Take the case of cycling in the winter. It’s going to be cold. And snowy. And icy. And dark. And rainy. And miserable. Most cyclists will tell you that riding in the winter is hard work. But there’s a better way to ride in winter. A way that’s easier on your joints, more comfortable, and safer.
It’s called fat biking. So, what is fat biking? It’s essentially riding a mountain bike on fat tires. That way, you can take on more rugged terrain than normal. While maintaining traction. In fact, fat biking is one of the most popular forms of off-road cycling. With over 2 million people around the world participating in some form of fat biking each year. And it’s only growing. In fact, there are entire YouTube channels dedicated to fat biking. Here’s a video that outlines some of the basics of winter cycling:
And it’s not just for snow and ice. Fat biking is getting more popular year round. Even in the summer, you can find people riding fat bikes around the world.
What are fat tires?
Fat tires are simply wide tires. Most mountain bike tires are 1.5-2 inches wide. But fat tires are 3-6 inches wide. Why the size difference? Mountain bike tires have to be able to handle rocks and roots. So they’re stiff. Which makes them good at going over hard surfaces.
Fat tires are tires with extra-thick treads. The idea behind fat tires is that the extra-thick tread provides more traction in mud and wet conditions. While most tires have a thin layer of rubber on the ground-contacting surface, fat tires have an additional layer of tread that’s 1.5 to 2 times thicker. The downside of fat tires is that they wear down much faster than normal tires. Depending on the type of terrain, you can expect a 40% or more reduction in tread life when you switch to fat tires.
So, you want to try fat biking? Great! Here are some things to keep in mind as you get started:
Fat tire bikes give you more confidence to ride because their fat tires make them more stable. If you haven’t ridden a bike in a long time, have balance issues, or you're not a spring chicken anymore…. Riding a fat tire will put you on the trails with a smile on your face.
There’s no reason to quit riding just because it’s cold out. Find an opportunity to get on your bike and you’ll feel better about yourself.