Tag Archives: Fat bikes

Family fun on the Red Jacket Trail, in Mankato MN, getting the fat bike legs ready for winter activities on the calendar planned.

Bike Pic Nov 30, getting the fat bike legs ready for winter activities

Family fun on the Red Jacket Trail, in Mankato MN, getting the fat bike legs ready for winter activities on the calendar planned.

What better way to continue your 2017 riding season fun and to plan your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the great ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of the HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Fat Bike Legs’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions before heading out

Bike Pic Aug 29, many trails are drying, check before mountain biking

Tuesday morning and this mountain biking chick finds a dry trail to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be open after all the rain, the last couple days.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Biking’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

It’s that time of the year to plan a trip to the Minnesota State Fair. What better way to go to the "Great Minnesota Get Together" then by riding your bike.

Larger bike corrals relieves the hassle-factor going to Minnesota State Fair

It’s that time of the year again, planning a trip to the Minnesota State Fair, in St Paul, MN.

What better way to go to the “Great Minnesota Get Together” then by riding your bike. Riding from home or parking a few miles away and multi-modal commuting can take a lot of the hassle factor out of visiting the fair. It is also a great way to burn-off those extra calories from all of the fun things to eat on the stick. While visiting this years fair, here are several interesting bicycle related things we found that you may want to check out.

Your bike can be a hassle -free way to get to the Minnesota State Fair

It is probably the fastest and most inexpensive way to get to the fair, riding your bike. If you don’t live in the area, a multi modal commute is another fun option. Drive your car, with your bike(s) along and park it in one of the St Paul neighborhoods, close by. Then bike in on one of the city’s designated bike routes. Use this St Paul map along with Google Maps, to plan your route to get to the fair.

Riding your bike is probably the fastest way to get to the fair.

Riding your bike is probably the fastest way to get to the fair.

Planning on riding your bike to the fair? From On August 24th, through Labor Day, August 4, cyclists who commute by a pedal bike to the fair, from 6 a.m. to midnight, each day you will find three secure bike locations. They are located at:

South Bike Lot: Como-Snelling Gate (#6) A popular location, this bike corral has added 100 addition spot for daily bike paring here.

North Bike Lot: Hoyt-Snelling Gate (#2)

West Bike Lot: Randall Ave-Buford Gate (#16)

See more info here.

Another option are the free shuttle buses to et to the fair.

Another option is to take one of the free shuttle buses from a satellite parking lot.

 

Bike related things to do and see at the Minnesota State Fair

The lighted spurs clip to your shoes so you are more visible when riding your bike.

The lighted spurs clip to your shoes so you are more visible when riding your bike.

Now that you are there, walking around here are some ideas of what you might like to see. Need some lights to lite up your bike shoes for more visability at night;  Maybe a new Minnesota Bike Map from MnDOT; or the latest on e-Fat Bikes? It all at the Minnesota State Fair.

Pick up one of the last few 2017 guides at the DNR Info Center.

Pick up one of the last few 2017 bike guides at the DNR Info Center.

For the newest gizmo in bike safety and awareness, check out the clip on safety lights for your shoes while biking, See them in a booth under the Grand Stand. Need a new Minnesota Bike Map? You will find a paper copy, free of charge, right below the big bike hanging from the ceiling in the Eco Building. Want to learn more about e-fat bikes. See a full line up of fat bikes with electric assist capabilities from Team Fat Bike. You can also fin the latest copy of the Minnesota Bike Guide and AAA Roadside Service maps at the DNR Building.

In the Creative Activities Building we found this clock. Congratulation Brad Kacter, from Shoreview, MN.

In the Creative Activities Building we found this clock. Congratulation Brad Kacter, from Shoreview, MN.

 

In the Ag-Horticulture Building we found this grain art piece. Congratulation Darlene Thorud, of Bloomington, MN.

In the Ag-Horticulture Building we found this grain art piece. Congratulation Darlene Thorud, of Bloomington, MN.

Interested in fat biking?

A few of Team Fat Bikes models at the Minnesota State Fair

A few of Team Fat Bikes models at the Minnesota State Fair

Located in the Ramberg Senior Center, (up from the Haunted House on Underwood Street and across from the Ag Building) you will find out what Team Fat Bike is all about. Visit there brightly colored e-bike assisted models on display at the fair. From folding bikes, beach cruisers, mountain extreme bikes, classic step-threw and more you will see. All secure with the grip of fat tires. Their bikes are equipped with front and rear disk brakes, LED lights and lithium batteries connected to a e-assist motor. Check them out, they may be a little easier to pedal and more fun!

Like parades?

Each day at 2 p.m. on Cosgrove Street you can watch the Minnesota State Fair Parade. If you are lucky you might see the Twin Cities Unicyclists Club preforming.  These single wheeled bicyclists always do some fun tricks as they pedal along the parade route. Besides the cyclists, you will see many different floats and marching bands. As the parade ends near the Eco Progress Center you can check out the “Life on a Bike Simulator” that’s right inside.

 

World’s biggest bike and activities within the Eco Progress Center

CHECK THE LATEST IN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY EXHIBITS IN THE ECO PROGRESS CENTER.

CHECK THE LATEST IN ENVIRONMENTALLY FRIENDLY EXHIBITS IN THE ECO PROGRESS CENTER.

Also, within the Eco Building check out the coalition of state agencies and private organizations whose goal is to get more people on bikes more often in Minnesota. Also check out the new Kick Gas exhibit with the “World’s Biggest Bike” hanging from the ceiling.  You can hop onto a regular bike on the ground below, pedal and watch the gigantic 8-foot bike wheels turn above you.  Also learn what you can do with all the extra t-shirts you have been accumulating and make grocery bags out of them. See more on the Eco buildings schedule and opportunities here. While there enjoy a sample of the latest coffee  or tea at the Peace Coffee station.

 

Like action biking stunts?

Up in the X-Zone, on Machinery Hill; watch some The Ride Factory preform some high-rising stunts right in front of you on the amazing exhibition course there.

Watch the Ride Factory preform some high-rising stunts right in front of you.

Watch the Ride Factory preform some high-rising stunts right in front of you.

Fun foods at the Minnesota State Fair to try

A favorite MN Fair food, the Tipsy Pie made with caramelized onions, gouda cheese and infused with brown ale.

A favorite MN Fair food, the Tipsy Pie made with caramelized onions, gouda cheese and infused with brown ale.

Every year there are many fun and wacky foods entrees to try at the fair. This year is no exception looking at this list. Item that caught my attention that I might have to taste included: the Bacon Fluffernutter (say that ten times), the tripple truffel trooter, Memphis Tochos and a cup of maple cream nitro cold press coffee for starters.

New Minnesota State Fair App

Download the Minnesota State Fair App. It’s absolutely free and features their famous Food Finder, Fun Finder and Merch Search tools to help you find your favorites at The Great Minnesota Get-Together. Available now absolutely free at the Apple App Store or Google Play store.

Hope this helps you for next visit to the Minnesota State Fair. If we missed something you may have discovered? Please let us know, we would like to add it to this preview article. Please leave a comment below.

Thanks and Have Fun!

I am happy to say that Sealskinz recently sent us a care package of product right in time for winter. Take a look for details on the Super Thin Pro Socks.

Bike Pic Aug 19, many mountain bike trails are closed, check first!

Saturday morning and this mountain bike rider finds a dry trail along the Minnesota River bottoms in Bloomington MN. to enjoy. In Minnesota, check MORC trail conditions to see which trail systems may be open after all the rain, the last couple days.

What better way to continue your summer fun and your #NextBikeAdventure. View all the fun ideas and bike destinations in the latest Minnesota Bike/Hike Guide. Then plan your next outing with family and friends in one of Minnesota’s HaveFunBiking Destinations.

Thanks for Viewing Our ‘Mountain Bike Skills’ Pic of the Day  

We are now rolling into our 10th year as a bike tourism media. As we pedal forward our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike and have fun while we highlight all the unforgettable places for you to ride. As we continue to showcase more places to have fun, we hope the photos we shoot are worth a grin. Enjoy the information and stories we have posted as you scroll through.

Do you have a fun bicycle related photo of yourself or someone you may know that we should post? If so, please send your picture(s) to: [email protected]. Include a brief caption (for each) of who is in the photo (if you know) and where the picture was taken. Photo(s) should be a minimum of 1,000 pixels wide or larger to be considered. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As we continue to encourage more people to bike, please view our Destination section at HaveFunBiking.com for your #NextBikeAdventure – Also, check out the MN Bike Guide, now mobile friendly, as we enter into our 8th year of producing this hand information booklet full of maps.

Remember, bookmark HaveFunBiking.com on your cell phone and find your next adventure at your fingertips! Please share our pics with your friends and don’t forget to smile. We may be around the corner with one of our cameras ready to document your next cameo apperance while you are riding and having fun. You could be in one of our next Pic’s of the Day.

Have a great day!

Minnesota River bottoms, Bloomington’s natural trail network

John Brown, HaveFunBiking.com

In the summer of 1849, The first Bloomington Ferry began operations next to the Minnesota River bottoms. It carried people from the Bloomington shores to Shakopee. Exactly 40 years later, the first Bloomington Ferry Bridge was opened. Following that, versions of that bridge carried people, carriages, and motorists across the river for over 100 years. The current pedestrian bridge is a beautiful arch, spanning the Minnesota River and connecting Bloomigton to the Highway 101 trail to Shakopee. The Bridge is also the starting point for The Minnesota River Bottoms trail. The River Bottoms are some of the metro areas last natural trails, popular for mountain biking, hiking, fishing and bird watching.

Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikes on the Bloomington Ferry Bridge, near the trail head of the Minnesota River Bottoms

What are the Minnesota river bottoms

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

The “River Bottoms” to locals, is a trail network stretching from the south west corner of Bloomington, all the way to the trails of Fort Snelling State Park. These trails are worn in by the riders and runners who frequent them. While under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service, they are not maintained by any government entity. Due to the fact that the “River Bottoms” aren’t maintained by any organization, the trails often take on a “path of least resistance” or direction. It is not uncommon for new trails to spring up after heavy rains and high river flooding. While riding, expect exclusively dirt trails with some log crossings, sand sections, and occasional overgrowth. Warning, pay particular attention for the Urtica Dioica plants, or stinging nettles, growing on infrequently used trails from June through August.

Wildlife of the Minnesota River Bottoms

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

Bikers, birdwatchers and hikers can enjoy the wildlife sightings along the banks of the Minnesota River.

The River Bottoms are great for all types of recreation. It’s not uncommon to see hikers, bird watchers and people fishing along the banks of the Minnesota river. I have enjoyed sharing with my son the sights of Bald eagles and Beavers who make the watershed their home. Additionally, being a natural area, the River Bottoms are home to countless animals.

What to expect

There are a few popular entrances to the River Bottom trail, Lyndale Ave, Crest Ave, and Old Cedar Ave. These entrances offer ample parking and a clear trailhead. Once you start down the trail you will see that nothing is paved but worn-in enough to be firm under your tires. While a mountain bike is best for these trails, wider tires on Hybrids and adventure bikes navigate well. If you need to cross a stream, there are bridges or a ferry (at 9-mile creek) to get you around. Because the River Bottoms are so smooth, they are an ideal place to take kids mountain biking.

The Minnesota River bottoms are worn in by the riders, hikers, and runners who frequent them

You will find runners who frequent the natural settings of the Minnesota River bottoms

When to ride

Spring, summer, winter or fall the Minnesota River bottoms is a natural haven for cyclists

The best part of the River Bottoms is that it is one of the first places to dry out each spring. It is also one of the first places to freeze when winter rolls through. Avoid this trail in early spring as the trails thaw and after a strong rain. Other than that, these trails are sandy enough to drain quickly. One of the best things about the river bottoms is riding fatbikes. There in the winter, in fact, fat bikes can trace their development directly to the river bottom. When the snow falls, the river bottoms are a the perfect mixture of flat trail, bermed turns, and accessibility to create a near-perfect winter track.

Winters can get exciting in the Minnesota River bottoms with Penn Cycles Get Fat with Phat fat bike races in January.

We in the twin cities are lucky to have a place like the river bottoms to ride. The fact that it is left free to change and natural is unique in a metro area. To that point, there are user groups that are working against the eventual possibility of developing the river bottom area. Whatever your opinion is on development, get into the wilds of the River Bottoms and enjoy this local treasure.

Fat bikes aren't just for winter. They are great year-round since they were originally invented to tackle snow and sand.

History of Fat Bikes and Why Fat Bikes Exist

Fat Bike Season: Fat Bikes are “In” for This Winter Season

by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking

Been to a bike shop recently and noticed the Fat Bikes? If so you are aware that these bikes look a little different from the normal bikes you’re used to seeing. What makes these weird bikes stand out are their large tires that make them look like a bike version of a monster truck! You know, except most of the frame designs are normal looking and everyone I have interviewed say “they are a blast to ride.”

These seemingly unusual fat-tired bikes – many prefer ‘badass’ or are also known as “fat bikes.” They also are known as “wide-tired bikes,” “balloon-tired bikes,”  “winter bikes,” and my favorite “fatties.” Don’t let the term “winter bikes” deter you though. These bikes are great year-round since they were originally invented to tackle sand and snow.

Why Fat Tires?

Fat bikes are not replacing mountain bikes they are just adding adding another dimension to the sport of cycling.

Fat bikes are not replacing mountain bikes they are just adding adding another dimension to the sport of cycling.

Fat tires were developed so that bikes could become all-terrain compatible. The fat tires allow the bikes to have more stability and traction to diverse surfaces. This includes surfaces such as snow, mud, sand, pavement, and more. This works because the tires have more area that touch the ground at any given point. Having that contact, the bike tires are able to keep some sort of grip on solid ground.

Additionally, the fat tires allow bikers to enjoy mountain biking or other biking activities in the winter. They ride a bike that can keep them safer due to the tire’s gripping ability and weight dispersal. Plus, the tire pressures aren’t something to worry about. Due to the design of the fat bike tires, the rider doesn’t have to worry about air pressure within the tires as they ride (at least for the most part)!

Fat Bikes, a Brief History

The Beginning Origins

Fat bikes are becoming popular on mountain bike trails throughout the year.

Fat bikes are becoming popular on mountain bike trails throughout the year.

Fat bikes have been around since the early 1900’s. However, it wasn’t until the 1970’s to 1980’s that the modern-looking fat bikes came to life. Before this, there were bikes that had 2-3 wheels that were cleverly put together side by side to try to increase that surface area contact to the ground.

It wasn’t until bike frame builders in Alaska began looking at and experimenting with the different parts of the bike and tires to make the bike safe for the winter months. They began putting together multiple bike rims so it could hold multiple tires on a bike’s front and back. While someone would roll their eyes and say that it was ‘of course’ the Alaskans that took it to the next level, there were people in Mexico also working on a project. It was in the late 1990’s, 1999’s Interbike convention, where the two designers met to discuss what they had produced. It was around this time when a builder named Mark Gronewald, an Alaskan frame designer, coined the name “Fat Bike” in 2001 for his bikes. In 2011 he was able to build a bike that had a full range of gearing that riders could use.

Making it Commercial

In 2005, the company Surly Bikes – located in Bloomington, Minnesota – went on to release their specialized frame. They called it the Pugsley which had an offset wheel and frame build.

Fat bikes are great year-round, here is a Surly bike at a race in the Minnesota River bottoms in Bloomington, MN.

Fat bikes are great year-round, here is a Surly bike at a race in the Minnesota River bottoms in Bloomington, MN.

Their design was the one that moved into local bike shops around the world. The pugsley made fat bikes commercially available for bikers. Since then, many other bike companies have gotten in on the action and produced their own designs for fat bike riders.

Ten years ago fat bikes seemed like a novelty and were considered an oddity and weird. Today, however, it’s more accepted, common, and even affordable for the average Joe. I mean, as far as bike prices go.

Fat bikes have expanded around the world due to the versatility aspect of the wheels. With the ability to ride on snow and mud, they can be used year-round. So now biking season is all season long!

What is riding a fat bike like? Learn more in our article highlighting how fat bikes can make winter riding more fun!

 

Bike Pic Dec 5, Freewheel Winter Bike Expo

An annual tradition for cyclists who ride in the winter or are curious about fat bikes, this weekend event the Freewheel WinterBike Expo, December 5 & 6, on the Midtown Greenway, in Minneapolis, MN, promises a good time.  Photo above from – deathrideradventure.blogspot.

Virtually every fat bike from Salsa, Surly, and Trek will be on hand for you to test ride on this course.

Virtually every fat bike from Salsa, Surly, and Trek will be on hand for you to test ride on this course.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking (HFB). 

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and present more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, while out there if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute on, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where our camera’s will be and what we will post next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know?) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to use them. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual print and quarterly digital Bike/Hike Guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated – At-a-Glance information and maps we are known for in the HFB Destination section on our website and in the guide. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile devices where you may see some additional bike pics – maybe of yourself so.

Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in one of the next photos we post.

Have a great day!

#FindYourNextAdventure

Bike Pic – Oct. 8, Fix My Seat

The young lady, above, is ready to take the tandem fat bike out for a test ride once her bike seat is adjusted and she finds a stoker.

Thanks for viewing the Bike Pic of the Day here at HaveFunBiking, hope you enjoy the photo?

Now, rolling into our 10th year as a bicycle media, our goal is to continue to encourage more people to bike, while showcasing unforgettable places to ride. As we search and post more fun photos worth a grin, scroll through the information and stories we have posted to help you find your next adventure. Then, if you see us along a paved or mountain bike trail, next to the route you regularly commute, or at an event you plan to attend with your bike, be prepared to smile. You never know where camera will be and what we will posted next!

Do you have a fun photo of yourself or someone you know that you would like to see us publish? If so, please send it our way and we may use it. Send your picture(s) to [email protected] with a brief caption (of each), including who is in the photo (if you know) and where it was taken. Photo(s) should be at least 620 pixels wide for us to post. If we use your photo, you will receive photo credit and an acknowledgment on Facebook and Instagram.

As HaveFunBiking continues to encourage more people to ride, please reference our blog and the annual bike guide to find your next adventure. We are proud of the updated, at-a-glance information, and maps we are known for in the Destination section of our website. Now, as the Bike/Hike Guide goes into its seventh year of production, we are adding a whole new dimension of bicycle tourism information available for mobile device. Plus, beginning September 2015, this year’s e-version of the Guide will move to quarterly editions where you may see some additional bike pics posted.

 Bookmark HaveFunBiking.com and find your next adventure – we may capture you in a pic to post!

New fat bike riding opportunities in Minnesota

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Riding the trails in Fort Snelling State Park

Chris Chavie, MN Trail Navigator

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources issued a News Release, last Monday that details the expansion of fat bike riding opportunities throughout the state.  These opportunities include 58 new miles open to fat biking in Minnesota State Parks and on State Trails. This is in addition to the 20 miles already in use at Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area near Brainerd.

Minnesota State Parks and Trails has also implemented a Winter Fat Biking Pilot Project to assist in finding places to ride and they would also like rider feedback that includes comments, suggestions and ways to improve these new winter fat bike trails. The Minnesota DNR has maps of these new fat bike-friendly trails available for download. These maps clearly detail fat bike/multi-use trails from snowshoe/ski/hiking only trails through the use of color to distinguish use (see each map’s legend).

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MN State Park Trail Locations

In Northern Minnesota – The Cuyuna Country State Recreation Area (Crosby/Deerwood area) has 20 miles of groomed trails; Jay Cooke State Park (outside of Carlton) has added 5.4 miles of trails to be groomed; and Split Rock Lighthouse State Park (above Two Harbors) will groom 8.7 miles of trails for fat bikes and ski skating.

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Fun on the Minnesota River bottom trails

Twin Cities Metro Area – Fat bike trail opportunities include: Fort Snelling State Park with 6 miles of packed muti-use trails; the Luce Line State Trail has 7 miles of groomed multi-use trails; and the Gateway State Trail is plowed from Cuyuga Street to Jamaca Avenue opening up 11.9 miles of trails to all winter biking.

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Fun on Minnesota’s winter trails

In Southern Minnesota – There are 13 miles of groomed trails from Pine Island to Rochester on the Douglas State Trail; and the Blazing Star State Trail/Myre-Big Island State Park (near Albert Lea) has added 6 miles of groomed trails.

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When X-C Skiing is marginal, fat biking is at its best!

Other opportunities The MN DNR will allow winter fat biking on trails that are signed and identified on DNR maps as open to fat biking, such as:

  • State forest roads or trails that are identified as allowing bicycling, unless they are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.*
  • State park and state recreation area trails designated for bicycling, including some non-motorized multi-use trails that may be shared with skiers, walkers, or snowshoers, unless they are groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.*
  • State park roads, where motor vehicles are allowed, except those posted closed for biking.
  • State trails, except those groomed and tracked for cross-country skiing or snowmobiling only.

*NOTE: Most ski and snowmobile trails do not allow other uses. Skier and snowmobiler user fees pay for grooming and maintenance.

Areas to avoid riding fat bikes from the MN DNR:

While groomed snowmobile and ski trails can be an appealing ride option, most of those types of trails are not open to other uses due to concerns regarding safety and trail grooming costs that are paid through user fees. Please remember to be thoughtful and courteous as you seek out opportunities to enjoy the sport of winter fat biking. Winter fat biking is not allowed on:

  • Most snowmobile trails, including the grant-in-aid (GIA) trail system. As a general rule for everyone’s safety, please avoid fat biking on any snowmobile trail.
  • Most groomed and tracked cross-country ski trails, which are for skiing only
  • Any trail that is not specifically identified as open for bicycling, including hiking or snowshoeing trails in state parks or state recreation areas.

For more information on where to ride fatbikes in Minnesota, contact the DNR Information Center at [email protected] or 651-296-6157 or 888-646-6367 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday

Fat Bikes, A Fun Winter Activity

by Roger Phillips
You’ve probably seen these in a bike shop, in a bike rack, or even hanging from the ceiling of a bar or restaurant and wondered, “What the heck is that?”

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Steve and Kathy Muench of McCall ride the trails at Jug Mountain Ranch, near McCall – Roger Phillips

They’re known as “fat bikes,” rather than “fat tire” bikes, which was an early nickname for all mountain bikes. These bikes sport oversized balloon tires specially designed to ride on packed snow and other surfaces that run at low air pressures. So what’s it like to ride one?

See this Video or in short, it’s like riding a bicycle. There’s no special technique involved. You just get on and ride and that’s what makes them fun. While they’re sometimes called “snow bikes,” they’re actually more versatile and used for all kinds of riding on snow and sand and even for winter commuting.

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Fat bikes get their name from their oversized tires, which are nearly twice the width of standard mountain bike tires – Roger Phillips

Kathy Muench and her husband Steve, of McCall, Idaho were looking for another activity to do during winter. It was at this time that a pair of fat bikes caught their attention. “We were pretty excited from the get go,” she said. “You look at these things and go – ‘Oh my gosh look at that bad boy!’”

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Not only are fat bikes welcome on Jug Mountain Ranch trails, but so are dogs, which make the ride even more fun — Roger Phillips

They started riding on snow — both groomed cross-country trails and snowmobile trails. Then, they branched to frozen lakes, firm snow during spring, as well as dirt roads, singletrack, and even beaches.

“The more you’re on them the more fun it gets,” Kathy said. “This last February, it was the trails up at Jug Mountain Ranch, near McCall, that lured us back onto bikes in winter. Since then we were on our bikes more than we were on skis this last winter.”

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Fat bikes give you another way to enjoy winter and the awesome scenery it provides.— Roger Phillips

I borrowed the fat bike of Jug Mountain Ranch Manager, David Carey and joined Kathy and Steve on the trail system about two miles east of Lake Fork. (For directions go to jugmountainranch.com/location.) Carey welcomes the bikes on Jug Mountain’s groomed trail system and he’s experimenting with a smaller, narrower groomer that compacts some of the ranch’s singletrack trails so they can be used during winter.
Carey sees fat bikes as another opportunity for winter recreation, a way to extend the bike riding season in the McCall area and another way for people to enjoy Jug Mountain Ranch’s trails. Interested in riding the ranch’s 15 miles of groomed trails and additional singletrack trails? When conditions allow, you can buy a $10 daily trail pass to ride.

“Adding the fat bike to the overall Jug Mountain Ranch trail experience is a great fit,” Carey said. “We are firm believers that this is not a fad and can significantly increase winter trail use to a new demographic.” Carey rents his personal fat bike and plans to add more to a rental fleet this coming winter.

If you go Gravity Sports, in McCall, also rents them for $35 for a half-day, $40 for a full-day and $45 for 24 hours. Bikes are available on a first-come, first-served basis. And according to Michelle Reagan, owner there: “We almost always have bikes available for people.”  For other places to stay and play when visiting the area checkout the McCall Tourism Bureau.

Jug Mountain Ranch and Gravity Sports hosts the Snowy 45 Fat bike Relay in early March each year and Reagan said  riders are already signed up for the next event. They also host a fat bike demo day in mid-February where you can try the Surly brand fat bike. All the details haven’t been finalize as of so check jugmountainranch.com or the Ranch’s Facebook page in the coming months.

The interest in fat bikes isn’t limited to McCall and other mountain towns. Jeremy Whitman, manager of Meridian Cycles, in Boise, Idaho has five fat bikes in the shop’s rental/demo fleet along with many sales last winter. He sees fat bikes on Foothills trails and even in downtown Boise increasing.

The cartoonish large tires and stocky, rigid frames make them look like throwbacks to the original mountain bikes and also something entirely different than what people are used to seeing. “On any given day, I will have five customers come in the shop just to look at a fat bike,” Whitman said. “It’s not the young, fast and fit looking for a second, third, or even fourth bike. It’s common for middle-aged rider to ride them because they’re stable, simple, durable and fairly low-maintenance bikes”.

“They’re kind of built like a tank,” Kathy Muench said. The bikes were originally built for the Iditabike, an endurance race in Alaska that’s run there during the winter.
“Their popularity has exploded in Alaska,” according to Dave and Sharon Sell, who split their time between Boise and Anchorage. Fat bike riders are as common as Nordic skiers on the trail systems and the two sports can complement one another because most skiers prefer softer snow, while firmer conditions favor bikes. “When the skiing is bad, the snow biking is good,” Sharon says.

While the sale of fat bikes has grown in Idaho and around the country it’s still a niche sport, and people are figuring out new ways to use the bikes.
Like mountain biking 30 years ago, fat bikes — especially riding on snow — is fairly new to Idaho, and it will likely grow and evolve.

“It’s the early stage for us, and the early stage for the sport,” Carey said.

FAT BIKE TIPS

I’m no expert, but I also wanted to pass on some things I learned as a first-time fat bike rider.

Riding

• Relax. It’s just a bike, and although it looks big and burly, it feels like a regular bike. It’s not as nimble as your average mountain bike, but there’s nothing about a fat bike that should intimidate you if you know how to ride a bicycle.

• For your first time, go with flat pedals and warm shoes or boots. As you become more comfortable on the bike, you might switch to clip-in shoes and pedals.

• Soft or fresh snow is harder to ride than groomed, hard-packed or crusty snow. Fat bikes aren’t powder machines, which is good because there are lots of other fun things to do on fresh snow.

• A higher gear works better to plow through soft snow. You’re more likely to break traction in a lower gear, but you don’t want to burn yourself out in a higher gear. Find a compromise.

• Stay off the front brake on the down hills. Descend slowly until you become comfortable with the traction, or lack thereof. Brake far in advance of corners, steep down hills, or obstacles.

• If you’re losing traction while climbing, shift your weight toward the rear tire so it gets better grip.

Other

• Dress for exertion. Wear lighter layers than you would normally wear for cold weather. Also, breathable fabrics so you don’t get damp from sweat. Remember to factor in the wind chill when you’re going downhill. If you start feeling hot, peel a layer, especially before a prolonged climb. Then , for the descent, put it back on.

• Pedal seated rather than trying to stand and grind up a steep section. You will maintain more consistent traction and balance.

• Enjoy the scenery. Fat bikes go slower than your average mountain bike goes on dirt. Pedal, relax and enjoy the fact you’re riding on snow in a beautiful environment.

Reminders

• Not all groomed cross-country ski trails are open to fat bikes. Jug Mountain Ranch and Tamarack Resort allow them on their trails, but they’re not allowed on the Bear Basin cross country trails west of McCall, or on the trails at Ponderosa State Park, in Idaho. Check with local and state regulations in the area you plan to ride.

• Do not ride on the ski tracks set by the groomer. They are needed for traditional cross-country skiers. Also, yield to skiers like you would hikers.

• You can ride fat bikes on groomed snowmobile trails, but snowmobilers probably won’t expect you out there. So ride with caution. Consider using a headlight and/or red flashing rear light to make yourself more visible, especially on an overcast day. Remember, parking lots and trail grooming are paid directly by snowmobilers. You’re a guest on their trails.

Please Note: Check with local and state regulations in the area you plan to ride. At this time some states do not  permit  fat bikes on designated snowmobile trails.

• The International Mountain Bike Association has some good information and guidelines for riding on snow. Go to: imba.com/resources/land-protection/fat-bikes.

Editors Note: If you have a favorite place and a few photos where you have fat biked, please share with us at HaveFunBiking.com.