why fat bikes?
Strong is sexy. Roll Fat. Roll Strong.
Fat bikes aren’t fast, but they are fun — and perfect for exploring the rugged, wide-open spaces of Wyoming and the West.
The short of it is that I hate winter but I try to make the best of things by cross-country skiing in the foothills near my home.
But I am a mountain biker at heart and spend the winter dreaming of dirt. I discovered fat bikes at the West Yellowstone Equinox Challenge endurance event when the course was opened in 2012 to “snow” bikes – which is what they were called back then.
I left my skis in the back of my truck and spent the next 12 hours riding (and falling) in every conceivable snow condition on a Surly Pugsley named Mabel. I was giddy that there were BIKES that you can ride on in the SNOW!
Back at home, there was only one bike shop that had a fat bike for rent, in size large.
I didn’t think it was practical to buy one just yet… did I mention I hate the cold? I also have a tough time keeping hands and feet warm. But once I bought a pair of battery-powered heated gloves I started riding in earnest.
I begged, borrowed and stole time on friends’ fat bikes until I finally bit the bullet and bought a used Salsa Mukluk. When summer rolled around I still found myself reaching for my fattie, leaving my 27.5 full suspension bike to gather dust in the garage.
My current fattie is a carbon Salsa Mukluk. I also have a hand-me-down single-speed Surly cross-check that I ride on gravel, road and single track. Lately my son has commandeered it so I bought a Surly Midnight Special so I can be fat while riding skinny.
I adore all my bikes, but my fat bike is my favorite child. In a place like Wyoming I find myself following a cattle trail through the sagebrush in the summer or riding snowy single track in the winter. The tribe of people who roll fat are especially cool humans. It seems like riding fat bikes is more a way of life than just turning the cranks.