Never biked on snow before? Well the RTA Fat Bike Bash during the Rico Winter Carnival is a great chance to try it out! Show up early to claim one of the free (donation encouraged) demo bikes provided by our generous sponsors Bootdoctors and Box Canyon Bicycles. Please do not ride bicycles with tires less than 4″ wide as it damages the groomed trail and pretty much guarantees a bad time.
Your tires should be SOFT. Like single digit PSI soft. If you’re used to mountain or road bikes this will feel weird at first but is crucial to preventing sinking in the snow and loss of traction. If you’re using a demo bike for the ride, the tires will be set at an appropriate PSI already. Fat biking will feel super slow, but that’s part of the fun! If you feel like you’re slipping out on uphills, use a lower gear and move your weight back for more traction.
What to wear
Start cold! If you’re toasty before you get on the bike, you’ll definitely end up sweating which is uncomfortable and can lead to cold later on. If you nordic ski, dressing for fat biking is very similar. On top, start with a nice base layer, preferably wool and a wind layer (windbreaker, thin softshell, etc.) of some kind. If conditions are cold, add a vest. If it is snowing or you think you might take a few spills into the snow, a waterproof shell is recommended. [Base Layer; Vest; Softshell; Windbreaker]
For pants, there are manufacturers that make winter cycling tights, if you aren’t ready to make that kind of investment you can layer what you have. [Winter Cycling Pants; Winter Cycling Tights] First off, if you prefer a chamois (butt pad) while cycling normally, you can wear one for fatbiking. Then, a base layer (wool preferred, fleece leggings also work) under bike shorts, hiking shorts, or even swim trunks work great. Again, if there is precip or you might spend some time laying on the side of the trail in the snow, a waterproof outer layer is recommended such as softshell or rain shell pants.
A thin liner hat or headband (again, wool works great) that fits under the helmet (mandatory!) works just fine.[Hat] For your hands, some people can wear thin liner gloves comfortably, but if you need thicker gloves make sure you can still easily control the shifter and brakes while wearing them. “Lobster Mitts” are bike-specific mitts that work great for cold hands. [Gloves; Lobster Mittens]
Lightweight snow boots work best for fat biking. [Lightweight Snow Boots] Sorels or other heavy winter boots will work, but the extra weight can be cumbersome. Some people prefer to wear waterproof boots (Bogs, Xtratuffs, etc). Waterproof hiking shoes or trail runners with gaiters can also work. Think what you would wear to go snowshoeing. Some companies make winter bike-specific boots that can be used for clipless pedals. [Winter Cycling Boots]
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