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  1. #1
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    Fat Bike Newbies

    My wife and I are heading to Kingdom Trails in VT. next week to rent fat bikes. This will be our first time on fatties. Looking for any tips for rookies that would help make our rising more enjoyable. Tire pressure, riding technique, etc.

    I have 25 years experience mountain biking mostly hard tail up until 2011. I am now on full sus. My wife has 17 years experience again mostly on hard tail until she went full sus. in 2012.

    Thanks

  2. #2
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    Rule #1. Have fun!

    Bring a lot of layers to mix and match so you can find the right balance of warmth and moisture management. If you don't have your own winter cycling system yet, bring what you would wear for xcountry skiing. What's been working from me lately is a highly breathable base layer, a light to medium synthetic puffy (Primaloft), a breathable & windproof shell, and some stretchy skiing pants. I swap the puffy for fleece when temps get above 25F. Assuming your rental bikes have platform pedals, wear some light hiking boots and bring chemical toe warmers. If you'll be riding clipless, you're on your own. I don't in winter. Wool balaclava and goggles would be nice to have handy, but a wool hat and sunglasses will work if it's not too cold. As for tire pressures, listen closely to the guys at the rental shop, they'll have the best beta on conditions,but don't be afraid to experiment. Make sure they give you a pump to add pressure if conditions firm up or you choose to ride back on a road. With your years on a bike, you will naturally modify your technique as needed. As a general rule accept the fact that bikes on snow corner and handle off camber trails like crap.
    The older I get the better I was...

  3. #3
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    Tyre pressures are the key, and usually much softer than you think.

    As veloborealis says, take a pump and don't be afraid to experiment with pressures.

    Don't confuse the steering on a hard surface (such as outside the shop) with what it will be like on the trail, ie low pressures on hard surfaces can feel like you're on a truck with flat tyres, but unless you're only going to ride on hard surfaces, soft is what you need.
    As little bike as possible, as silent as possible.
    Latitude: 5736' Highlands, Scotland

  4. #4
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    Oh, and a be nice, patient, and respectful with the skiers. Most of them will be cool, but a few will view you with disdain for choosing wheels over skis. You will know them by the expressions on their faces, like someone just farted in the parlor. Be kind and patient with them, too, and maybe they will come around eventually.

    Good advice from velobike, too.
    The older I get the better I was...

  5. #5
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    Thanks for the tips. I guess I should have mentioned that we winter ride in Maine all the time so clothing is not a problem. We also both carry pumps, tools, food, patch kits in our camelbaks.

    I arranged the rental ahead of time and I pickup a key to unlock the bike nearby so I am not sure anyone mans the facility. I will experiment with tire pressure.

    Trail sharing is also not a problem. I started out biking before there were any dedicated trails and trail access was a huge factor so we are in the habit of yielding and smiling at the folks who exhibit disdain for us.

  6. #6
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    I'm also new to this but the surprising thing for me was how warm you get. Not sure how much cold weather biking experience you have but after 15 min all I need is a fleece, bike shorts and base layer at temps down to about 20F...when the sun is out. Keep layers but make sure you have some place to stash them before you start to sweat. This might all be obvious but the extra effort of pushing through snow keeps you warmer and you're going slower so less wind. Flat ground with fresh snow is like a slight hill. No coasting for sure. Play with your tires but don't get too hung up on it, some slopes you're just going to have to walk...well I do anyway. Just get it over with and enjoy the rest of the ride.

  7. #7
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    If you've been winter riding on snow in Maine, you probably don't really need any advice, this will be way easier. Nonetheless, unless conditions are optimal, don't plan on doing the miles you would in the summer. Be flexible - if there is fresh deep snow, consider a snowshoe to help shape up the trail for fatbiking the next day. Do you get their trail mail on current conditions? A great way to keep tabs on conditions as your trip approaches (also on their website). Depending on the temp and how long you will be out, a thermos and an extra layer can come in handy.

  8. #8
    Location: SouthPole of MN
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    Bullet Points:
    Let out enough air pressure in the tires so when you push down on the fork or seat the tires mush up to the point you think "that's too low"... that will be the right pressure.
    Steer by turning the handlebars and remaining upright, instead of leaning.
    Dress so that you are a bit chilled when just standing outside.
    Have fun!

  9. #9
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    In light of this new information...

    Quote Originally Posted by likeaboss View Post
    Thanks for the tips. I guess I should have mentioned that we winter ride in Maine all the time so clothing is not a problem. We also both carry pumps, tools, food, patch kits in our camelbaks.

    I arranged the rental ahead of time and I pickup a key to unlock the bike nearby so I am not sure anyone mans the facility. I will experiment with tire pressure.

    Trail sharing is also not a problem. I started out biking before there were any dedicated trails and trail access was a huge factor so we are in the habit of yielding and smiling at the folks who exhibit disdain for us.
    Please allow me to edit my original response:

    Tip # 1. Have fun!
    Tip# 2. MTBR regional forums: Vermont 

    Cheers, vb
    The older I get the better I was...

  10. #10
    Laramie, Wyoming
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    First, I just looked at the Kingdom Trails website and their site currently says that all trails are closed to bikes. I know nothing about the closing of trails, but you might want to check with them.

    Second, your mountain biking experience might not help you much. You might find great trail conditions but you experience some frustration.

    Third, some have mentioned asking the local shops about air pressure and riding spots. Where I live, that would be a mistake. None of the shops near me have much knowledge about fat bike riding although a couple of them are starting to learn.

    I would suggest trying to find someone in the area that rides fat bikes a lot (maybe on here) and ask them about riding and some tips.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by alphazz View Post
    First, I just looked at the Kingdom Trails website and their site currently says that all trails are closed to bikes. I know nothing about the closing of trails, but you might want to check with them.

    Second, your mountain biking experience might not help you much. You might find great trail conditions but you experience some frustration.

    Third, some have mentioned asking the local shops about air pressure and riding spots. Where I live, that would be a mistake. None of the shops near me have much knowledge about fat bike riding although a couple of them are starting to learn.

    I would suggest trying to find someone in the area that rides fat bikes a lot (maybe on here) and ask them about riding and some tips.
    Trails are open again and hopefully will continue to improve throughout the week. We will ski and snowshoe as our backup plan. The folks who man the KT booth as well as the Village Sport people know what they are talking about.

    Should be no worse than the first time I rode a mountain bike in 1986. Besides, just being out there will be enough for us. The place is so beautiful in the summer and it defies description in the winter. I will take plenty of video and post hear after we return.

    Thanks again for all the tips.

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