Winter is here. Are you making the most of our Michigan winter? Fat biking is a great way to utilize the outdoors while it's covered in snow. Through our trials and errors, we have four tips for successful day fat biking.
#1: Tire Pressure
Air pressure in the tires can change from the garage or hotel room at 70 degrees to the outside air temp at freezing temperature. This is especially true if you have a tubeless setup.
You want them to be out in the cold for 30 minutes prior to riding, then check the tire pressure. The best tire pressure for mountain biking in the winter is between 5 and 10 psi.
This low pressure allows the tires to grip the trail better, providing more traction and stability.
If you have a tubular set, one burp of air around that seal will leave you feeling like Yeti as you're walking back to the dang truck.
#2: Dress Warm
The trick is to have enough layers on so that as you work and warm up, you can start taking off clothes or opening up the layers to avoid any sweating.
If you sweat, the sweat is going to get very cold, and then it'll cause you to cool down especially as you stop moving. Try to stay away from cotton as it will not wick away moisture, and when it gets wet, it's going to stay wet.
Synthetic or wool materials are best as they're breathable and quickly dry. Other accessories are helpful such as gloves to block the wind, hiking boots to keep your feet dry, and then water-resistant pants to keep the snow from settling on the front of your legs.
A neck gator is great to help keep the cold air off your face and don't forget some sweet goggles or glasses to protect your eyes on a windy, snowy, or even just an overcast day.
#3: Wear a Helmet
You're going to be outdoors in the cold sometimes on slippery or unpredictable terrain. In case of an accident, it is important to protect that brain while riding.
Some places for riding groom the trails that allow for an easier ride. We love the Vasa up in Traverse City. They take amazing care of the trails, and if you're new and you don't even have your own bike yet, Einstein Cycles has a great fleet of bikes that you can rent so that you can try this awesome, amazing way of getting out in the outdoors.
#4: Stay Seated
Once you find yourself headed to the trailhead, when you get on the bike, try and stay seated. While riding, keeping a consistent cadence or pedal speed and staying seated will keep you from losing traction on the snow. Standing actually shifts weight off the back tire and it's more likely to slip.
There is nothing more frustrating than putting down more pressure on the pedal stroke only to have your back tire kick out from under you and feel like that momentum gets completely lost. As for that consistent cadence, this will help your tires remain in good contact with the snow propelling you.
If you jam down on the pedal, it's likely to cause that rear tire to slip. Standing up and cranking down on those pedals to help start climbing up the switchbacks is great, but remember the snow is a whole new ball game.
While in the beginning, you may feel like a snail, slow and steady is key to fat biking.
We hope these four tips for winter fat biking can help you get started on the right path to enjoying your experience. We can't wait to see you out in the wilderness, everyone.