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Have you seen these bikes around town and wondered what the heck was going on? Fat bikes have been gaining traction over the last few years in McCall for their ability to grip surfaces a traditional mountain bike would not be able to traverse. And as Nick Bohnstedt, a lifelong mountain biker and McCall resident points out, “fat bikes are a great way to stay fit in the winter for those of us who are less than graceful on Nordic skis.”
Groomed trails at areas like Jug Mountain Ranch and the Activity Barn are a great place to start. In fact, Jug Mountain Ranch was the first resort in Valley County to open up all of its trails to fat biking and now they boast a network of fat bike-specific trails. This winter, look for a new groomed fat bike trail at McCall’s Activity Barn. You can even ride a conveyor lift to the top of the ridge to save time for extra downhill laps.
“It is amazing to be able to mountain bike all year round,” says Bohnstedt. The big 4-inch-wide tires use low air pressure (5-10 psi) and this provides more traction and stability on ice and snow, helping the tires to “float” over slippery surfaces. While the big tires and weight of a fat bike translate into better balance, that also means you are going to get a great workout when you ride.
“Riding a fat bike is a lot slower and more technical than traditional mountain biking,” Bohnstedt says. Most fat bikes are single speed which means that you will need plenty of muscle to power them. Because of this, Bohnstedt recommends renting first. “You aren’t going to be an expert right away,” he says. “There are a few new skills and techniques to master, but with a little patience and an appreciation for being outside, you will love it.”
Once you have mastered the snow, take your fat bike on the trails all season! You can use these bikes to get around town after a heavy snow or during the springtime when dirt roads are soft and saturated. Plus, Bohnstedt says, “Hunters are discovering the benefits of fat biking for their ability to cover a lot of ground quietly, especially when many roads close to motorized vehicles during the fall rut.” Just be sure that as you venture farther out, you also pack necessary safety gear, food and extra water…just in case.
Gravity Sports | gravitysportsidaho.com
Half Day ($40), Full Day ($45), 24 Hour Rental ($50)
McCall Sports Exchange | mccallsports.com
Half Day ($25), Full Day ($35), 24 Hour ($45), Weekly ($185)
Apex Electric Bikes | rollapex.com
Half Day ($55), Full Day ($75), 24 Hour ($85), Weekly ($300)
North Valley Rail Trail System | http://www.valleycountypathways.org/
Activity Barn | activitybarn.com, 208-634-3298
Jug Mountain Ranch | jugmountainranch.com/nordic/, 208-634-5072
Tamarack Resort | tamarackidaho.com, 208-325-1030