Yellowknifers are apparently warming to fat bikes as a winter cycling option.
As the city celebrated World Snow Day on Sunday, Yellowknife’s Overlander Sports took to Frame Lake with a selection of the bikes for residents to try.
Fat bikes, named for their oversized tires to cope with trickier terrain, were first produced in the 1980s. They’ve been popularized in the past decade and Overlander has stocked them for the past three years.
“Sales have really taken off, especially this fall,” Dave Stephens, the store’s bike manager, told Moose FM while helping World Snow Day visitors to try the bikes.
“One major factor is the weather was a lot warmer this fall, and people have just been more aware of the bikes. It’s really caught on and people are talking about how much fun they are.”
Related: Would you change how Yellowknife deals with snow?
Overlander, of course, has a vested interest in plugging the bikes – which are not cheap.
An entry-level model at the store will cost you a shade under $1,300. One of the bikes available for a demo on Sunday cost in excess of $3,500.
“It goes up to $6,000 if people want to order them,” added Stephens. “But it’s a quality bike that is going to do what it’s meant to do.
The air pressure in the tires is adjustable, which allows owners to adapt their bike for the terrain – lowering the pressure on loose surfaces like snow and sand, or upping the pressure for harder ground like pavement.
But the sheer cold of winter, rather than the presence of snow, will be the biggest drawback for many potential purchasers. Consequently, special ‘bar mitts’ are available to keep riders’ hands snug in the coldest NWT temperatures.
Stephens insists more residents are concluding that bikes like these are the way forward, even in the winter months.
“It’s definitely changing,” he said. “A lot of people are doing the math and calculating how much they spend just warming the truck up.
“If I get the exercise and I save money, that makes sense for me.”