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Why YOU Need a Fatbike

October 24, 2016

Winter is coming.

And while that may be a bad thing for people who play games on thrones, it’s not a bad thing for people who play bikes. Not bad? Pfft. It’s awesome.

It’s awesome because for many cyclists, the coming of winter used to mean the end of the riding season: No more single track; no more Saturday morning group rides; no more weekend races or midweek series; and no more general biking awesomeness to soothe our restless souls.

But now, thanks to the magic of a gigantically wide fork that holds a super squishy tire, the upcoming blanket of snow means the start the fatbike season. Woot woot.

You see while we may not have been on the trails in past winters, the trails were still out there. They just under a blanket of snow and not very fun on our regular MTB tires. Yeah, the sweet single track, the same climbs, and the same trees were all out there, longing for us, pining for us (especially the trees–see what I did there) but they just weren’t possible until a fatbike came strutting its stuff into our local bike shops.

Yes, I know, for people who already have a fatbike, they’re awesome any time of year, but they’re especially awesome when there’s snow. It’s a proven fact.

By the way, for anyone who hasn’t been in a bike shop lately (or for roadies) a fatbike is:

“…a bike with tires that are 3.8” wide (or wider), and rims that are at least 2.6” wide. They are designed for riding on soft unstable terrain, such as SNOW, sand, bogs and mud… “

Thank you Wikipedia.

What, you don’t have one yet? Well, here’s the reason why you should buy a fatbike right now: Um, can ride a bike any day, any where, in any condition. That is all.


2016 2 Frozen Beaver 2016

Need another reason? See this sweet picture  (The one taken by Ted Anderton of Apex Race Photography). See the smile. Yup, awesome.


However, if you want an official Top Ten List of reasons. Here it is:

Top Ten Reasons Why YOU Need a Fatbike

  1. Fatbikes are faster than you think. Seriously, fatbikes are wickedly, surprisingly, fast.
  2. Fatbikes are funner than you think. Seriously, fatbikes are wickedly, surprisingly, fun. Riding a fatbike is as close to being a kid as you can get. Giant tires. Bouncy ride. Big mittens. Snot everywhere. The only thing missing is a Gilligan’s Island lunch box (with matching “L’il Buddy” thermos, natch), a PB&J sandwich, and a glass of milk.
  3. Fatbikes look really cool. Since they’re so new, you get to be the center of attention everywhere you ride. People will stop in their tracks to ogle your beefy tires and massive forks, and bask in your general awesomeness for riding such a boss looking bike.
  4. Fatbiking is an awesomely huge challenge. Riding in the snow is a great way to push your riding style. Aside from the constantly changing trail conditions—which will actually change quite drastically during your ride—the technique required is pretty significant, and that’s a cool thing. Cornering, weight distribution, climbing, descending. They’re all different. Own it. And even though you can ride anywhere and don’t really need a groomed trail, as the sport becomes more popular, many trail centres are grooming trails especially for fatbikes. Sweet.
  5. Fatbiking is more fun than cross country skiing. Okay, maybe it’s not, but at least you won’t need a different roof rack. Wait, I take that retraction back. It’s way more fun!
  6. When you dress for fatbiking, NO MORE CRAMMING YOUR BODY INTO A SPANDEX KIT. Trust me, this is a good thing for all of the people who have to look at us wearing our riding kits. Or maybe it’s just a good thing for the people whose eyes happen to fall on me in my kit. Sorry people.
  7. When you fatbike, all of that winter food that you’ve been jamming down your gullet now has a way to get burned off. So eat the whole bag of Doritos. Double up on the poutine. Cheese? Yes please.
  8. When you ride a fatbike through the winter, you get to keep riding an actual bike, instead of sitting on a spin bike or rollers in your basement or gym, pedalling like crazy to get nowhere. (I’m kidding, that’s not fair to say. On a spin bike, you don’t travel nowhere. You travel from a room with a dry floor, to a room with a floor splotted with your sweat drops.)
  9. You know Monday mornings, when everyone gets to work, and talks about the game they watched, or the roast they ate, or the movie they went to see? Not you. Nope, you get to say “Yeah, I went for a bike ride. Mm hm. On my bike. Yeah, it was cold and snowing, but, you know, I’m pretty boss, so I rode. Oh, you stayed in, did you….”. If you have a mic, this is a good time to drop it.
  10. Crashing in the snow is awesome. It doesn’t hurt as much as dirt because snow is usually softer, you give yourself a sweet self-inflicted snow job, and then you get to look like a drunken infant as you bum your way out of the two feet of snow that lines the trail. You’ll laugh so hard. And so will anyone who is watching. Which brings me to the final reason…
  11. The people who ride fatbikes are statistically proven to be way cooler, more awesomer, and just plain radder than people who don’t. True fact.

That was 11 reasons. Yeah, fatbikes are just too awesome for 10 reasons. 11 awsome reasons why you need a fatbike, and 11 awesome reasons why fatbiking is awesome.

So you see, while the coming of winter used to mean that our bodies could spend a few months recuperating before the spring season, or letting the poison ivy in our blood stream take a break, it also meant storing our bikes for the winter, and starting our off-season exercise regimes, which typically included competitive sweater wearing, solo cookie eating contests, and a weekly series of weight gains, body flab increases, and missing our bike(s) like the desert misses the rain(s), but it’s almost 2017, and all those things are in the past. Fatbiking, baby. Boom.

Now that I’ve convinced you to buy a fatbike (What, you needed 12 reasons?), it’s probably time to check out your local fatbike scene. We’re lucky in Ontario because we have a fatbike race series. Yeah, a fatbike race series. In its second year, The 45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Race Series, presented by Substance Projects and Cycle Solutions, has 5 races scheduled from December to February. You can’t beat that. For someone like me, it’s great to have the opportunity to race poorly in the spring, summer, fall AND now the winter. Also, riding alone in the summer is okay, but in the winter, with shorter days that get dark way to early, it could be a problem if you crash. While crashing in the snow is less hurty, a bad crash could mean being alone…in the woods…in the dark woods..trying to shuffle back to the trail head…alone…for help. Be safe and ride with a friend. Better yet, ride with a bunch of friends at a fatbike race.

And there are fatbike clubs and race series everywhere. Use the Googler to find one!

Before I finish. There is a good deal of debate online about whether it’s a “fat bike”, a “fatbike”, or a “fat-bike”, and it’s time someone made the call. Team Colin is using “fatbike”. There’s no separation of the word fat like there is in “Fat Bike”, and no unnecessary hyphen like there is in “Fat-Bike” (unless you like that sort of thing). Plus, fatbike is a cool new word—just like the sport!

One word or two, hyphen or not, whatever you choose to call it, there’s only one word needed to describe fatbiking: AWESOME.



My name is Colin. I'm 44. I'm a father, teacher, husband, and rider. I race my Norco Revolver 9.1, or my single speed Cannondale Trail SL as often as I can. The podium is out of reach for me, but that's okay because I'm the happiest of Clydesdales (250 pounds, and that's okay too). I also write a blog (teamcolinblog.wordpress.com).


  1. Team Colin is having a contest. Without exaggerating, it may be the coolest contest ever in the history of anything to do with cycling. Okay, maybe it’s exaggerating a little bit. Okay, a lot. Fine, it’s not even cool, but the winner gets a free registration to the first race in the 45NRTH Ontario Fatbike Race Series (plus a few other sweet things). After you’ve read EVERYTHING on the Riding Feels Good site, and visited all of the pages (FEATURES, FORUM, PHOTO, REVIEWS, TRAILS, SHOP, and CLASSIFIEDS), go to TeamColinBlog.wordpress.com for more information.

  2. I’ve got a Reason 12: The bears are asleep. When you ride through trails in the spring, summer and fall, black bears are still around, foraging for food and unpleasant encounters can have you pedalling faster than you really wanted. But in winter the bears are hibernating making fat biking not only more cooler but also way more safer too.

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