Friday, December 22, 2017
Winter and Québec City go hand in hand. A stroll in the Petit-Champlain after a fresh snowfall should convince pretty much everyone. But to go through a winter, lazy strolls are not enough, you must get active! Traditional activities like snowshoeing, ice skating and cross-country skiing easily come to mind, but what if you prefer to ride a bicycle? Enter fat biking.
What is a Fat Bike?
Fat bikes are a subgenre of mountain bikes that come with bulbous tires, usually between 4 and 5 inches wide. This type of tire allows for a combination of a wider contact patch, massive air volume and low air pressure, which multiply traction on surfaces like snow and sand.
Why Ride a Fat Bike? Here are 3 Reasons:
1 No lessons needed
It’s like riding a bicycle, really: pedal and steer! Of course riding on snow will require some adjustment, but anyone who can already ride a bicycle should feel right at home on a fat bike.
2 Accessible rentals
Winter sports aren’t cheap and fat biking is no exception. That’s why most trail centers have complete rental fleet on site. Bikes are usually available in hour blocks, making it easy to plan ahead.
3 Active contemplation
Snow filled trees, frozen ponds, ice cascades… Winter can be beautiful. Thanks to being on wheels, you’ll be keeping your body warm, while covering more ground to reach those picture-perfect spots. Winter is also an ideal time to revisit summer vistas. The now leafless trees open up the view, redefining the landscape.
Top Pick for Beginners
With a rental fleet of over 60 fat bikes, including kids and electric assist models, E47 Éco Sentiers at Lac Delage is the ideal area for a first fat bike outing. Guiding services are also available upon request.
Where to ride?
You can ride your fat bike almost everywhere but they work best on packed snow and machine groomed trails. Check out this Web page to learn more about Québec City Area's fat bike trails.
On Clothing and Gear
Layers, layers, layers
Expect high exertion and dress accordingly. You don’t want to overheat and end up all wet in the cold. That means proper layering with base layer, mid layers and extra clothing you can use to trap heat if you stop for a break to fix a flat tire. Spare handwear and headwear are also a good idea. If it’s really cold outside, consider riding with pogies and a frame bag.
If your fat bike is equipped with flat pedals (clipless pedals aren’t necessary!), good winter boots with a flat-ish sole will do the trick. If you sweat a lot, it might be a good idea to use vapour barrier liners to keep your feet dry.
Snow reflects sunlight and cold winter winds are tough on the eyes. Fog resistant and polarized eyewear will be a nice addition for anyone with sensitive eyes.
About Gabriel Gakwaya
Gabriel is a lovable geek with two main addictions: coffee and mountain biking. His life is a combination of screen time, bike time, and snowboard time.