To tell the story of the fat bike, you must start with the universe. I’m not going to, but I will start a few thousand years ago.. briefly.
Disclaimer: I’m not a scientist. I ride bikes and love the Bay of Quinte region. This is a story of the things I’ve learned while living and riding bikes in the area.
Gilbert’s Gulch was what we call the area between Ottawa, and the Kawarthas. The name refers to the area at the point in time before Prince Edward County existed. The County was still buried under many sheets of glacial ice. Bored yet?
As I understand it, the gulch (known as Gilbert) was dragged away by glacial recession more than 10,000 years ago. The glacier left a thick coat of till in it’s tracks. It even carved a few rivers on it’s way out. That’s how we ended up with the mighty Moira, the Trent, and Napanee rivers.
Wasn’t this about bikes?
Ontario is full of varied terrain. Hastings & Prince Edward Edward County is no exception. Those glaciers left behind a great environment for all types of cycling. Road cyclists, and randonneurs have thousands of kilometres of country road with many hilly routes (for those who like to suffer). Even a mountain bike scene is developing with volunteers, and official IMBA status. Why leave all this beautiful land to those willing to push their limits?
What about those of us who just want a nice – flat – enjoyable ride?
That is where the fat bike comes in. Remember balloon tire bikes? I don’t, but my grandfather makes reference to the “50lb beast” whenever we talk bike. Fat bikes are not that. They are simply fat tire bikes. There are many shapes and sizes, but you’ll know you’ve spotted one if those tires are over three inches. They look like tractor tires… almost.
We all know the spring itch in our legs inspiring us to hop on two wheels and get going, but what about as the snow begins to fall? The road bikes might be snugly packed away until the ice melts, but there are still plenty of opportunities to ride around the region, especially if you’re hopping on a fat bike. Here are our top three picks for big wheels this winter:
Bet you never thought you’d be cruising the dunes on two wheels! A fat bike’s large tires make sandy conditions a breeze. Try your hand at climbing or traverse the park’s trails on a mild day.
Traverse farmers fields, forests and marshes along the old rail bed that is the Millennium Trail, which crosses paths with the grounds of a handful of Prince Edward County wineries where you can stop in and quench your thirst.
This ride will take you through Madoc, Marmora and Stirling, or you can expand your route to check out Havelock, Eldorado and Tweed. A packed base holds up well under a blanket of snow, and there are plenty of small town stops to warm up along the way.