What are Fat Bikes?

01/08/2018

What are Fat Bikes?

What are Fatbikes?

So what are fatbikes, exactly? In the world of cycling (mountain biking in particular), they seem to be all the rage. You may have even seen them on your travels; odd looking bikes with unusually wide tyres with wide forks to accommodate them.

Or you’ve heard about them being used on great expeditions taken across unforgiving terrain. They initially gained notoriety when cyclist Jean Naud designed a three-wheel version for desert travel, cycling from Niger to Algeria on his first trial in the 1980’s. From there, Naud tweaked the design and traversed the Sahara Desert in 1986 using tyres designed explicitly by industry giants Michelin.

The main benefit to a fatbike is that the larger tyres exert less pressure on the ground, meaning that softer surfaces such as sand, bogs, snow and gravel can be travelled upon with greater ease than using a standard mountain bike. Fatbikes are most popular in the USA, yet there are a growing number of events in Europe with plenty of Alpine nations keen to get in on the act. Fatbiking in winter is undoubtedly popular, with Switzerland hosting the 2019 Snow Bike Festival in Gstaad.

And with official UCI accreditation, it is one of the most prestigious blue riband events in the snow biking calendar. While the event in Gstaad will take place over four days, there are ultra-marathon events like the Iditarod Trail Invitational, with activities ranging from 150km to 1000km taking place over the snow in Alaska. That indeed may sound like hard work, but if you think that is unimaginable, you ought to hear about Daniel Burton’s expedition. A computer programmer by trade, Burton was in his 40’s and out of shape.

Worried about his health, he decided to take up mountain biking in 2008 and from there entered the world of fatbiking. Having heard about Eric Larsen’s abandoned attempt to fatbike to the South Pole in 2012, Burton fancied his chances of making it all the way. Having trained for a year, Burton arrived at Hercules Inlet on 2nd December 2013 and made the 1,247km journey to the South Pole, arriving on January 21st 2014 and completing one of the most impressive fat tyre bike tours ever undertaken.

Whereabouts Fat Tyre Bike Tours

If you think cycling all the way to the South Pole may be a little too taxing, don’t worry! Our fatbike holidays are still plenty of fun, but perhaps a little easier on the body. Our first holiday is over four days and takes place at the historic town of Schladming. Home to the famous night slalom event on the skiing world cup tour, there are plenty of exciting trails for you to cycle on and there is even the opportunity for a spot of tobogganing. You can check out our great fatbiking in Austria holiday for more details.

If you fancy heading to Scandinavia, we also offer fatbiking in Finland taking place over six nights. You could be biking in northern Finland in the very heart of the bear kingdom, next to the Russian border. Alternatively, combine fatbiking and snowshoeing, including a day at Hossa, Finland’s newest national park. With dozens of snow holidays to choose from, this is only the tip of the iceberg for Whereabouts Holiday adventures. Get in touch with our team of knowlegable travel advisors today to find out more.