Fat bikes on the rise, inventory keeps the brakes on
By Victoria Gather
Although skiing and snowboarding dominate central Vermont this time of year, another outdoor sport pedals along: fat biking.
“Here in Vermont people love to ride them, a lot of people travel primarily to ski in the winter, but given the weather I don’t see fat tire bikes coming out,” said JT Look, the owner and mechanic of Rutland City Bikes.
Fat bikes have thicker tires than regular bikes and ride well on snow and sand.
Look, Covid-19 has put the brakes on inventory. “I would be able to sell them if I could have them in stock, but with Covid it always causes a pause,” Look said.
In Killington, Base Camp Bike and Ski owner Ben Colona sees the same thing. He explained: “People are coming in and looking for them, and we would have them for sale if we could get them. The inventory situation has made them more difficult this year.
One of the reasons for the success of fat bikes in the Rutland and Killington area is the excellent bike trails, said Colona, who is also president of the Killington Mountain Bike Club.
“KMBC has worked for the past five years to build and maintain single track mountain bike trails in the City of Killington,” Colona said.
JT Look of Rutland City Bikes repairs bikes and hosts cyclists in its Beds-N-Bikes through Airbnb and offers hiking trails on its property. He said fat bikes are for everyone.
“Even for entry-level riders, the wider tires provide more stability, which helps them feel more secure with their balance,” Look said.
On Sunday, February 13, at the Giorgetti Sports Complex on Oak Street in Pine Hill Park, new, up-and-coming, and experienced riders are invited to the Cold Rolled Rutland Fat Bike Ride to test their skills or enjoy a ride.
Mountain Bike Vermont, MTBVT and Ranch Camp co-created the event in partnership with Pine Hill Park.
Rutland Bike organizer Shelley Lutz said there will be guided rides for people unfamiliar with Pine Hill Park.
The event costs $50. Registration begins at 9 a.m. on February 13, and rides run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Nat Freund, a Ranch Camp organizer, has had success with other winter fat bike events in Vermont.
He said bringing the ride to Pine Hill Park was a no-brainer because of the trails.
“I live very close to Pine Hill and ride there frequently, so I knew how amazing fat biking can be in the park,” Freund said.
Due to Covid-19, there was no event last year, so organizers expect runners from New England and New York to come.