Fatbiking best practices…

Unrelated to building bikes of the Fat variety, but an interesting post on Fat-Bike.com about IMBA’s new draft Fatbiking “best practices.”  Sad that stuff like this needs to be drafted and stated at all but i guess it’s a good thing.  I’ll just repeat here what I commented there which is about only one part of the draft – tire width and bike choice.

“The tire cutoff value is too specific and should be left out. For example, you can leave serious ruts if it’s soft condition snow or groomers even with a 4.5″ tire. Alternatively, if it’s early in the morning and cold, or on a well-packed groomer, a 29er with 2″ wide regular MTB tires won’t leave a mark at all! So there’s really no reason to make people feel like they NEED to buy a Fatbike in order to ride on the snow.  They’ll choose the right bike and tire size for the given conditions (or they’ll be suffering and walking a ton!).  Leaving it at the basics of having the OK to ride on private property, yielding to other users, and using common sense seems sufficient.”

ok…so i edited it a little bit to be clearer but no matter, same ideas.

darkness ahead
go as far as you can, i dare you!

I’m surprised that this is even an issue (Fatbikes on groomed trails or on snowmobile tracks).  There’s no ‘damage’ of the trail bed, and there really doesn’t appear to be that many people out there riding bikes on the trails so user conflict should be negligible.  Damage to XC ski tracks and skate ski corduroy, sure, I see the problem with messing up that if you’re sinking in too much, but what if Fatbikes could be allowed at XC ski areas before the groomers go through in the morning, or at the end of the day just before closing time when skiers aren’t around (or if they are, they aren’t paying for a ticket).  Seems so easy! Could charge a season or day “Fatbike Pass” and make extra cash, and in the wee hours of the morning the groomer goes through and wipes any slight record of tire tracks away.

Well anyways…this isn’t a problem where I recently moved (yet).  I appear to be the only person on a bike on the groomed trails at the end of Foresthill Road.

Huge Cedar
That is a big damn tree.

4 thoughts on “Fatbiking best practices…

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  1. Just like uphill access, ski areas are going to need to address the rise of fat bikes. Both are similar to snowboards, 20-years ago.

  2. Around here (UT) the fatbike folks are almost universally hated by the XC skiers, and as far as I can tell, for good reason – unless things are rock hard, they leave awful divots all over the place (especially if they wander onto the classic track). I like the idea of riding when the conditions are right – but people seem to feel like if they got all geared up, they deserve to ride, and screw everyone else (that’s not unique to fatbikers, of course). I think your neck of the woods is the exception – now way are you causing problems for the slednecks or hunters.

    1. That’s sad to hear that there are already problems out on the trails as I bet many of those XC skiers also ride bikes and vice versa.

      Opening Nordic trails after dark to fatbikes is one way to keep people happy so the groomers come by and wipe any trace of tire tracks away before the morning. But the Nordic areas are the worser places to ride anyways IMO. Too many people and wide trails. Snowshoe trails are awesome!

      Really I wonder if the fatbikers just need to find the sledneck trails in their area – if they exist and most areas will have them, or take it upon themselves to create their own (on the summer trails on public lands). Work with the Forest Service to designate some travel routes before it’s too late!

      For me here, it’s really weird. I’m definitely in the exception. I can ride 40 miles on sled or groomed trails to Donner Pass, or take many side roads that go who knows where? There are hundreds of people riding road and mtbs just down the road in Auburn, and as far as I’ve seen not one owns a fatbike (yet…).

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