Daniel Schneider, a Fat-bike rider from Germany, sent me an email earlier in July about a fat-bike adventure that sounded awesome! He and his riding bud, Matthias, were planning to a fat-bike assault on one of the most famous TransAlp routes in existence, the famed “Heckmair Route”. We kept in touch and Daniel has prepared the following story about the trip. Make sure to visit www.fatbike-transalp.de for more.
Take it away, Daniel!
Already a big deal in the U.S. and strongly growing in Europe – FATBikes are straight on their way to the top. Two blokes from Germany went on a very special tour to promote FATBikes on the old continent.
Daniel “Schneid” Schneider and Matthias “FatMatt” Busse fell in love with Specialized’s amazing FatBoy Expert during last years EuroBike – Europe’s biggest bike fair. Neither Dan not Matt have ever before ridden a FATBike but had no doubt this is gonna be the next big thing. Europe and particularly Germany are huge markets for MTB and time had come to introduce FATBikes to the masses. So Dan and Matt decided to combine FATBikes with a favorite habit of european MTB riders: a TransAlp tour that crosses the heart of Europe – the Alps – from north to south. To avoid being put into a niche but place FATBikes right into the middle of MTB history, Dan and Matt chose to ride along the very first TransAlp route ever: discovered in 1989 by German climber and MTB pioneer Andi Heckmair the “Heckmair Route” would lead from Oberstdorf in Germany across Austria, Switzerland and Italy all the way down to famous Lago di Garda (Garda lake) in Italy. This technically extremely challenging tour is a true classic and known to the majority of riders who attempt a TransAlp tour.
Though this may not be the toughest thing ever done on a FATBike, this tour crosses not less than six alpine passes along it’s 410 kilometers (255 mile) course. Also, riders have to eat up an overall elevation of 36,000 ft – not less than the regular cruising hight of an intercontinental flight – with the highest pass to overcome at 8,800 ft. And the tour has it all – from extended road cycling to super heavy duty uphills and downhill tracks. Perfect to test FATBikes and prove their capabilities!
Due to a lack of German FATBike pages Dan and Matt created a website, www.fatbike-transalp.de, ahead of the tour and made it a hub for information about Fatties. Then, during the actual tour the site featured a daily wrap up including tour report, amazing pictures and a brief video made from GoPro shots made during the tour. But not only was fatbike-transalp.de featuring information – also Red Bull provided latest tour news on their website www.redbull.com/fatbiketransalp. So this was truly a FATBike wake up call in Europe!
The tour itself was cut into six sections, each ranging between appr. 30 – 75 mls and elevation gain of appr. 3,900 – 8,200 ft. And not only the tour but also the weather had it all. From a sunny start in Oberstdorf (http://www.fatbike-transalp.de/etappe-1-oberstdorf-dalaas/) to heavy snow, lightning and permanent rain (day two http://www.fatbike-transalp.de/etappe-2-dalaas-klosters/) the weather was everything from blessing to curse…
However, whether in sun or during the worst weather on muddy, soaking wet, snow covered trails packed with rocks of the size of basket ball – the FatBoys always cut their way through rocks, creek beds, snow and knee deep mud like if they were monstrous surgery knifes. The thunderstorm? Just a blasting back beat of this FATBike rock’n’roll!! Sounds kinda fun, eh? Well, it was!
Eventually, having arrived at Lake Garda, Dan and Matt have proven that FatBikes are the perfect machines for all kind of bike rides. From endless road trips to nasty downhills, from dusty fireroads to extensive snowfields, from sunshine to blizzards: a FATBike will always do a great ride. At next EuroBike Dan and Matt will look for new inspiration and share their ideas.