Written by Aileen Frey
“Fat bike, come back here!” the stranger called out as we cruised by.
“Fat?” I repeated as I turned to see my daughter’s frown.
Her first fat bike ride now ruined by a stranger publically humiliating her. She was in tough shape before our ride began, nursing a knee injury, and recently graduated from college with no idea of what would come next. She was riding my steel blue 907 beauty for sanity’s sake, when the “fat” cat call hit her.
“Fat bike, come back!” Not again, more hurtful words. We stopped.
An excited, friendly looking guy waved to us. “Come see what’s in my garage.” Our eyebrows rose again. He seemed to be ok because he was outside with a small family, all cleaning a large family van. So, we decided it was safe to go back to meet the fat caller.
He ran up the driveway to open his garage. As the door lifted, we could see him shifting his kid’s bikes so that we could see his true pride and joy. He pulled out a steel blue 907 fat bike. Anthony introduced himself and asked my daughter how she got her fat bike. She said it was mine. He described how he had looked all over Boise and found nothing to buy which would cure his yearning to ride fat. He only found two bike shops with bikes on order, waiting for a handful of “test” ones to arrive. So, he ended up making several special orders through a local bike shop to create his dream bike. I explained that my frame was purchased locally, while it hung in the window as an oddity for all to wonder “What the heck is that?” The bike shop was surprised that I really wanted them to undo their display.
Let’s back up for a moment, that same morning I had been accepted as the twenty third member of Fat Bike Boise on Facebook. I’d thought it would be fun be a part of Boise’s own virtual clubhouse for fat bikers (23 members). I asked him if he was the Anthony who had accepted me. Yep, and we were neighbors six blocks removed. I explained that my husband and I had been riding our new fat bikes all winter, making videos and uploading them so that our grown kids could see that we were alive, and still pedaling. I told him that I was very happy to meet my doppelganger (not adding that his fat call had offended us).
Recently, we’ve met a slew of Boise people who know of someone who know someone with a fat bike hidden in their garage. Our pre-Anthony fat bike rider count was just five. A week later the summer count had grown to a dozen folks with stubby rides. They all like to ride fat bikes and enjoy turning heads, always hoping to share the bikes with anyone who wants to try them. I have a skinny bike friend who now tells me that he is considering buying a fat one for the coming winter (making our summer count a baker’s dozen of “fat” riders). I hope that as more cyclists try riding fat bikes, and buying them, then more will be available and prices will drop. Ah, then, I can help my daughter buy her own fat bike!
More Boise news: A local race coordinator, Wild Rockies, is considering putting on a winter race series for fat bikes! I do hope that our local bike shops will bring in more bikes for the new converts. Until a recent big rendezvous of beer drinkers and trail builders, I had no idea that Vibe Cycles was a Boise local fat frame builder (sweet shiny demo ride). Unfortunately, few folks can afford a custom ride. Most will have to hustle to purchase the few fat bikes which the mule train will deliver to our local bike stores, or do special orders.
I do look forward to having more Boise neighbors calling out, “Fat bike. Hey, fat bike. Come see what’s in my garage.”