Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Fat is Better...In This Case

Once again, I've stumbled on something almost everyone else knows about. I'm not ashamed to admit it since it obviously happens frequently. This, however, intrigues me more than most "new" facts.
Awhile ago, I wrote about a cardboard bike designed and produced by a person in Israel. I learned about it from my son who hinted that he might try to get me one since he had business contacts in that country. Alas, it didn't happen, but it was a fascinating possibility. Such is the case with the "fat bike" that is all the rage in particularly snowy climes.
Since Wisconsin is what I might consider "snowy," I found this invention thought-provoking. It is extremely popular in alaska and other northern snow packs, and, naturally, there are races every winter among contestants riding them. In fact, the North American Birkebeiner, held every year in Hayward, Wisconsin, is opening its race trail for one day only this year in order to capitalize on the newest competitive fashion: fat bike racing.
Weighing in at a hefty 35  (or so) pounds, these behemoths are designed to plow through snow of up to eight inches or so without bogging down. They supposedly work well in sand as well. The tires are sometimes four inches wide, double the width of a standard mountain bike tire, and the tire pressure can be as low as 15 psi; this naturally makes for a "squishy" ride, but one that will move the rider through the most unsettled terrain that would conquer a standard off-road bike. In addition, the bike features extra wide rims (of course) and odd frame configurations.
Referred to as "pedal-powered monster trucks," these bikes are not cheap: prices start at around $1500. However, in the snow country, they are incredibly popular and have generated a buzz in the cycling world as the next "big" thing.
Since I try to ride to work every day in the winter and the plows don't often get to our neighborhood quickly, this might seem to be the perfect mode of transportation for me. However, the snow gets packed and turns icy...making any form of riding an adventure.
I'm heading to the bike shop this week to check it out, though.


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