It’s been a long and icy winter in New York, but there are plenty of people willing to brave the slush and bike to work (or for work) everyday. While our own Allison Cline has kept riding her baby on the regular, some bold riders have latched onto fat bikes, which will let you roll over most anything this winter.
Some riders have bumped up to the fatty, whose 3.8-inch tires can run at an absurdly low tire pressure, so your ride will feel like butter even as you hit curbs and ice mounds. Although Surly has been making fat bikes for years, they’ve only recently been used for more than a mountain bike alternative. And some riders have found that it’s the best way to ride over that compressed-snow-that’s-almost-ice that builds up on every sidewalk and bike lane in the city.
Joe Nocella over at 718 Bikes in Brooklyn says he’s sold two or three fat bikes this year, but expects more in the future – if not to go shred upstate, then for the sheer novelty factor here in the city.
It makes sense that the fat bikes caught on first in colder bike-obsessed cities like Minneapolis, Chicago, and Madison. They were first developed (unsurprisingly) in Alaska, and has developed a culture of its own. In fact, many mountain bikers have put their full-suspension bikes aside to ride a fatty – which, some say, feels as smooth as riding a road bike, but over much less forgiving terrain.
For the true test of the fatty, take it upstate and try out some trails that are generally left to mountain bikers in the summer – but are perfect for fat biking in the winter. Many cities mentioned above, from Minnesota to Anchorage, have fat bike rentals, so you don’t have to drop a ton of money to try one out.
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