Fat biking is here to stay, and cities, land managers, and trails organizations are working to make winter destinations for cyclists looking to get out regardless of the temperature. It may not be replacing the ski trip just yet, but these are a few spots hoping to lure fat bikers in for some winter riding.
In 2016, Adventure Cyclist Technical Editor Nick Legan flew to Marquette with other journalists to check out Marquette’s growing fat bike infrastructure. Of course, unlike skiing, powder days are the enemy of fat bikers, and much of Legan’s trip was “snowed out.” But with 60 miles of groomed trail across three different networks, Marquette is tough to beat for a Midwest destination. Check out Nick Legan’s full report.
It might one of the more out-of-the-way resorts in Colorado, but Crested Butte offers enough fat biking that it played host to the 2018 Fat Bike World Championships last month. The Crested Butte Mountain Bike Association (CBMBA) provides updated grooming reports for dozens miles of local trails. And if you’ve ever been to Crested Butte, you know the views can’t be beat.
Yeah, we’re biased on this one, but Missoula’s fat bike scene is growing fast. The local Fat Bike Missoula group grooms about eight miles of winding singletrack just east of town with a home-brewed electric groomer. And a trio of spots on the edges of Missoula have miles of trail packed down by hikers and snowshoers that offer a variety of experiences. Plus, Missoula’s relatively mild winters don’t require the same level of die-hard dress as some Midwest destinations.
It’s not a single destination, but when most cyclists think fat bikes, they think Minnesota. That’s because the home of Quality Bicycle Products (parent of Surly and Salsa, two of the fat bike pioneers) is crazy for fat bikes. Minnesota’s department of natural resources maintains trails around the state, including right in the Minneapolis-St. Paul metro area at Elm Creek, Fort Snelling State Park, and Theodore Wirth Park. Don’t miss Duluth, that college town-turned-mountain-bike-mecca stays bike-mad in winter. And you know trail users will be polite — it is Minnesota after all!
Vermont’s Kingdom Trail system is one of the best in the world in the summer, and thanks to the Kingdom Trail Association the winter riding is catching up fast. The group grooms about 25 miles of singletrack for cyclists and works closely with the local nordic group to keep the different user groups on good terms.
Quebec is another destination that’s too big to pick just one spot. From the winter DH trail at Sentiers du Moulin to crossing Lac Saint-Jean on big wheels, this cycling-mad province doesn’t slow down for winter. Just don’t forget your layers — this isn’t a “dry cold!”