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Fat bike Summit and Festival recap • Island park, Id site chosen for snowmobile trail “negotiated use” position • Thank salsa, surly, 45nrth, q-outdoor for support with product and staff time • Summit a huge success – generated a lot of press and commentary about fat bikes • Talk today about fat bike use, shared use of nordic trails, and summit action plan
Industry perspective • Much like mid-80s mountain bikes, technology driving development and design • Apparel and accessories markets growing • New races and events every year in all regions • Retailers discovering winter market potential • Summer use growing • Fat bike becoming lighter with wider tires
Retailer joelbuth, alaska • At Goldstream Sports, just north of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, owner Joel Buth specializes in cross-country skis and road bikes. But four years ago, he added fat bikes to his winter inventory. "The bikes are typically a $3,000 sale, versus a ski package, which is much less. So there's more customers in the ski, but the bike market is growing rapidly."
Buth, cont. • That $3,000 isn't just for the bike. It includes all the other gear as well, like extra tire tubes, shoes and lots of winter clothing. It's the fat bike clientele that surprises Buth most. "Mostly what I see is the backcountry enthusiast and older couples, too, that just want to get out and get exercise in the winter and don't want to mess around with skis, and they just like to bike."
Retailer bill fleming, Alaska • Bill Fleming, co-owner of Chain Reaction Cycles in Anchorage: “We can’t get ahead of orders…it’s non-stop. People just love these bikes. It’s changed the way they look at winter. These die-hard Nordic skiers get on them, and they realize it’s an easier sport. They don’t have to wax, you can ride out your front door. You’re on a little single-track trail in the middle of winter and it’s beautiful.”
Fat bikes for wildlife viewing • Federal biologist Tony Fishbach has used a fat bike to study walruses at Icy Cape, 50 miles north of Point Lay • Fat bikes slow and quiet – wildlife not scared “They weigh a lot less than a Honda 4-wheeler, they’re cheaper, and you can put them in a plane and fly to remote beaches. I can’t make product endorsements, but they’re great”
Lake clark national park, alaska • Park Ranger Warren Hill an early fat bike owner and rider • Purchased a Surly Pugsley in 2004 • Lake Clark National Park is truly wilderness • No roads, no trails, extremely remote • 80 miles of beach with rocky outcrops • Fat bikes perfect for patrols on frozen rivers and beaches
Lake clark, cont. • Hill convinced park management to replace ATVs with fat bikes • With ATVs, park volunteers hard to find • Need to complete 3-day ATV safety class • With fat bikes, Hill has waiting list for park volunteers • Nearby town has highest percentage of fat bikes per capita (fuel is $7+ per gallon)
More from warren hill “I can load my fat bike on a plane, or use it to haul wood,” said Hill. “Fat bikes have extended our reach in so many ways.” “With our volunteer program using fat bikes, we’re praised for being ‘Green’ for switching to human power.”
Fat bikes and wildlife Photo from warren hill at lake clark national park in AK Note raft on handlebars, with paddle attached to frame Hill ordered more fat bikes for maintence use in 2012
Michigan tech update • Started fat bike trail use program in 2012 • 2.4 km of tilled trail • 9 km of snowmobile groomed trail • 2.5 km of ungroomed single track • 5 km of tilled beginner nordic trail open after trail lights are out at 9 pm • Jeff Parker, trail guru, reports “zero” damage to nordic trails
Mtu update, cont. • Based on success of MTU, Swedetown Ski Trails in Calument started a fat bike program • Fat Tuesdays – fat bikes allowed on trail system after 6 pm • Have also added two more local races due to number of fat bikes
Mtu update, cont. • Very few issues – damage from fat bike use of nordic ski trails is “zero” • Dropped nordic ski races because fat bike races draw better • Skiers and fat bike riders coexisting peacefully MTU Athletic Director “very pleased when she stopped by see fat bikers using our ski trails. She’s indicated she’d like to expand the fat bike trail network of trails.”
Methow valley udpate • Overall, program is running smoothly • Interest and exposure for fat bike trail use has been strong • Increase in ski ticket/pass sales due to fat bike riders • Organizers feel time and effort to implement fat bike trails have been worth it • Skeptics have reversed themselves – limited impact on trails by fat bikes demonstrated “ MVSTA will manage fat bikers in a way that there will be equal or less impact to the trails surface and safety that that of skiers”
Cuyuna MN update 2013 • 300% increase in riders from 2012 to date • Includes a vistor from Moab • Sagamore Unit is for fat bikes only – no mountain bikes • Yawkey Unit (Expert mountain bike trails) has also been opened to fat bike use (no mtb) • Grooming done with snow shoes
Cuyuna, cont. • Hallet community center created fat bike package for riders to use locker, shower, and sauna for modest fee • Largest % of riders from Metro (2.5 hours) • Whiteout race in march will have 150+ racers • Farthest distance registered rider so far – 700 miles Rode your trails for the first time. Great grooming job – best riding in mn! We’ll be back!
Mn fat bike access, cont. • Lack of snow has limited discussion of access issues • Mn’s legacy of single use trails a longstanding tradition • Eventually, fat bikes in mn will need to negotiate with either snowmobile or nordic ski trail managers for access if numbers continue to grow
IMBA’s Input on Fat bikes • IMBA has provided guidelines for fat bikes • Invited imba to attend fat bike summit and festival to begin dialogue about access • Imba seems like logical organization to provide overview and guidance for fat bikes • Issue of “negotiated/shared use” will only get larger as more fat bikes are sold
Best practices on groomed nordic trails • Only ride at ski areas that allow and encourage fat bike riding • Yield to other users when riding. Skiers don’t have brakes but you do! • Ride on the firmest part of the track • Do not ride on or in classic tracks • Leave room for skiers to pass (don’t ride side-by-side with your buddies blocking the trail)
Best Practices nordic, cont. • Allow the track time to set up • Respect alternate use days for bikers and skiers • Some areas require minimum width tread • Be an ambassador for the sport – stay polite, educate others, discourage bad behavior, and follow the rules • Help out and get involved by joining your local nordic club • Consider donating money for trail grooming
Best Practices for snowmobile trails • When riding on snowmobile trails, use a front white blinker and red rear blinker at all times • Stay to the far right of the trail and yield to snowmobiles • Know and obey the rules of the local land manager. Understand that some trails may be on private property and might not be open to alternative uses • Be prepared. Winter travel in backcountry requires carrying proper gear and dressing properly. Be self-sufficient!
Best practices snowmobile, cont. • Use extreme caution when riding at night. Be visible and use the brightest lights you can find. • Be friendly! Fat bikers are the newest trails users. Be courteous and open to suggestions from snowmobilers. • Help out by supporting your local snowmobile club • Consider donating to trail grooming maintenance efforts
BP for Natural terrain and backcountry • Do not trespass • Do not ride through sensitive wildlife habitats • Do not disturb wildlife • Learn safe ice travel • Understand changing conditions • Be prepared • Let people know • Learn to share
Fat bike summit action items • Ask IMBA to host a meeting in DC with their Regional Directors prior to the National Bike Summit • Ask IMBA to include a Fat Bike Access component as part of the next IMBA World Summit • Generate and post guidelines for land managers who would like to start fat bike trail access
Action items, cont. • Work with Tim Young to meet with Bob Radcliffe in DC regarding national park access • Try to implement a pilot fat bike program at either Yellowstone or Teton national parks • Could use fat bike for general travel within parks between buildings, or maintenance tasks • Need to find a revenue source for imba to take on fat bike role
Thank You! • Feel free to contact Gary with questions or comments about fat bikes, advocacy, etc. • firstname.lastname@example.org the best way to reach gary