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WTF! (Why The Fat-bike)

Fat-bike.com pal and product tester, Andy Oleson, sent us this story about his recent 200 mile day (on his Single Speed Fat-bike!) as well as his subsequent Solo 12-Hour Single Speed race at the Wausau 24! Thanks for the story and the inspiration, Andy!

So, I’ve been posting up stories, ride reviews, and product reviews on Fat-Bike.com for some time now, and looking back at one of my first contributions (Mid life Mukluk) I find that my enthusiasm for riding Fat-Bikes is still just as strong now as it was when I first got my Fat-Bike, I can’t quite pin point exactly what it is, but this bike is just plain fun to ride. Last year I attempted a 200-mile ride on it and fell 25 miles short of my goal. Chronicled here (http://fat-bike.com/2012/11/ride-report-175-miles-fat-and-single/)

A couple weeks ago I decided it was time to try again, and this time I nailed it! 202 miles in 12 hours Solo on a Single Speed Fat-Bike rolling on Big Fat Larry’s. (I’ve got a nice set of 29+ wheels I could have run, but I wanted to stay true to my original Fat-bike attempt.) At every stop I made along the way, people would come up and talk to me about my bike and ask where I was going on such giant tires, when I informed them I was riding 200 miles for “Fun” they were like “WTF!” Why The Fatbike? I would usually question them back with “Does this bike look fun to ride?” upon the “Yes” reply, I would simply say “Exactly!” and ride off down the trail, while they walked away scratching their heads, thinking WTF.

This was my Goal and my 100 mile turn around point.

This was my Goal and my 100 mile turn around point.

So the 200 miler was something I had stuck in my head that I wanted to accomplish (check that one off the bucket list) but it was two fold, I also wanted to make sure I could spend 12 hours hammering the pedals, because the following weekend I was signed up to race Wausau 24. Originally, the race was posted to have a Fat-Bike Class, but due to lack of Fat-Bike entries (sure hope that changes next year) the only class I felt I could run was the Solo 12 Hour Single Speed or Solo 12 Hour geared class. Since I run my Fat Bike Single Speed (that’s a whole other story in itself, that only when the therapy is over I can explain ☺) so the Solo SS class had it’s one and only Fat-Bike entry. As mentioned, I have a set of 29+ wheels, that for sure are faster, lighter and would have totally made sense to run in this race, but I said to myself “WTF” and ran my Fat Tires anyway. WTF? I’ll tell you Why The Fatbike, the trails at Wausau are brutally rocky and root strewn so the Fat tires make perfect sense for 12 hours of punishment.

I rode a good race, I pushed hard and impressed myself with actually showing some self-restraint not trying to go out full throttle the whole time. I paced myself, ate right, and hydrated, but in the end my lower back said it was time to call it a day. I ended up taking 5th place out of 10 Single Speed racers, I completed 10 laps (100+ miles) and I had time to put in another lap, which would have put me up to 3rd, but I was done. Throughout the race whenever I passed people they were surprised to be not only be caught by, but get passed by a Fat Bike, they were like “WTF!”. At one point I was hike-a-biking it up the Ho-Chi-Min trail section, when I passed a female racer, as I hiked past her, she caught a glimpse of the Fat Tires in her headlamp and was like “Whoa a Fat Bike” as I passed she then saw the single gear in back, she yelled out “WTF! are you Crazy! a SS Fatty” I simply stated, “Nope, just out to have some Fun”.

Wausau 24 2013

Wausau 24 2013

OK, so not everyone has the same goals or perceptions of what a Fat-Bike is for, mine are pretty well documented to support my competitive drive, and need for speed, but it’s not just that, it’s the Fun Factor as well. I don’t want my stories to start sounding like my personal “Ride Blog” but it is nice to have a forum in which I can share my experiences on a Fat-Bike and maybe give others a different view of what a fat-bike can be used for. Also, when you see me post up a product review, you can pretty much rest assured that I’ve ridden and tested the crap out of it, given my riding habits.

I’ve seen Fat-Bikes advertised and marketed as an “Adventure” bike, I guess the adventure is what you make of it, whether it be slogging through deep snow in your granny gear, or hammering out 200 miles on a single speed fatty, or even crazier, attempting the Tour Divide Race on a fat-bike. (I never said that’s not on my bucket list!) I sometimes find adventures in some of my most mundane rides; just in the places my fat-bike can take me off the beaten path.

So, I’d like to end this story with a question to our Fat-Bike.com readers….WTF? Why The Fatbike?

If you like, leave a response to this write up, let us know what “You” like most about your fat bike, or some Adventures it has take you on, we’d love to hear about them!

Andy.

11 Responses to WTF! (Why The Fat-bike)

  1. AC August 19, 2013 at 10:10 am #

    Is Andy using a single lever with front and rear brakes?

    • Gomez August 19, 2013 at 10:23 am #

      yepp

      • Andy August 19, 2013 at 10:35 am #

        It’s a cable spliter from problem solver, and can dial in the bias on the calipers, so the rear comes on first and the more you pull the lever then the front comes on, works great.

  2. Manny August 19, 2013 at 10:24 am #

    Wow! Congratulations on the riding. That would be impressive a road bike on a flat road. (Downhill)

    The fun factor is the real reason why I have been addicted to the Fat for couple of years now. It is amazing though, everyone (and I do mean everyone) at the trailhead or on the trail has to make a comment. I always explain that it is like riding on a kid’s bike again.

    Although I do have to agree with the female trail rider “WTF! are you Crazy! a SS Fatty!”

  3. bryan August 19, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    I get the same questions, or least I used to, now they just call me “the fat bike guy” lol. I’ve ridden mountain bikes going on 35 years and no bike has given me goosebumps overtime I get on it like my fatty. people with either get it or they won’t lol there is no making them understand it 🙂

  4. Andy August 19, 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    I recently got the same comments riding my pugs on mackinac island in michigan. Mind you, the island only has bikes and horses for transportation. With thousands of bikes riding around the island, not one fatbike. My kids eventually started to get annoyed by all the fatbike comments. “Hey those tires are really fat!”. People just dont get it. Out of the bikes in my garage, the pugs is the most fun. WTF? Fun!

  5. freisianpug August 19, 2013 at 6:52 pm #

    Why fat? You’d be mad not to…

  6. Mark Barrette August 20, 2013 at 3:52 am #

    Great article Andy. I love riding my fatbike with the roadies. I can
    keep up on the flats, but I really have to work on the hills. The roadies get a little nervous when I’m dropped down on the aero bars that I put on the fatbike , but WTF. Andy, hope to ride with you again soon.

  7. Ernesto August 20, 2013 at 9:30 am #

    Awesome ride and story

  8. Jake August 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

    SS Fat is the way to go!

    Great story, congrats.

  9. Michelle July 14, 2015 at 10:01 pm #

    Have seen a couple around town – they’re kind of weird!! Are they easy to ride, pedal?