Manitoba

Winnipeg winter cyclists head out for a spin on Global Fat-Bike Day

Dozens of winter riders took their burly bikes for a spin at The Forks Saturday as part of Global Fat-Bike Day.

'You can cruise overtop of just about anything,' organizer says of bikes with burly tires

Cyclists celebrated Global Fat-Bike Day in Winnipeg Saturday. (Camille Gris Roy/Radio-Canada)

Dozens of winter riders took their burly bikes out for a spin Saturday as part of Global Fat-Bike Day.

Cyclists met at The Forks at 11 a.m. for a photoshoot before taking off on a 47.8 kilometre-long tour of Winnipeg. Fat bikes, or "snow bikes," have significantly thicker tires than usual and can handle difficult terrain.

Jason Carter and Tom Kolesnik helped organize the third annual Winnipeg ride.

"Fat biking is growing very, very fast," said Carter. "It's the fastest growing cycling segment in Winnipeg, and North America and perhaps globally as well."

​There are about 150 fat bike manufacturers in business around the world, Carter said.

"The attraction is, it's like going back to when you were a little kid and you first got on a bike and realized you could ride across grass, other surfaces that you couldn't with a road bike."

They've recently developed a reputation as "winter bikes," but the first bikes weren't necessarily designed with snow riding in mind, he added.

"They're really not for snow. Hot places like the Philippines, Australia, Hawaii are using them on sand, the desert. Dubai, places like that. So they're really taking off," Carter said. "They're really manoeuvrable and allow you to float overtop of things you used to bang into."

Another part of the appeal, Kolesnik said, is that there isn't much of a learning curve for new riders.

"You can cruise overtop of just about anything and just about anyone can ride it because they're really accessible," Kolesnik said, adding prices fall into the same range as normal bikes.

While many Manitobans have enjoyed the unseasonably warm temperatures in late November and early December across the province, Kolesnik said fat bike riders aren't so thrilled.

"We'd kind of like it colder and with more snow," Kolesnik said.

"It should be really cold as soon as possible. Right now. We love the river trails," Carter added. "Bring on the cold!"

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