I bought my first fat bike in November 2014 from On One, as many people did. The On One Fatty was a lot of peoples first (and last) dip of the toe in the plus size tyre water. It was part of a pact with a couple of riding friends, along the lines of “if you buy one, so will I” I think the fear was being the only rider on a fatty and being left behind by your skinny tyre shod contempories. So three of us dived in head first and bought a fatty. One soon fell by the wayside and gave up but two of us persevered into the winter hoping for some suitable fat bike weather, i.e. snow.
Unfortunately, we were disappointed that year, no snow just the usual frosts and rain. The bikes though were awesome, they coped well with most conditions, only the slimiest mud would throw them off line as they floated over the surface. I fitted a dropper post and even though the bike had a rigid fork technical trails were great fun. The confidence those fat tyres give is immense.
2015 came and I rode on through the dry summer months, my other bikes lay neglected as the fatty just got more and more fun. Winter arrived and we had a light dusting of snow but barely enough to register.
2016 came and I experienced one thing the fat bike excels at-sand! We rode from Dolgellau to Barmouth and played on the dunes with tyres pressures below 5psi. the bike was such a laugh, the things it could climb up and traverse surprised my. As we rode back along the disused railway (having put the tyres back to 10psi) we talked about how we needed to try these beasts out in snow, but alas it wasn’t to be.
In 2017 I upgraded my fat bike to a Smokestone henderson. This bike was designed in England by a fat bike enthusiast and bike shop owner by the name of Graham Foot. Based on UK trail friendly geometry the bike took my riding to the next level. I road natural trails, trail centres, long road rides (70 miles on tarmac on a fat bike is an adventure itself) I even raced 24hr races on it.
Then in December 2017 it happened, my part of the UK had a large fall of snow and we were out in it before it had peaked. It was brilliant! Deep drifts didn’t phase it, there were falls, slide outs, giggles and above all fun! The snow coincided with a weekend so I spend more time out than I did at home!
The weird thing was after the snow had gone I seem to have reached peak fat bike, no ride was going to compare, I had ticked all the fat bike boxes and as spring came I was riding other bikes and I’m sad to say the fat bike got put away into the loft for storage. It would sit there in the dark neglected for 10 months.
I must thank Roy and Judy McNeil for my falling back into love with fatbikes. Every year they organise a ride to celebrate Global fat bike day down in Surrey. This year it was based around Leith hill and the super trails they have. The weather was pants, heavy rain the whole day but it was the best 20 miles I’ve had on a mountainbike for ages and ages and since then I’ve not been off the fat bike when riding off road. The love is back. I’ve fallen in love, out of love and plunged back in again.
This time if we have snow I’m not going to make the same mistake again.