Fat Biking

Fat Biking Year-Round

Fat biking is rapidly becoming more than a winter “on-snow” activity, with enthusiasts riding their regular trails and urban areas year-round. Although the majority of riding is still confined to the winter months, more and more “fat-bikers” are finding that their fat bikes are just as much fun dry trails and roads. Look for more information about this growing segment of the mountain biking community in the near future.



QBP’s Fat Bike Summit Strategy for 2016

Quality Bicycle Products has announced that it will be hosting Regional Fat Bike Summits in 2016 rather than a single Global Fat Bike Summit as it held 2012 through 2014. While the focus will remain on winter use of fat bikes, the smaller regional approach will allow a more tailored experience to attendees.

“With variations in who owns public lands, and differences in snow textures and compaction rates, we think it makes sense to partner with existing fat bike races or festivals to host smaller, regionally focused Summits,” explains QBP’s Advocacy Director Gary Sjoquist. “We want to continue to drive fat bike access on behalf of the industry. In the past, Summit content has focused on introducing public land managers to fat bikes (including demo rides), quantifying sales and demographic info of riders, and providing an overview of fat bike singletrack grooming techniques.”  Download the PDF here.



Fat Biking World Summit

Wyoming Pathways was a primary sponsor of the 2015 Global Fat Bike Summit held January 23-25 at the Snow King Resort in Jackson Wyoming.  You can now download and view some of the great presentations from the Summit:

9:00 – 9:45am Welcome, Introductions, Fat Bike 101 – History & Current Use
Gary Sjoquist Presentation – Intro, Fat Bike 101, Demographics Download PowerPoint
Scott Fitzgerald Presentation – 10 Years of Fat Sales in the Tetons Download PowerPoint

9:45 – 10:45am Fat Bike Shared Use & Separate Use
Linda Merigliano, BTNF, Presentation – Shared Use Ethics Download PowerPoint
Wendy Aber Presentation – Durango Bike Co. Download PowerPoint
Candy Fletcher Presentation – Marquette Download PDF

11:00 – 12:00pm Fat Bike Management on Public Lands
John Sullivan Presentation – Harriman State Park, ID Download PowerPoint
Paul Gritten Presentation – Curt Gowdy State Park, WY Download PowerPoint

12:00 – 1:00pm Lunch / Land Manager Awards
Land Manager Award Presentation Download PowerPoint

2:00 – 3:00pm The Next Step – Groomed Singletrack for Fat Bikes
John Gaddo, QBP Presentation – Fat Bike Trail Grooming Download PowerPoint


Fat Biking on Snow

Riding packed snow trails during the winter is still the primary activity for fat bikers. Like many new sports, this one is finding its way, discovering where riding is appropriate and what rules need to be observed. Following is an evolving set of guidelines gleaned from the International Mountain Biking Association. Before you even begin pedaling, make sure biking is permitted by the land manager! Always be courteous to other snow travelers. Below are equipment guidelines for fat bikes that will be primarily ridden on snow.


Wide tires

Deep snow may require tires wider than 3.5 inches. Tire pressure will often be less than 10 PSI. Wider tires allow floatation over the snow, which means you leave ruts less than one inch deep. Wide tires with low pressure provide better traction in snow, allowing better control over your bike.


Fat Biking on Groomed Nordic Trails

• Only ride at ski areas that allow and encourage biking.

• Yield to all other users. Skiers don’t have brakes but you do!

• Ride on the firmest part of the track.

• Do not ride on or in the classic tracks.

• Leave room for skiers to pass (don’t ride side-by-side with all of your buddies blocking the full trail).

• Allow the track time to set up after grooming and before riding.

• Respect alternate-use days for bikers and skiers.

• Be an ambassador for the sport: stay polite, educate other riders, discourage bad behavior and follow the rules.

• Help out and get involved by joining your local Nordic club.

• Consider donating money for trail grooming.


Snomos check out Fat Bike-smallRiding on Snowmobile Trails

• Be visible. When riding on snowmobile trails, use a front white blinker and rear red blinker at all times. Wear reflective material on both the front and rear of your body.

• Stay to the far right of the trail and yield to snowmobiles.

• Know and obey the rules of your local land manager. Understand that some trails may be on private property and might not be open to alternative uses.

• Be prepared. Winter travel in the backcountry requires carrying proper gear and dressing properly. Be self-sufficient!

• Use extreme caution when riding at night. Be visible and use the brightest lights you can find.

• Be friendly. Fat bikers are the newest trail users. Be courteous and open to suggestions from snowmobile riders.

• Help out by supporting your local snowmobile club.

• Consider donating to trail grooming and maintenance efforts.


Riding in the Backcountry

In the right conditions, a fat bike can be the ultimate winter backcountry travel tool. Frozen conditions and minimal snow coverage (1-5 inches) means access to areas that are impassible during the warmer months. But just because you can ride somewhere doesn’t mean you should. Be aware and be prepared.

• Do not trespass. Know whether or not you are on private property. Obey all land manager rules. Some land parcels are closed to bikes whether you are riding on a trail or not.

• Do not ride through sensitive wildlife habitats. This may be especially important on beaches or in places where animals hibernate. Learn about the area you want to ride in before you ride there.

• Do not disturb wildlife. Many species survive on minimal diets during winter. Stressors or the need to move quickly can deplete their energy stores.

• Learn safe ice travel. Riding on frozen water can be extremely dangerous. Is the ice thick enough to support you? Take ice fishing picks and a length of rope when riding on lakes and rivers.

• Understand changing conditions. New snowfall or warming temperatures can make the return trip much more difficult. Tire tracks can be covered, hard snow can turn to slush, rivers can start to melt. Always know the forecast and be aware of how changing conditions might alter the safe passage of your route.

• Be prepared. Carry provisions in case you have to stay out longer than planned.

• Let people know. Make sure someone else knows where you are going, when you left and when you expect to return.

• Learn to share. Be aware that your tracks might attract other riders.

• Understand that “your” route might not remain a secret for long.