It’s said the first fatbike (or fat bike), using Michelin fat tire prototypes, was ridden in the Sahara in 1986. A year or so later, mountain bikes were being customized by Simon Rakower in Fairbanks, Alaska. The SnowCat rim – much wider than conventional bicycle wheel rims – took hold and winter cycling gained a lot more traction! So wide tires, tires 4” or wider, are just the ticket for riding in unstable, soft terrain. Even the tire pressure is much less, 8-10 psi, for these behemoths. Where there’s snow, there’s fat biking activities… so there is fat biking in Truckee & Tahoe!
Tahoe, along with several other similar areas, has its own Fat Tire Festival. The second weekend in September every year, you’ll find events centered on mountain bike races, single track rides, clinics, and more. This particular event raises money in support of the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA). To keep informed of the 2015 Tahoe event, you’ll want to bookmark this website: http://tahoetopia.com/event/tahoe-fat-tire-festival-0. To get the lowdown on the fat bike phenomena, there’s a dated but relevant article from GearJunkie that you can read by clicking this link. The main points covered in the article include:
- One of the early well-known manufacturers of the fat bike was Minnesota’s Surly Bikes
- Very wide rims, extra-large tires, and ‘weird’ frame configurations make a fat bike … fat
- The fat bike phenomenon has gained a lot of traction since 2012
- Fat tires allow an amazing grip on soft surfaces; lots of squish
You can wait until the fall for some fat biking experiences, or you can experience this kind of ride just about any day of the week. Fatbike MTB Tours, in Lake Tahoe, offer you a kick at the fat bike tires for $90 per person. A minimum of two people are required, so you and your friend(s) can enjoy a 6 – 10 mile, guided trail ride in the morning or afternoon of your choice. Trail snacks are provided!
Want your own fat bike? The original Pugsley, still made by Surly, would run you about $1700 these days.