by Lauren Costantini of Sacred Rides Boulder
Fat bikes originated in chilly Alaska (see our previous blog), and were adopted quickly in other locations with long, cold, snowy winters like the Midwest. Mountain biking became a 12-month sport for these early adopters! But preparing to tackle the trails and chilly weather on these fat-tired beasts takes some knowledge and preparation – and we’re here to help!
It is just as easy to overheat, sweat, and suffer hypothermia when riding in the cold as it is to under-dress and be miserable. Staying dry and warm is key in the winter months, and the extra energy one uses to push through the snow becomes an enemy of staying warm! Therefore, you must become a master of layering and carry a pack to store those layers. Keeping the core cool on the climbs so you’re not soaking wet with sweat for the descents, while keeping your tootsies/fingers/ears warm, is both an art and a science.
Although we’re seeing some bike companies offering fat-bike specific apparel (45NRTH and others), chances are if you live in a place with a true winter, you already have the gear. You just need to think more ‘SKI’ rather than ‘BIKE’! In Boulder, CO, we usually dive into our Nordic ski gear for fat biking.
Here’s what we wear:
TOP: Wool base layer, fleece cycling jersey, puffy coat to be put on at the top of climbs before descending or when trail-side repairs or shots of bourbon commence), waterproof/windproof jacket with hood, buff around neck that can be pulled up over face
BOTTOM: wool base-layer tights, waterproof/windproof pants, gaiters (you likely will be getting off your bike and post-holing into deep snow)
FEET: thick insulated socks, chemical toe warmers, well-insulated waterproof hiking boots if flat pedals or winter insulated cycling shoes if clipped in (more on that in our next post!)
HANDS: thin liner gloves, heavy mountaineering gloves, Pogies which are insulated covers for your hands that attach to the handlebars
HEAD: buff ear band, thin cycling hat, cycling helmet, or snowboard helmet with snow goggles (which provide a lot of protection and keep the face and head warmer)
Complete blog here
Watch for the rest of Lauren’s series over the next several weeks.
Link to Part 1 here
About Lauren Costantini:
As a former Pro mountain bike and cyclocross racer, I’m thrilled to share my knowledge and love of the Majestic Rocky Mountains and incredible trails around Boulder, Colorado! I love riding 2 wheels of any style: cross country, downhill, all-mountain, fat biking, touring, or commuting to the coffee shop.