Fat biking is one of the newest winter pastimes taking over Breckenridge. If you’ve spent any time in Breckenridge over the past few winters, you may have noticed this new breed of snow enthusiasts joining you on the town trails, bike lanes, and Nordic center. Bundled up like skiers and riding like mountain bikers, these trail users have found a great new way to play in the snow and it appears that they are having a lot of fun doing it. I’ve spent a dozen summers biking around Colorado, but this was new to me. You might say I was a bit fat bike-curious. So I set out to see what this new sport is all about.
Find A Bike
First, I had to find myself a fat bike, but luckily, there are a few shops in town that rent fat bikes. As the name implies, Breckenridge Bike Guides also offers guiding services in addition to rentals and bike service, so I figured that was a good place to start. Part-time mechanic and local pro mountain biker, Zeke Hersh, set me up on the Rocky Mountain Blizzard, a fully rigid model (no front or rear suspension) with 4.8” width tires, which, for your reference, is more than double the size of a standard mountain bike tire.
There are a variety of fat bike options on the market, with models that include front suspension, better components, a range of tire sizes, seat droppers, and more. Be sure to talk with the bike shop staff about your ability level and what style riding you are looking to do (trail rides, winter commuting, not sure?), and they will help you choose the right fat bike! And remember: always wear a helmet and bring gloves and water.
What to Wear
There are a number of brands that make specific winter cycling apparel, which you can find at local shops. But just to get started, I found that lightweight, breathable, cross-country ski gear did the trick. I’ve been an avid skier for many years, and have plenty of outerwear to choose from. But if you don’t happen to own a cache of ski gear, I’d recommend checking out the outerwear selection at one of Breckenridge’s many ski shops before heading out on your fat biking adventure.
Here’s our gear checklist:
- Helmet: A mountain bike helmet works
- Hat: Lightweight beanie to wear under the helmet
- Face Buff: To cover neck, chin, ears, and cheeks on a cold day
- Gloves: Adjust warmth to weather
- Shoes: Heavy duty winter cycling shoes or hiking boots
- Shoe Covers: This can help keep your feet warm, but they may still get cold.
- Jacket: It depends on the temperature, but I recommend a softshell or other breathable material
- Pants: Find a lightweight, breathable option. Your heavy ski pants may be too much for the trail.
- Thermal Layers: Make sure to wear layers – or bring them. You can overheat or get cold quickly and it’ll help to add a layer or take off one.
- Backpack: To carry layers, water, and a snack
Where to Ride
Breckenridge has a great network of trails close to town. Groomed, packed trails are needed for fat biking. Check out the rec path from Breckenridge to Frisco, Gold Run Nordic Center, and other groomed town trails, especially for your first ride.
Recommended Beginner Fat Bike Trails in Breckenridge:
- Gold Run Nordic Center
- B &B Trailhead: Turk’s Trail, B&B Trail, X10U8, Minnie Mine
- Sallie Barber Trail
- Rec path from Breckenridge to Frisco
Make sure to check your ability level and match it to the trail. It’s also smart to give yourself a day or two to acclimate to the altitude before heading out on a big ride.
Guided Fat Biking Tours
Guided fat bike tours are becoming a more popular way for beginners to learn the sport and for more advanced riders to find good trails. There are even guided fat biking distillery and brewery tours and Beer & Bike Tours for those looking to skip the woods and enjoy a scenic ride through town.