You might think biking in Vermont is a warm-weather-only activity, but a growing number of adventurous cyclists are seeking to change that perception. Fat biking is gaining popularity here as an alternative to more traditional winter activities like cross-country skiing and snowmobiling. Here are some tips to get rolling on a fat bike in Vermont.
What are Fat Bikes?
If you’ve ever tried to ride a bike in the winter, you know how hard it can be to keep a standard cycle’s skinny tires upright in heavy snow and slippery ice. Fat bikes make it easy. Huge steamroller tires inflated to super-low pressure (5 to 10 psi instead of the normal 30-50 psi for mountain bikes) give these bikes exceptional grip and allow them to ride over top of snow that skinnier tires would get stuck in. These winter bikes are becoming an increasingly popular way to bike Vermont all year round and go places you simply can’t on skis or snowmobiles.
Where Can I Try a Fat Bike in Vermont?
Some trail facilities have fat bikes for rent on site, and a number of standalone rental shops allow you to take them to a trail of your choice. Here are a few of the best options in southern Vermont to get into the world of fat biking:
If you’re totally new to the fat bike scene, Stratton Mountain
is one of the best places to try it out. The resort offers fat bikes for hourly, half-day and full-day rentals to use on their groomed Nordic Center trails during daylight hours. This is definitely one of the easiest ways to get your hands on a fat bike and see if you enjoy the activity.
Molly Stark Trail
If you already have your own fat bike or you plan to rent one from a local bike shop, you can take it to Molly Stark State Park
and use it on a number of the trails there. The Vermont Department of Forests Parks and Recreation has agreed to provide fat biking opportunities on this trail as well as a few other state-owned trails in other parts of Vermont.
West River Trail
Brattleboro’s West River Trail
is a great place to try biking Vermont on a fat bike – the trail is easy to access and not difficult to navigate. Most of the trail consists of a long, gentle cruise beside the West River, perfect for beginners and families.
West Hill Shop
This bike shop in Putney, Vermont
is a great place to get your hands on a fat bike for a low price. Rentals are available, and you can also buy a fat bike if you’re ready to commit. Employees here can tell you where the best trails in the area are for your skills and time constraints, making this a perfect way to start your fat bike journey.
Norse House Ski and Sport
Though they’re primarily a ski shop, the popular Norse House
equipment shop also rents out fat bikes for use on nearby trails. Located just north of Stratton Mountain, the Norse House is another fine place to try out fat biking for a day.
Fat biking is a great way to experience the fun of biking Vermont in the winter months, and it also gives you new access to trails and locations that might be too tough to get to otherwise. It's the perfect additon to your winter adventure checklist, and it's easily accessible from base camp at your southern Vermont rental home