Fat biking; have you tried?

by Genevieve Baril

Fat biking is back. I say back, because, it ain’t new! Many years ago, in sub-artic Alaska, people were enjoying that sport that has now been brought back to life in the last few years…It also gets his utility in the desert, which opens more horizons for mountain bikers.

How to be a perfect mountain biker?  I bet all of you have seen that video. Well, I recognized myself in many slides of this amusing clip. But it was missing something.   As well as owning a road bike, cyclocross, XC bike, enduro bike, DH bike, dirtjump bike, BMX bike, a “perfect” mountain biker  (living out east !) should likely own…… A fat bike!

Yes there is a fever running about it right now, there must be a reason for it, right? Let’s see what this is all about.

A few years ago, some of my friends introduced me to this ginormous dinosaur looking bike, apparently designed to ride on ice and snow: right…you see me a little skeptical here. This is never gonna be as fun as “normal” biking?

Plus “it is a hardtail” (love XC racer’s :-p).

East coast winter’s conditions have been pretty erratic in the last few years.  Because of the extreme conditions: ice, extreme cold, rewarming, too much snow, It has rarely been an option to bike around here in the winter (exceptions made!!). Spin class, tacx, and cross training it was…Despite my reserves about the dinobike,  I wasn’t hard to convince to get into the trend and try it. And I loved it!

Those big tires are very forgiving and are so bouncy that they are acting as your suspension. The first models out were not very performance oriented, and very basic hardtails.  In the last year, the technology combined with that fast spreading fever has been pushing many brand to design higher performance fat bikes ( carbon, suspensions, more geometry choices). It is getting more and more interesting, mostly for those who aim specific outdoors training time during our hard winter!

fat bike 2

I have personally been enjoying it more lately. It is such a good training relating it to riding slippery conditions in the summer. Very good for your skidding skills, cornering, pushing the limit of leaning your bike, and, most of all, NO BRAKES! It is the key of fat biking if you do it on icy conditions. Girls, this is VERY good training for letting go of the brakes! The workout is good as well, being somewhat harder than a “normal” mountain bike ride. That said, it means you need less steep and easier terrain to make it a worthwhile workout for your schedule!

Fat biking has been revolutionary ( to me at least) ! This year, the province of Quebec has been hosting The Fat Bike Tour which has been gathering a good lot of bikers, I bet the most passionate, those who want to ride their bike year round!

Coaticook started the tour with his lot of demos for bike lover’s to try. Friendly enduro race, hot chocolate and comfort food were part of the day. Followed by the well known city of Bromont, “le jour de la Marmotte” gathered his share of bikers and racers as well!

2019 olympics will “demo” fat biking as a potential future discipline.

I discovered a new way to do some bike training in the winter, beside my tacx, spin and cross training. Stoked and sharing the love!!