17. Wyoming
What is the point?

What is the point?

When searching online for “fat tire bike”, one of the first entries that pops up is “What is the point of a fat tire bike?” This question (statement?) is in complete alignment with what Stéphane and I had previously thought about fat tire bikes – what is the point? Why are the tires so fat, why do people ride bikes in the winter anyways? Are they just trying to be different/cool/trendy? WHY????

Mike, one of the parents at Hugo’s school, has been talking up fat tires since we first met him. So as the weather turned chilly and the flakes started to fly, Stéphane and I decided to rent two fat tire bikes for the day and see what the hoopla was all about.

What are these fat tire bikes about anyways?
Show off! 🙂
It’s slippery!

It turns out, it’s actually really, really fun. And challenging. Floating over a snowy trail, sliding, falling into a snowbank, giggling at yourself and feeling like you’re eight years old again is not a bad way to spend an afternoon. It takes extra effort to get where you want to go, so even if it’s in the ‘teens and the wind is blowing, you’re warm and cozy (and sweaty) in your layers.

After frolicking on rented rigs for the day, I was hooked. What a pleasant way to sweat, burn, smile and enjoy the snowy trails. It’s the perfect date and a nice change of pace from winter climbing. Stéphane was on the fence but I talked him into pulling the trigger and we haven’t looked back! 

Topping out on The Switchback (Loop Road)
Playing on Lower Brewers
Stéphane doing some crazy winter riding on his shift in Rawlins.
Night ride around the Rawlins airport (he’s crazy!)

So what do you wear when you’re riding a bike in the middle of winter? After some trial and error, more experimentation, and scoping out other guys on the trails, we managed to hone in on the proper assortment of clothing. As is my M.O., I always wear too many layers but I’d rather be sweaty than freezing. It can be a constant adjustment – unzip to keep cool when you’re working hard on the uphills, button up and even throw on a puffy if you’re going downhill. 

Our most recent adventure was a full-on frolic on the Loop Road, a 32 mile trek from South Pass all the way home. 

We nearly pulled the plug before we even started at South Pass. The wind was whipping, snow was falling, and it looked miserable.

Stephane said, “let’s give it a shot!”
So we kept pedaling and pedaling and the further we got, the more I thought, “maybe we can make it all the way home!”
A quick photo break at Louis Lake Lodge, ten miles in.
The sun peeked out at one point, but quickly hid behind the clouds again. It was cold and windy but we kept pushing for home. We were past the point of no return – we have to keep pushing forward for home otherwise we’d be late picking Hugo up from school.
The entire Loop Road is groomed- and groomed (smooshed) snow is what makes it possible to ride in the winter. Thanks to the groomers, snowmobilers, and snowshoers who help to pack the snow and make biking in the winter possible!
Near the end, coming down The Switchbacks. The wind was INTENSE here, drifts of snow covered the road and made sections pretty challenging to bike through.
But we did it! Four hours and twenty minutes of riding, 2,500 feet of elevation gain (and a whole lot of loss), 32 miles in the wind and snowy foothills of the Wind River Mountains. Such a good, good time!!

So, what’s the point of fat tire bikes? Those wide tires keep you aloft on the snowy trails and offer miles and miles and smiles. It’s a legit good-time winter activity that has come stay in the Hefti household!

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