourself you are totally amazed how much fun it is. There’s a lot of similarities between fat biking and SUP’ing. They are both things I could easily imagine my parents getting into at 60 as easily as highschool boys. You just can’t help but have fun, you are going new places, doing new things, and you can take it as far as you want. Cruise hard packed flat sand in nice weather, or try a 100 mile expedition on snowmachine trails in winter. Take your SUP out for a sunday paddle in the harbor or charge 30ft waves on it.
I hadn’t planned on writing a lecture on fat biking but hopefully my story will motivate you to give it a try. I doubt you’ll be disappointed. It’s hard to explain the pleasure, and I’ll just say it’s cruisier than I could have imagined and you can easily go places you wouldn’t think possible.
Thanks Carl, that was fun.