Why You Should Try Fat Biking This Winter

At Roofnest, we say there’s no bad time of the year for outdoor adventure. Hot or cold, rain or shine, we want to get outside and explore.

In the winter, that means skiing, snowboarding, ice climbing, snowshoeing, and more. One thing you might not think about doing in the winter, though, is hopping on your bike.

But just because the snow is here doesn’t mean you have to pack up your ride for the season. It just means it’s time to say hello to fat biking.

What is Fat Biking?

Whether you’re a hardcore biking fanatic or looking for a new family-friendly activity to keep you and the troops outside all winter long, fat biking is the way to keep riding no matter how much snow is on the ground.

Think of it like off-roading, but instead of a big truck, you can do it on a bike.

Fat bikes were first developed in the 80’s, but people have been using fat tires to navigate tough terrain, sand, and snow for over 100 years.

The modern version of the bike was first made to help bicyclists ride across the sand in the Sahara. It didn’t take long for bike builders in Alaska to realize the same idea could work for their snowy climate.

Since then, the popularity of these bikes has just kept growing.

The “fat” in fat bike refers to the tires — they’re wide, usually 3.8”or bigger, and their diameter is bigger than your typical bike tire. And they’re kept at a much lower pressure than a normal mountain bicycle tire, which gives the bike the ability to absorb more extreme terrain and to ride easily over soft snow, sand, and mud.

The design allows you to get traction on off-road trails, even ones covered in ice and deep snow.

Riding a fat bike is a lot like riding a normal mountain bike, but it can take a bit of getting used to when it comes riding on snow-packed trails.

The good news is that if you crash, it’ll hopefully be in a nice fluffy pile of snow. That being said, you should definitely still wear a helmet when fat biking, especially with little ones.

Is Fat Biking Fun?

Heck yes, fat biking is fun!

Some of the best things about fat biking are:

  • Allows you to explore non-paved bike trails no matter what the weather
  • It’s great on sand and other soft ground — especially snow.
  • It’s a killer workout — you can burn 1,500 calories an hour (better eat a big breakfast)
  • The low PSI makes it feel a little bit like flying
  • The super-wide tires make for an extra comfortable ride
  • Fat bikes are a good option for commuting in winter
  • You can use them on any terrain (even paved trails), but they require you to work harder — which means you get a better work out
  • Kids can fat bike, too — you just have to get a fat bike made for kids
  • You don’t have to invest in one right off the bat. Lots of places rent fat bikes, so you can try it out without dropping big bucks — here’s a guide to fat bike rental locations in Colorado »

Where Can You Fat Bike in Colorado?

Roofnest is proud to call Colorado home. And while we may be a little biased when we say it’s the best place in the world for outdoor adventure, can you really say we’re wrong?

The Rocky Mountains are the ultimate playground for avid explorers, and they also absolutely slay when it comes to fat biking. From Steamboat Springs and Winter Park to Breckenridge in Summit County, if it’s in the Rockies, it’s perfect for a fat bike.

Some places to try your hand at fat biking in Colorado include:

That’s just a shortlist of some good fat biking spots that are accessible for riders of all ski levels.

Here’s a list of even more Nordic centers in Colorado »

If you want to get a bit more extreme, then you can shoot for pretty much any mountain bike trail in Colorado. The MTB Project has an absurdly complete directory of your options here »

Can Kids Ride Fat Bikes?

Fat bikes are not just for adults — any kid who can ride a normal bike can ride a fat bike. There are now a bunch of great fat bikes made specifically for children.

We’d suggest starting them off on a trail or sidewalk with just a few inches of fresh snow so they can get used to the feel of the fat bike. Then, when they’re ready, they can graduate to the real thing. And as always, make sure they’re wearing a helmet!

Where Can You Rent a Fat Bike in Colorado?

Many of the above nordic centers rent out fat bikes. You’ll also find them at certain bike shops and outdoor gear rental companies.

Here are a handful of good places to rent a fat bike in Colorado:

Keep Exploring with a Roofnest

 

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At the end of an epic day of fat biking, you could pack up and head home. Or you could keep the party going with a Roofnest hard shell roof top tent.

With a Roofnest, you can camp out right on the top of your car, wherever you are. Even in the winter.

Read our guide on how to cold weather camp in a Roofnest »

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