Fat Bikes - Endless Possiblities
I have been writing a great deal of late about Fat Bikes not only because they are cool and fun, but because they open up a whole new world of adventure touring possibilities. There have been some epic trips reported over the past several years of people taking their Fat Tire bikes all over the world. These stories have inspired me to expand my thoughts about what is possible for an epic adventure on bike and water.
My trip this past year around North America on a Salsa Fargo has been so enjoyable that I feel a strong allegiance to the Salsa brand. Their spirit of adventure, combined with a proactive consumer oriented blog, and a fantastic product have made me a self adorned Salsa fanboy. With this said it is no wonder that I am intrigued with the Fat Tire bike offering from Salsa, the Mukluk. My main issue is that moving in this direction will require me to have multiple bikes, something I am not inclinded towards.
The 2012 model has been modified slightly from the very successful 2011 model and is available in several different configurations. The new Black/Red color scheme is quite stunning, especially with the other red components. I realize that this is a very shallow way of choosing things, but even in my quest for simplicity, I am still moved by design and the functionality of objects.
Snow, sand, mud, rivers, lakes, and oceans are now obstacles that can be overcome using only human power. Strap on an Alpaca Raft, and suddenly you can connect the dots between land and sea, blurring once again what is possible. One can argue that there is no simpler form of transport than the elegantly designed two wheeled bicycle. Put super fat tires on one and you have a vehicle that can now take you places that previously required a $75,000 Range Rover.
There have been some great expeditions along the coast of Alaska using Mukluks and rafts that have inspired me to seek out my own Fat Tire expedition. I looked at doing the entire stretch of AK coast as one possibility, but have since turned my sights on something in Europe and the Yukon. My 2012 expedition partner, Richard Harpham of the Big 5 Kayak Challenge, and I, will choose one of these destinations for our own version of an epic winter slog. One possibility is following the frozen Yukon river during the later winter months. Richard is no stranger to the Yukon, having been there several times during milder climates. For me, this would be a first foray into extreme winter conditions, a challenge that has been on my list of to do's all year long. Another possibility would be a trip down central Europe following the Danube river. While that would be epic as well, the distance to travel is a bit long for only using a pack raft. Needless to say, we are evaluating other forms of water based travel that could support the weight of two snow bikes.
In either event, I fully expect to be on a snow bike this winter. My Mukluk test ride a few weeks ago convinced me that this was the most fun bike I have been on since I was a kid. The fat tires inspire one to go wherever, akin to the first time you get in your four wheel truck and drive over curbs, just because you can. Sand, snow, water, ice, here we come!!