It was ‘Global Fat Bike Day’ at the weekend. I’m not entirely sure what I should have been doing with a fat bike on Global Fat Bike Day but it was a good excuse to borrow one from Rich and Shona at Keep Pedalling, Manchester’s foremost purveyors of unusual, cool and epic machinery 🙂
As luck would have it Rich has just finished building a custom Salsa Mukluk. Hope Fat Hubs, lightweight (yes, LIGHTWEIGHT) Surly Marge Lite rims, some XTR bits and bobs. For a bike with 4 inch-wide tyres it’s surprisingly light and nimble and I had no worries about taking it out for an extended ride. I even did some ‘proper training’ on it.
A lack of time on the actual Fat Bike Day meant that I nipped out for just a couple of hours on local trails – the bike attracted the usual, almost disbelieving stares from other riders and people out walking. The only downside was that the recent rain had left the trails quite wet and while the tyres (Surly Knard 3.8 at the front and a 4.0 Endomorph at the back) didn’t struggle for traction and grip, rubber as wide as that can produce a shower of water quite unlike any other bicycle. It really is like sitting on a muck spreader sometimes. At least it keeps you cool 😉
I had a bigger ride planned for Sunday so I decided I’d have a Global Fat Bike Weekend and drag it out a bit. I headed for the hills for a few hours and while I stopped a couple of times to fix punctures after an encounter with a sea of hawthorns, the bike was brilliant for a big ride. You really don’t need a beach or a snowy climate for these bikes to make sense.
The level of comfort and amount of traction on loose surfaces is remarkable and I’m always surprised at how well every fatbike I’ve ever ridden accelerates and maintains momentum. Of course, inflating a tyre after you’ve replaced a tube can take a while longer than with ‘normal’ bikes but it’s not too bad if you’ve got a decent pump and I’ve not even bothered experimenting with tubeless (although I’m sure that’s a development that can’t be too far away) but these are small problems when you consider the actual amount of fun and enjoyment you can get from a ride bike like this.
I need to find some races and think of some really long rides so that I can borrow this bike again….