When conditions are even too extreme for mountain bikes, UK enthusiasts are increasingly jumping on fat bikes to traverse formerly impossible routes. Fat bikes are beefed up mountain bikes with special dimensions that allow them to be ridden over pretty much any terrain you can imagine, from mud, ice, wet rocks, snow to the burliest single tracks available. Massive tyres range from 3.7-8’’ to Surly’s obscene 4.5’’. 100mm wide rims, large-volume, low-pressure and terrific traction give cyclists a whole new range of UK environments to explore well off the beaten path.
Fat bikes are gaining popularity across the world. Minnesotans are leading the US with hundreds of races throughout the winter months that take riders through some of the deepest and most difficult winter terrain available in North America. Alaska has also caught the fever and some are ditching their snowmobiles for fat bikes and trailers. Says one Alaskan, “My fat bike has so much utility even in the harshest Alaskan environment.”
But fat bikes are growing in popularity in the UK like gangbusters as well. Part of the reason is that sand is for a fat bike what Italy’s Campolongo is for a road bike – meaning, perfect. The UK is fortunate enough to possess some of the most gorgeous and least recognized coastlines abundant with long, winding beaches that are perfect for fat bikes.
Cycling on the beach affords us new opportunities to experience difficult to access bays, historical monuments, and incredible geographic features. Just make sure to bring a solid navigational device with you to keep your bearings in unfamiliar terrain. One UK fat bike beach riding enthusiast, “I love my fat bike because it takes me places that I wouldn’t go otherwise. I love my road bikes, mountain bikes, even my Kingsong S20 Unicycle, but it is the fat bike that now gets me out on the beach, rain or shine, winter or summer. It’s a beautiful excuse to explore more of what Britain has to offer us.”
Fat Bike Tours has beautifully envisioned the expansion of touring on UK’s beaches. Based in North Berwick, near Edinburgh, Fat Bike Tours is specializing in taking folks out on fat bikes who would not have done it on their own. They recognize that some are wary of hills and crowded roads with scary traffic. What better way to explore the outdoors, see local wildlife and history, and share a unique cycling experience with friends and family? A recent Fat Bike Tour customer says of their experience, “I loved every minute of it. My husband and I aren’t big cyclists, but when we were visiting Edinburgh recently I knew we had to do something out of the ordinary and this fat bike tour was perfect. We experienced the coast in a whole new way and the bikes were so much more comfortable than we thought they would be. What a lovely time! Makes me want to go home and buy a fat bike to cruise around with!”
If you’re in more of an urban mood, you should hop on a fat bike with Fat Tire Bike Tours London. They provide everything you’ll need to enjoy the city of London in style. The bikes are incredibly comfortable, with a variety of sizes, colors and in a fun twist, names. A friend was fortunate enough to grab the Winston Churchill on his last tour. If you have a child, they have kid bikes, baby seats, and trailers to tow the tikes around. There’s no more comfortable and environmentally friendly way to see London!
Fat Tire’s tour guides love London and it’s obvious from their passionate performances of the history of the sights they take you to. It’s not like your high school history classes, filled with endless dates and figures of little modern relevance. Tour guides instead enliven the cityscape with humorous anecdotes and quirky historical footnotes.
Fat Tire offers two tours: Royal London and River Thames, as well as private tours available for your corporate events or families. Royal London will take you through all the most important landmarks: Houses of Parliament, Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Royal Parks, Big Ben, Kensington Palace, Hyde Park, Trafalgar square, among others. The tour takes a break at an English pub for some R&R and local flavor. The second tour of the River Thames is less about the government buildings and more about the history of the people of London themselves: Shakespeare’s Globe, Borough Market, Tower of London, Covent Garden, and a beautiful, relaxing Thames Clipper boat ride back to Central London at the conclusion of the tour. Whichever tour you choose, seeing London by bike is a terrific, healthy and most of all, fun treat.
With the rise of fat bikes, and fat bike tours across the world, expect to see and hear a lot more about them in the coming years. Fat bikes open up a whole new world of environments for you to adventure to. Whether you’re taking an organized tour, or just exploring a new coastline, or forest path, fat bikes let you pedal there under your own power – beautiful.
Creative Commons photo by Vik Approved