Why You Should Be Fat Biking all Winter Long
Fat Biking in Squamish
In the summer, Squamish's trail network is a mountain bikers dream. Loads of singletrack, long rock slabs, loamy descents, jump trails, climb trails and pump tracks.
What most people don't know is that riding season in Squamish continues twelve months of the year. When snow hits the Sea to Sky, it's time to rack your mountain bike and welcome fat biking season with open arms.
We sat down with local fat biking expert Corey Longeway of Flying Spirit Rentals to get the inside scoop on fat biking in Squamish.
What is fat biking?
Fat biking is riding a bike that has plus size tires, anything over 3.8-inch tires could be considered a “fat tire bike”. The large tires and smaller gear ratio allow a more comfortable gear for climbing and moving through soft terrain.
What conditions do you use a fat bike in?
Ideal conditions for fat biking are soft terrain such as snow, mud or sand, making winter and the entire shoulder season prime riding time. I ride my fat tire bike when there is snow on the trails or if it’s super wet and muddy.
I also like riding on the forest services roads around town because the larger, low-pressure tires create a smoother ride on gravel roads.
Corey's Suggested Trails
This area offers a fair bit of variety from beginner to intermediate levels. The trails are flat and rooty with soft dirt underneath the snow. Popular trails in this zone include the Ray Peters Trail (4.8 km), Rusty Bucket (1.1 km), Cracked Patella (.8km) and more.
Length: 1 km to 5 km
Stawamus Dyke Trails
In winter fat biking along the Stawamus Dyke is exceptional, it doesn't ice up very quickly, and because it's so wide, there's usually enough space to make your own tracks. For a more adventurous ride continue past the dyke into the forested trail network that runs parallel to the river.
Length: 3.6 km
Alice Lake Zone
The area around Alice Lake is teeming with singletrack trails. Whether you're after a long day or a quick loop, there are plenty of options for you. Snow tends to linger in this area, so armed with a fat bike you should be in for a treat. Popular trails include Mikes Loop (1.2 km) and 50 Shades of Green (1.2 km).
Length: 1km and longer
Wonderland is a beautiful forest trail that starts just past the turn off to Alice Lake Provincial Park. There are small roots, features and a few rocks and nearly all have ride-around options.
Length: 2.8 km
The Valleycliff trails are some of the most technical in Squamish. If you're a season fat biker looking to push yourself this is the hangout for you. Trails include Meet Yer Maker (1.1 km) and the S&M Connector (1.5 km).
Length: 1 km and longer
Is there anything else people should know?
Fat tire bikes give you more confidence to ride because their fat tires make them more stable. If you haven’t ridden a bike in a LOOONG time, have balance issues, or you're not a spring chicken anymore…. Riding a fat tire will put you on the trails with a smile on your face.
Where to go: Flying Spirit Rentals
What they rent: Kona Wo Fat Tire Bikes
Cost: One-day rental is $80, or you can rent by the hour for a minimum three hour rental $30 ($10/hour).
*Helmets are included in the rental, and if you don’t have a rack for your car to transport the bikes, you can rent a car rack for $10, you can also ride from the shop to any area in Squamish.
A word of warning, riding in snow can be challenging, if the trail is not compact snow or if it's a little “icy” it doesn’t matter how low your tire pressure is the riding will be difficult.