Fat biking, like many outdoor activities, has seen a big uptick in popularity as people to look for new ways to enjoy the outdoors.
After a fresh dump of snow, a recent tour of Kimberley’s Lois Creek Trails showed how the new Snowdog machine is creating trails for fat bike riders to enjoy. The gas-driven, track-powered machine is used to tow either a toboggan for grooming through deep snow, or a custom-built plate groomer, used to create corduroy trails.
“In the winter it snows, but that doesn’t stop people from using the trails, so last winter we decided we should start grooming the trails to make them better for everybody to use,” says PJ Hunton, a board member with the Kimberley Trails Society.
Hunton said fat biking has grown substantially over the past seven to eight years as it’s a great way for cyclists to be able to still recreate in the winter, and it’s a lot of fun — and even more fun, he adds, if the trails are groomed.
The plan for this winter, Hunton said, is to groom a loop through Lois Creek which includes trails such as Powerline, Skid Trail, The Cabin Trail, and A-Frame, and then another loop encompassing trails such as Elbow Road, Apache, Edge Trail and Army Road. That will result in two different spots with two different loops approximately 15 kilometres each.
“The Trails Society is stoked to have this machine and to be able to groom the trails because it really does make the winter trail experience much better, and we’ve really got a send a huge shoutout to the community of Kimberley and some of the local businesses for opening up their pocket books and really making this happen, because without the community it certainly wouldn’t be here.”
With people seeking new ways to recreate more than ever due to the pandemic, interest in fat biking has grown exponentially, and it can be tricky to find a bike.
“If you’re looking for a fat bike these days, go to your local bike store like here in Kimberley, Bootleg Bike Co. or Blackdog Cycle and Ski, they may or may not have fat bikes left in stock,” Hunton said. “They’re a hot commodity these days, like everything in cycling, but don’t be scared to look online and on the Kijijis and the Facebook marketplaces of the world as well if the local bike shops are sold out.”
Mat Boudreau, co-owner of Bootleg Bike Co. agrees that fat biking’s popularity has soared in recent month and said that his store’s stock was all snatched up, other than a handful of the electric bikes.
Bootleg used to rent fat bikes as well, but COVID made that virtually impossible, so they hope they can rent them out again next year. The store does have all the accessories you would need for fat biking, such as lights, studded tires and winter riding apparel, plus they have an extremely knowledgeable staff who are happy to share their wisdom about the sport and are also equipped to do repairs.
Please note that Provincial Health Protocols currently advise against travelling outside your region to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
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