Summer is the season for riding bikes. No matter what type of style a person prefers, it is usually great whether they get people out of the house and willing to explore a little.
Fat bikes can handle all conditions, but make no mistake: most riders prefer the summer months. As long as the fat bike is fully prepared for the summer, there should be no problem riding and enjoying life. It’s usually easier, and there is less maintenance involved. That said, there are some tips for people who are trying to get into riding a fat bike and getting the most out of it.
1. Think Outside the Trails
In the summer months, it’s easier to go anywhere with a fat bike to explore. Not only is it easier to see the terrain underneath, but the days are longer and the conditions are a bit more ideal.
This is the perfect time to think outside the box and have some fun. Many state this as the top reason why the summer is so great to get out and enjoy riding your fatty without as many challenges. Trails that are nearly impossible in the winter might smooth out and clear up in the summer.
Fewer hazards are in the way during the summer months. There usually is a limited amount of leaves on the ground, and sticks aren’t that prevalent either unless a storm recently came through. There will be some weeds and general seasonal overgrowth, but that is easily handled by a fat bike.
While a lot of riding on a similar mountain bike is possible, the one type of terrain that is easily handled is sand. A mountain bike has tires that are just a little bit too skinny, and they don’t end up working the same way that they should.
Sand is fairly prevalent in places some people may not expect in the summer months. Instead of shying away from that rain, riders can tackle it head-on. About the only exception is if the sand is really deep or extremely loose, but most can still handle it for a limited time.
2. Enjoy…But Don’t be Completely Fearless
Fat bikes are great to ride in the summer, and they almost work too well in some cases. If a person gains too much confidence, they might start to take risks where they shouldn’t. There are still limitations with fat bikes, and not paying attention to those limitations can put a person in a vulnerable situation.
One thing that gets some people in trouble is turning a little too quickly. The wheels and low tire pressure make riding a fat bike in a straight line very easy, but there is some resistance when trying to turn at a higher speed. Go slowly with turns in the beginning, and start to increase the speed a little as time goes on.
Fat bags are a little on the heavy side, so people do need to adjust to getting some air to jump over certain parts of a trail or route. Riders moving from a bike that is a little more lightweight might feel surprised by just how limited their jumping is. This could set a person up for a crash if they are too fearless with their jumps.
Finally, fat bikes do a better job of smoothing out a bumpy ride than any other option, but they do struggle a little bit with random big bumps on the trail here and there. The tires can have a bouncing effect in certain situations, which feels a little different than a mountain bike. It’s not for better or worse, just a different feeling that might make a person pause and wonder what exactly is going on.
3. Turn a Fat Bike Into a Beach Cruiser on Steroids
One of the most enjoyable experiences for any fat bike rider in the summer is to explore the beach. If a beach allows for beach cruisers on the sand, they will allow a fat bike as well. Fat bikes are better equipped to handle this type of terrain, and they can make for a great overall experience.
There are very few locations better than riding a bike right next to the ocean. While avoiding actual contact with the ocean is recommended, it’s fine to get a little bit of saltwater on the tires. Just make sure to rinse everything thoroughly after riding, because water from the ocean will promote rust.
4. Leave the Car Parked
More often than not, that bike riders only have one bike to their name. That means it is useable for everything in any type of situation. It might be a bit too miserable to ride a fat bike to the local store during the winter, but the summer is the perfect time to do errands and quick runs to stores without jumping into the car.
Not only is it a way to save a little bit of money, but it’s sneaking in a workout during an otherwise busy day. The sun stays out longer in the summer, so anyone who fears to ride at night won’t have to deal with that if they take off early enough. Depending on where a person lives, getting to a store on a bike is much faster and easier.
5. Keep Everything in Working Order
It’s very easy to go on rides during the winter and not keep up with maintenance as much as a person should. In the summer, there is no excuse to not keep everything in tiptop shape. A bike should be looking as good as new all the time, whether it be keeping it clean, maintain the tires at the right tire pressure, lubricating the chain and more.
Summer is when most of the rest of the world is riding their bike, only to have it stored away in the winter. Blend in and take advantage of all the outdoor fun.
6. Make a FatBike Pavement Friendly
Riding a fat bike on pavement seems like a giant waste of time and effort. However, if that’s the only bike a person has, why not use it on the pavement during the summer? As long as it is tailored a bit for the pavement, it’s going to perform at a decently high-level.
The biggest adjustment that needs making is to change the tire pressure. Fill them up more than ever before, as the PSI could double what it normally sits at in the winter. A firmer tire will limit the amount of rolling resistance on pavement, and no one wants to be going at a snail’s pace on pavement.
It goes without saying that all winterized tires make very little sense when on summer pavement. Take the studs out of the tire, or replace the tires completely if riding on pavement predominantly. If those are left in, they are just going to make riding the bike noisy and annoying for the most part.
7. Consider Riding in the Morning or Late at Night
It takes a decent amount of effort to ride a fat bike at a fast pace, so if the weather is particularly warm, think about picking the right time of the day to ride.
In the winter, a lot of people like riding in the middle of the day, because that is when it is most warm. It’s also very easy to see the trail and everything that lies ahead.
In the summer is when people start to try out different rides at different times of the day. Some people still want to ride during daylight hours, so planning early morning rides at dusk is best. Others want to experience riding in the dark. As long as lights and reflective gear is used, there is no downfall to doing this.
8. Dip the Toes Into Racing
Fat bike novices are very hesitant to jump into any type of race during the winter months. It’s one thing to go at a leisurely speed, but it’s another thing to challenge other riders going very fast nearby. Add in ice and snow, and it makes for a tricky experience that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.
Doing a first race in the summer is the better way to go. People have the opportunity to ride without as many variables to hinder them. Fewer clothes are needed because the weather is nice. The fat bike stays in better shape throughout the entire race, because it doesn’t have to deal with as many things sticking to the bike.
If the race goes well in the summer, it makes racing in the winter that much easier. Most seasoned fat bike racers agree that jumping in the things in the summer is the way to go.
9. Find the Right Riding Attire
Riding a tire on a fat bike in the winter mostly revolves around staying as warm as possible. Unless a person is a super competitive racer, they aren’t that worried about making sure that their outfit is as aerodynamic as possible.
In the summer, there is a lot more flexibility with wearing something thin, lightweight, aerodynamic and comfortable. It resembles a lot of the same apparel worn by cyclists in the Tour de France, but perhaps a bit more padding to prevent injuries if there is a fall.
Without having to layer nearly as much, it’s just much easier to try out different outfits and attire for riding a fat bike. Have some fun with it, and maybe some of the clothing can be used as part of an ensemble in the winter.
10. Stay on Track with Fitness Goals
Yes, it is much easier to work out in many different ways during the summer months. However, when a person gets in a routine all winter involving riding a fat bike, it just makes sense to stick
with what works. There are so many different options to ride different trails and different locations during the summer, and no one should gloss over that. Some might think they will eventually get bored doing the same activity all the time, but there is enough variance to keep motivation up.
It’s fine to explore other ways to exercise, but fit in fat bike riding here in there. With smoother trains, better weather and less clothing, it is the perfect time to start pushing and pushing for new speed records. This will motivate a person to stay on track with their fitness goals. Usually, it’s the opposite way, as people lose motivation in the winter. If a fat bike was purchased to have a lot of fun and enjoyment during the winter, it doesn’t mean it should be put in storage during the summer.
A long bike ride is still one of the most challenging activities a person can go with. There are way too many people who think that they should swap out a fat bike for a road bike or mountain bike because the tires are unnecessary in the summer. It’s easier to just continue working with a bike that is a little heavier and strenuous to get a good workout in, especially if off-road biking is the preferred way to go.
11. Find a Safe, Convenient Location for Storage
It’s impossible to store a fat bike in areas that are not climate controlled in the winter. The freezing cold is just going to do too much damage to the bike and its components, especially if it is exposed to the weather.
In the summer, it’s much easier to store it in a variety of new places. Use this as an advantage, as convenient storage can lead to more spontaneity with trips. Instead of having to plan out every single trip, it can be grabbed in a few seconds for a quick workout.
Enjoy the Summer While it Lasts
Finally, fat bike riders don’t understand just how easy life is during the summer months. Be thankful for that time of the year, because it makes riding a bike very similar to how things happened when first learning how to ride a bike.
When it is constantly snowing, dipping to temperatures that are intolerable and more, most people wish that it was sunny and summer once again.
A fat bike rider should never feel guilty about riding in easy conditions. It’s still a great workout, a different trail can provide a challenge and it’s just easier to take in the sights and sounds. Even if it’s a more relaxing ride, there is still a ton of benefits to summer trips on the fat bike.