Fat bikes, also known as snow bikes, are specially-adapted mountain bikes with large tires that have turned cycling into a four-season sport in Northern Michigan. The tires come in widths of 3.7 or 4.5 inches and are capable of biking on snow and sand.
Northern Michigan, a region known for its long winters and even longer bike trails, is a popular year-round destination and the area has quickly embraced the Fat Bike trend. “Fat Biking is the answer for a lot of people that don’t currently have a winter sport or are looking to try a new one,” says Jason Lowetz, co-owner of Einstein Cycles, one of the area’s biggest Fat Bike dealers. “There’s no learning curve. You just get a bike and ride and have fun.”
The new form of biking is on the rise as a group activity with shops sponsoring weekly group rides that accommodate anywhere from 20 to 30 people. Riders also meet for a winter ride/potluck event called Friday Night Lights where attendees ride together in the dark forest and get together afterward for a potluck.
“Anyone who can ride a bike can ride a Fat Bike,” says Lowetz. “We’re still out riding every chance we get and it’s never a ‘weather pending’ type of ride. We ride in all types of weather and have an absolute blast doing it.”
Fat Bikes are available to rent hourly or for a day and prices range anywhere from $10 for two hours to $60 per day.