If you follow this blog, you know our family is game to try most any outdoor activity, at least once. We’ve been curious about fat tire biking ever since we spotted the bikes while cross-country skiing a few winters ago. Nowadays, it seems fat tire bikes are more prevalent than ever before. When MP spotted that Harris Farm in Dayton was offering a free fat tire biking demo with Kennebunkport Bicycle Company, she jumped at the chance to go.
In the spirit of honesty, MP and DP decided to try fat tire biking first before giving the kids a chance to experiment on the trails and we’re so glad we did. On the sunny Saturday we arrived, the folks at Kennebunkport Bicycle mentioned the snow was a little soft for biking, but good enough to ride on regardless. They said the best conditions for winter biking is a hard, crusty surface.
To get a feel for our bikes, MP and DP practiced in the parking lot and at first, fat tire biking didn’t seem much different than biking on the road. After a few quick turns, we felt ready to explore the mile-long loop trail.
The entrance to the trail was well-marked with bike tracks. MP noticed early on if she tried to stay within the existing tracks, her balance was best, but as you can imagine, it takes some concentration—and decent eye sight—to stick to ready-made tracks. She felt the wheels of the bike slip and slide a bit in the soft snow, making MP a little worried about wiping out.
Not surprisingly, rolling hills were the biggest challenge. Riding up hill slowed down the momentum of the tires, not unlike running in soft sand with shoes on. Riding downhill was equally challenging. MP could feel the wheels wobble and tilt as she coasted down the trail.
The scenery on the trail made the ride worthwhile. The start of the trail was shaded by tall pines dotted with snow. Then the trail opened up to a glistening white field warmed by the sun. While we stopped to take it in the sunshine, we met a couple of other first-time fat bikers. One woman said in passing, “it’s not as easy as it looks!” Another guy, who decided to walk his bike on the softest section of the path said, “well, I found my lungs today.” We couldn’t help but laugh in recognition. While the two of us exercise regularly, this ride awakened forgotten muscles.
Despite its challenges, MP is so glad she gave fat tire biking a try. It gave her and DP a chance to enjoy a brilliant morning outdoors together. And both of us would love to go fat biking again with the kids when the conditions are just right.
If you’re interested in fat biking yourself, there are several locations throughout Maine to check out: Harris Farm (Dayton), Pineland Farms (New Gloucester) and Bethel Village Trails (Bethel). Additional information on fat tire bike rentals and trails throughout the state can also be found here.
PS: What it’s like to go dogsledding.