First the disclaimers – Do not ride your fat-bike on trails closed to bikes. Do not EVER ride on groomed ski trails! Follow the IMBA rules of the trail. But with those things in mind……Let your imagination run wild!
With all the new fat-bikes and fat-bike riders we need to re-examine the possibilities that these unique bicycles bring to the table. If you’ve bought a new fatty and think – “I can’t wait to bring this thing to (insert favorite mtb trail system)’…..well great! You’ve got the fever but have just barley scratched the surface of the fun that you can have with your new fatty. Once the snow starts to fly you can ride just about any vanilla dog walkers trail or stretch of multi-trac and get a huge grin out of it. I posted a video of a trip around my yard, merely to illustrate that you can ride just about anywhere on these bikes. Places that you’d never really consider a viable option (on your regular mtb) become uber-fun, when they’re coated with some snow on your fatty. If you’ve been following along with the site, you know, that the beach or dunes offer up another completely unique and funtastic place to get your fat-bike fix. (Again) If you know that there is an area that is environmentally sensitive or is contentious due to being in dense population centers, please steer clear. Natural areas or ecosystems that are under restoration should be avoided. Anyplace that dog walkers congregate is a great place to get out the fat bike, once the snow flies. Snowmobile trails are a good choice once the trail conditions degrade and there’s a bit of dirt showing. The sledders will stay at home, while we take a nice tour of their bombed out trails. Some snowmobile trails are open because they’re a multi-use trail system (like the picture that brought you to this story) and some snowmobile trail systems are closed to bikes (like the ones in my local state forest unit). Do your research and choose the time you ride wisely. Frozen lake riding is another spot that fat-bikes just, flat-out, RULE! Make sure that you know that the ice is frozen to a safe thickness and go out and play! By all means ride your favorite mtb trail on your new fatty, but when that really nasty snow squall hits, don’t be afraid to got right out in the middle of it and ride right from your house….the taverns are always stay open and the sled hills seldom have any traffic in the middle of a real snow event!
Some groomed ski trails are also open to bikes……..
That may well be true in your region, Steve…..and in time, we may even see some growth of that trend (we hope)….but currently in the Great Lakes region, groomed ski trails are the most verbotten place for us to tread. It’s a fine line between encouraging new fat bike owners to use their imagination on where to go out and explore (while) avoiding user conflict.. It would be good to hear from more riders in other regions about what kind of riding opportunities or potential rider conflicts exist, so we can avoid some of the hard lessons that we learned in the 90’s from mountain biking.
I ride XC ski trails with little to no hassle. Common sense is called for; 20 and above I stay off 15 and colder, and I’m all over it!!! Of course I never ever ride in their groomed tracks. I buy a XC ski trail pass, along with a yearly snomo trail pass.
It boils down to using your head. There’s plenty of places to enjoy the FattNess without ever having any conflicts.