Fat bike riding has been gaining in popularity the last couple years. I was one of the skeptics, thinking it was a fad, but was still willing to give the big tires a fair shake. I have ridden them on all kinds of surfaces – paved, gravel, dirt, sand, and snow – and am convinced they have a place in the bike world. Being the outdoor sportsman that I am, I look at every trip as an opportunity to check something off a bucket list or land a new fish. So when I started riding the fat-tire bikes I started thinking about where I would use them and for what. One idea my friends and I had kicked around was using them to access fishing spots along the river. Well that became a reality this winter when we put the extra-wide rubber to the test. I’m not sure the last time I had as much fun getting to and from my fishing spot as I had fishing.
Conditions were, for the most part, perfect along the trail for riding fat bikes. Hard packed snow is the ideal terrain this time of year for fat biking. There were few areas where horses (or elk and moose) had created holes, which made the section a bit bouncy, but it was still very manageable. Packing my gear was a snap. I threw my fish bag in my backpack, strapped my rod and net on the sides, and just wore my waders and boots. This kept all my gear super stable while I was having fun getting to my spot. Upon arrival, I left my bike on the side of the river and switched my brain from bike mode to fish mode. It is important to layer when going from an activity like biking to a more sedentary activity such as winter fly fishing and standing still in cold water. Having a jacket in your pack to throw on once you get ready to fish is helpful and smart.
Fat Bike Popularity
Fat bikes are a lot of fun to ride any time, but they excel on packed snow. Groomed trails are great but so are trails that have been packed by snowmobiles or snowshoes. Fat bikes handle light snow, no problem, but you will have to work harder when the snow gets deep. Tight turns at slow speeds are more difficult on a fat bike but you get used to it pretty quickly. It took me longer to adjust to my flat pedals since I am used to SPDs on my other bikes, but again, I figured it out and enjoyed the ride.
There are many options when it comes to fat bikes and Scott even has a power-assisted version. Some fat bike companies are targeting hunters and fly fishermen, specifically, with camo bikes and small trailers for hauling gear into areas that, before now, were really only accessible on foot or horseback. I am even starting to see people using them on our frozen lakes for ice fishing and on the beach getting to spots for surf casting.
Take a Fat Bike on Your Next Adventure
Fat bikes are passing the test of time and climbing in popularity. If you want to try one out, you can stop into White Pine Touring in Park City, Utah, and rent one to take for a trip to your next fishing spot. Or just head out on some of our winter trails and keep your legs in shape for the upcoming biking season outside the gym.
This is a very fun form of transportation, so don’t overlook them for getting around in the winter – or any time of year in areas where a regular bike won’t work as well. After this trip I will definitely be using fat bikes to get to more remote fishing areas and avoid the long walks. Hope to see you out in the mountains and on the streams.
Travis Jay Vernon, Fly Fishing Guide and Sales Associate