KALISPELL - Fat tire bikes have become so popular after their debut in 2013 that there is now a Global Fat Bike Day.
While early models of fat tire bikes have been around since the 1970s and 1980s, the industry didn’t really take off until nearly ten years ago.
“Fat bikes are kind of a unique bike but in our neck of the woods, we certainly found out that you ride them five months of the year, potentially. As you can see, the snow hit our yards on November 2, and it's still here. We have a saying around here that the snow that falls in November is the same snow that's in your yard in April. So without a fat bike, there's a long period of time where you just can't ride that well on the trails,” explained Wheaton's Cycle owner Hans Axelsen.
These bikes have created a unique opportunity for the cycling community to stay active and in shape during winter.
“I think we just all love cycling. Living here, you get the winter months and so you want to bike. And so this is the way to get on the pedals and keep pedaling. And I think it started that way but it ends up being a lot of fun. I think a lot of people look forward to fat tire season,” said Global Fat Bike Day ride participant Luke Johnson.
While many people use these bikes to commute in the snow, the group at Wheaton’s Cycle took it a bit farther o ver the weekend and did a mountain bike-style ride.
“It's pretty exhilarating. I always say that if you like biking and you like snow, you're probably gonna like fat biking. Because it's when you're coming down the trail you're having that mountain biking experience through the woods. It's quiet, but you're on a fat bike and it's pretty exhilarating and it makes you want to go do it again for sure,” said Axelsen.
Global Fat Bike Day is traditionally the first Saturday in December, but riders can go cycling anytime throughout the weekend. The main point of this day is to get out and ride fat tire bikes.
“We do it just purely for fun, to stay healthy and get a little exercise. It also brings a bunch of people together so you get a nice social day," said Axelsen.