Category Archives: Cycling

Almost a year in

Ride Fatbikes

The first post on RideFatbikes.com was almost a year ago – March 18, 2011.  The original goal in developing this site was to get the word out about how much fun it can be to ride fatbikes (hence the name “Ride Fatbikes”).  Since then, we’ve grown to a dramatically larger readership (over 7300 visitors last month compared to an average of 60 visitors/month in the first few months), we’ve developed/hosted/promoted the Fatbike Frozen Forty (triple F), we’ve launched the Fatbike Gallery, the Fatbike Library, and a Gear and Reviews section.  We’ve had guests posts, reader-contributed stories, and event/race recaps from readers, racers, and riders from all over the country, and we’ve tried to keep the content fresh.

That said, by no means do we have it all figured out.  Instead, as we approach the one-year anniversary of RideFatbikes.com, we’d like to try modifying (and hopefully improving) the format of this site.  Some of our most popular posts and stories have been those submitted by readers and guest contributors, so we’d like to do more of that.  We’ve found that while people like to know about races, rides, and adventures that are happening in their area, they also like to share stories about their own personal experiences at a race/ride or even their own solo fatbike adventure story.  Good stories and good adventures make for good reading.

The community of people who ride fatbikes has grown exponentially in recent years, and we hope it will continue to grow exponentially more in years to come.  We want RideFatbikes.com to serve that community by offering a place to share your fatbike stories, adventures, and more.  As our format changes, so may our site.  In the meantime, please feel free to comment on new pages or posts you see developing, check out and comment on our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ride-Fatbikes/236605043077212), follow us on Twitter (@RideFatbikes), submit your photo for the Fatbike Gallery, or simply Contact Us and share a post or story you’d like to see included here.

It’s a lot of fun to ride fatbikes, and it’s a lot of fun to see what other fatbike riders have to say about their adventures.  Please feel free to make this site your forum for sharing the stories about how, where, and why you ride fatbikes.

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Filed under Bike Blogs, Biking, Cycling, Fatbike Frozen Forty, Fatbike Gallery, fatbike photos, Fatbike race, Fatbike Trails, Fatbikes, RIde Fatbikes

Fatbikes All Year (by Ben Welnak, guest author)

The article below is by guest author and friend of RideFatbikes.com, Ben Welnak.  Ben is an avid mountain bike enthusiast and racer, and is an owner of Twenty2 Cycles.  His personal blog is well worth reading, and you can check that out at BenWelnak.com.  Ben’s cycling and racing perspective and insights can also be found at XXCMag.com, as Ben recently joined Jason and Zandr to do the weekly XXC podcasts ( http://xxcmag.com/xxc-podcasts ).   At RideFatbikes.com, we’re fortunate to have Ben contribute some of his insights and thoughts to issues such as the one below, which is likely on the minds of many of us “fatbike afficionados” as we enter the spring riding season.

If you want to discuss the issue Ben raises, feel free to leave a comment here inline with the article, and we can get the discussion rolling.

Big Betty tire in Twenty2 Cycles Bully fatbike frame

Fatbikes All Year

by Ben Welnak

This winter has been a very interesting one in the mountain biking world. Fatbikes have stormed the scene and left a wake of a whole new range of frames, components, wheels, clothing, races, and other accessories. Many riders have taken advantage of several new options to take the plunge into buying a full new bike for the offseason. They’ve realized the change in mindset that the fatty tires bring. Now, snow, paths, frozen lakes, rocky shorelines, sand, and any other type of riding is just plain fun.

It’s March, daylight savings time starts next weekend, and spring is right around the corner. You have big heavy fat tires and 80mm rims that you bought to prepare for the frozen months, which didn’t seem to appear in a lot of the country. Now, with thawing dirt, are you going to hang up your brand new bike? Or…will you get it rigged up a little different so it’s ready to rock on your regular riding haunts too?

They are great in all conditions, but I understand how all of us think. If I could just have a lighter setup with these big wheels, I could keep the fun and make it a little quicker and easier to get through the hills. We’re always looking to upgrade – if this frame was a little stiffer, this wheel a little lighter, these treads not so much of a drag on the ground. There are talks of “skinny” fatbike tires out there and I’m sure that, after this booming year, there will be plenty of options coming on board at some point in the future.

I thought it would be cool and (hopefully) helpful to try out some different tire options to give you an idea of other options out there to drop weight and make your rig a little faster for the summertime singletrack. This isn’t meant to be the most technical discussion or a specific gear review article. There are plenty of other great people doing that kind of thing already. Rather, it’s meant to be a look at what options are available, try them out, and share the information. I’m not sure how many pieces I will write or where this will even lead. Maybe nowhere and maybe it kicks off a little discussion. We’ll see.

I’ve started out with Schwalbe’s Big Betty freeride tires. At a claimed weight of 870 grams and a width of 2.4 inches, it seemed like a good option to test out. I mounted them to 65mm wide Surly’s Marge Lite rims and kept the pressure around 20 psi. The tires stretched out to a little over 2.6inches, with the tread a little bit narrower than the sidewalls. Not enough to be any issue, but should be noted I tend to start with a fuller tire and then go down from there. Mounted on my Twenty2 Cycles Bully, which is designed for the “traditional” fatty tires, it was an over fun ride.

Big Betty rear tire in Twenty2 Cycles Bully fatbike frame

I’ve only done a little riding on them so far, but it was on some frozen singletrack. The pavement ride to the trail was relatively good. It wasn’t a smooth road tire or a regular 29er tire, but it’s not meant to be. It rolled good for a fatty tire, although it did seem to pick up a lot of small stones. To be expected with a tire with such tread, but it’s noticeably more than you’re probably used to with the other fat tire options.

I definitely have plenty more testing to go on these to feel the full effect. Stay tuned to RideFatbikes.com as I do more testing and writing about these Big Betty tire setup. I will continue to try these out on the Bully and see what I think as I hit more thawed out mountain singletrack. I’m interested in trying some of the new tires later this year and see what is possible with some of these setups.

Feedback is definitely welcome. I’d love to hear what everyone else is running and what ideas you have. Feel free to contact me directly at ben@twenty2cycles.com.

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Filed under Cycling, fatbike gear, Fatbike rims, Fatbikes, RIde Fatbikes, Uncategorized

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout – this weekend!

Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout - this weekend!

As I look out the window and see snow falling (in a MN winter that has been largely snowless), I can’t help but think about what amazing fortune we had to have snow-covered trail for last weekend’s Fatbike Frozen Forty. By the same token, the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout this weekend in the Brainerd Lakes area is equally blessed with the amazing recent snowfall.

I’ve been following the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout information and updates, but am unfortunately unable to attend.  There are quite simply too many great fatbike events in MN (and elsewhere) to get to participate in all of them.  The folks putting on the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout obviously have done their homework, and have created what appears to be an exceedingly well organized and exciting fatbike event, winter race, and festival.  I wish them great luck and success with their event this weekend.

They are continually updating their site with new information about the event, so be sure to check in from time to time if you’re interested about what they’ve got going on this weekend.  For those of us who are observing but not participating, we’d love to get a race report and recap from someone who was in Brained this weekend for the Cuyuna Lakes Whiteout festivities.  If you’d like to see your photos of the event and race report on RideFatbikes.com (with a visibility of over 5000 visitors a month), Contact Us to submit your post and photos for consideration.  Who knows, maybe your photos can even be showcased in the Fatbike Gallery!

 

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Filed under Biking, Cycling, Fatbike Event, fatbike photos, Fatbike race, Fatbikes, RIde Fatbikes, Snow bike

Submit your race reports for guest posts on RideFatbikes.com

Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com

It’s awesome to see the amazing races and fatbike-focused winter events occurring throughout Minnesota and around the country.  We’ve spent so much time and energy focused on building and reporting the success of last weekend’s Fatbike Frozen Forty (a first year event organized by Ride Enterprises / Brad Boyd and sponsored supported by headline sponsor Twenty2 Cycles), that it’s been hard to find time to report on the many other fabulous races.

For those of you who regularly follow RideFatbikes.com, and who attend some of these races in Minnesota or in your own state, we’d appreciate having your race reports submitted to us for guest posts!  Would you like to see your name connected with a great race report that’s visible to over 5000 visitors a month?   After you attend or participate in a great fatbike race, write up a race report (with photos from the event of course) and submit it to us for review and possible posting at RideFatbikes.com.

We’d love to circulate more fatbike news, fatbike race reports and reader write-ups, Contact Us with your ideas.

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Filed under Bike Blogs, Biking, Cycling, Fatbike Event, fatbike photos, Fatbike race, Fatbikes, RIde Fatbikes, Snow bike

Frozen 40 (Triple F) Race Recap, Part I

Frozen 40 prerace (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

The Fatbike Only Endurance Race

The first ever Triple F (Fatbike Frozen Forty) was ON today at Elm Creek Park Reserve Singletrack trail.  This event was SMOKIN’!  Our turnout was beyond expectations (over 50 registered and 45 raced).   Bear in mind, this is a fatbike-only, event, rather than a winter racing event.  Seeing 45 fatbike racers on race day is incredible.

Sponsors

Our generous sponsor involvement and support made the event a thrilling success, and from every rider report I heard all day, the trail, the course, the food, the fun, the people were awesome.  Trail conditions for this 10-mile, 4-lap trail could not have been more perfect.  Nicely packed snow, free of significant ice or major open dirt/mud events.

Twenty2 Cycles

Twenty2 Cycles at Frozen 40 (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

Thanks to our first, primary, and strongest advocate from the inception of this concept, Twenty2 Cycles. Ben and Todd came out from Colorado, packing their truck full of some of the finest looking and most meticulously built fatbikes anyone has ever seen.  Twenty2 Cycles is on my list of all time favorite companies, lead by all-time coolest people.  Ben and Todd (and Twenty2 Cycles), thanks for supporting this event!  Their presence at this event was enough, but these guys brought hand-crafted breakfast burritos to kick-start our 7am set-up.  Twenty2 is class. If you haven’t run into them yet, you should, and you will.

Supporting Sponsors

Our other sponsors are incredible as well.  Maple Grove Cycling and Trailhead Cycling and Fitness each brought significant components to this event.  Maple Grove Cycling contributed music, mechanical support, bike stand, gift certificates, and food.  Trailhead Cycling and Fitness brought a heated tent set-up, grill-out, lots of volunteers & support, LOTS of prizes & give-aways, and plenty of food and encouragement.  This was a full-featured, fully supported bike race, for fatbikes.  Racers had plenty of food, beverage, encouragement, mechanical support, warm-up tent, GREAT trail, handmade in the USA custom fatbikes to test ride, and most importantly, a gathering devoted to fatbikes with an opportunity to race 40 miles, or ride any number of laps a rider was inclined to ride.  Whether it was food, support, or good times, our local bike shop sponsors had racers and spectators covered!

Then add on beer from our beer sponsor (the official beer of the 2012 Triple F)Surly Brewing CoPeace Coffee supplied the coffee that was donated as prizes and used as our morning brew (coffee, that is).  Thanks to Surly and Peace for our beverage support!!  It was hard to find a rider who had completed the event without a Surly in hand or close by.  At 7am pre-race set-up, many of us were fueled by enthusiasm & Peace Coffee.

Prizes

Fatbike Frozen 40 Prizes (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

Our prize table was something to behold.  The best prize was contributed by 45Nrth, a pair of the difficult-to-obtain yet remarkably desirable Husker Du tires.  I got the chance to meet David from 45Nrth.   He is an accomplished photographer and a knowledgeable rider.  Their tires rock in part because they ride what they sell, and are at events talking to racers.  Thanks 44Nrth for supporting those who ride fatbikes!  Check back here or on FatbikeGallery.com – we hope to post some of the great photos taken at this event.

Prizes & swag were rounded out by great stuff from Bar Mitts, XXCMag, and Cognition Caps.  Trailhead had a large amount of swag & prizes, and Maple Grove Cycling added gift cards into the prizes as well.

Thanks also to my friend Matt, who came from Boulder, CO just for the race, and his father, Ray, who made the journey from Brainerd to join Matt in a father-son team.  Thanks to riders who came from Sioux Falls (SD), from IA, and elsewhere to support (and have a blast at) a grass-roots first time event.   If we had 50 registered this year, might this occur again next year?  Hmmm.  stay tuned.

Frozen40 racers, thanks for turning out today and supporting this event.  Without people to take part in such an event, it wouldn’t be an event.  Hopefully you had a great time and will be back again.  Let’s keep the fun going – leave a comment below or share your photos from today to post to FatbikeGallery.com.  We’ll try to add photos as we can.

The Winner

SO, HOW DID THE RACERS DO?  WHO IS THE KING OF THE TRIPLE F?  WHO WON THE FROZEN 40 OPEN CLASS? Let’s just say the bike drop with running start was a blast

King of the Triple F (Photo credit: RideFatbikes.com)

for spectators, and some racers crushed 40 miles of snow-covered singletrack in admirable time.  Check back here tomorrow for results…

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Filed under Biking, Cycling, Fatbike Event, Fatbike Frozen Forty, Fatbike Gallery, fatbike photos, Fatbike Trails, Fatbikes, RIde Fatbikes, Snow bike, Snowbikes, Uncategorized

Winter racing in Leadville Colorado

At RideFatbikes.com, we consider our mission to serve as a resource to the fatbike community.  We’ve had great support from readers who’ve taken time to email or comment, applauding our efforts to highlight news and information that they may not otherwise stumble upon.

We’re fortunate that our readers and collaborators also volunteer photos, information and ideas that allow us to bring even more depth to this site.  Our friend Ben Welnak at Twenty2 Cycles (primary sponsor of the Fatbike Frozen Forty) sent this write-up over.  Ben rides and races a lot, so when he makes a ride sound this great, it’s likely pretty great.  You can check out his site too, at BenWelnak.com.

Here’s what Ben has to say about the Leadville Mountain Bike winter race series…

Leadville Mountain Bike Series Race #2 – Tennessee Pass Night Jam

by:  Ben Welnak – Twenty2 Cycles ( https://www.twenty2cycles.com/ )

There are many new winter races in 2012.  Meanwhile, the Leadville Series Winter Mountain Bike Series has been around for several years.  There is a good local and loyal following for this four-race series.  With snow and mountains, who wouldn’t want to race?

This is the description of the race series from the Cloud City Wheelers website ( http://www.cloudcitywheelers.com/events-rides/ )

“These unique and exciting races occur throughout the winter in and around Leadville. Utilizing groomed nordic ski trails and snowmobile trails, these races are a great way to keep riding and racing during the off-season. Three of the races are even held at night! A typical course is 12 miles with a mix of spine-tingling conditions. Cost is $20 per race.

All proceeds from the race series go towards Cloud City Wheelers advocacy efforts. These races always end with plenty of tasty food and beverages, laughter and dang good times. Come on up and enjoy the ride!”

All of the races are open to both fatbikes and regular mountain bikes.  In the past there were a limited number of fatbikes racing, but, as you can imagine, this year there are plenty of fatbikes showing up, which almost makes it necessary to split the regular bikes and fatbikes into their own categories.

The first race of the series, the “Copper en Fuego”, was on January 14th at Copper Mountain.  It was a new race for 2012 and was very popular.  160 racers showed up and learned what the Leadville Series ise all about.  From the sound of all the comments, it was all smiles and all fun.

This past Saturday night, 64 racers braved the near zero degree temperatures and 10,000+ft elevation to toe the line at 7pm under the full moon to crank out 12 miles on the groomed ski trails of the Tennessee Pass Nordic Center http://tennesseepass.com/nordic-center/  . While all the races are unique because of the elevation, temperature, and, well, racing in the dead of winter, this race is especially unique because it’s a great example of the collaboration of a cross country ski specific center with fatbikes and regular mountain bikes.  The nordic center is gracious enough to host the entire event (with a toastly fireplace and cabin surroundings), from sign-in to post race warmup, beer, and pasta dinner….all for $20.

The course was freshly groomed and mostly hardpack.  The first 3-4 miles were a little soft for regular mountain bikes though and I was breaking through too much to keep up with the wider guys.  The rest of the course was nice packed and provided enough traction to put down some good riding.  Over the 12 mile, the course had a total elevation gain of about 1,500 feet, which feels like almost double that at some points because of the snow.  The key of the race was to stay on the skate deck and steer clear of the classical tracks.  The tracks can be dangerous by grabbing your tires and throwing racers off into the soft, unpacked 2+ feet of snow in the woods.

The top three men were Taylor Sheldon, Jordan Carr, and Erik Lobeck.  The top 3 singlespeeders were Jerry Oliver (friend of Twenty2 Cycles, Eric Cutlip, and Barry Croker).  The top 3 women were Stephanie Jones, Amanda Good, and Erin Allaman.  For the full results of the races, you can check the results page  http://www.cloudcitywheelers.com/2012-leadville-winter-mountain-bike-race-results/  .

An event like this proves that cross country ski areas can work with local groups to produce great events for alternate trail users.  It should be interesting to see how the future unfolds for the relationship between fatbikers and cross country skiers.

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Winter commuting in MN

Last week, I was fortunate to commute by bike to work twice in the week.  It was cold, but the small amount of snow we had so far was gone so the streets were free of the icy conditions that can make bike commuting even more dangerous.  On Friday (December 2nd) the temp was 14 degrees as I rode into work in the morning, and it didn’t get much warmer by evening.  However, as many winter bikers and fatbikers know, dressing for the weather makes all the difference.

I typically don’t bike commute much in winter due to ice/snow on streets making it even more difficult than usual to stay safely clear of cars, but the rides this week were great.  By bike, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of winter that are always missed when you drive.  I kept some warm coffee in a Polar Bottle in my frame bag, and at stoplights I had a chance to refuel and warm up with some piping hot coffee.

Let’s hear some winter commuting stories!  Share your favorite winter commuting experiences, stories or pics on RideFatbikes.com.   Add a comment to this post or email me and I’ll try to get it posted to the website.  In the meantime, here are a few pics from this last week’s winter commute.

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