Cycle Works owner, Kris Sonderup while working as a salesman at The Athlete's Foot. I sold Kris a pair of running shoes, and, in the course of our conversation that day, Kris invited me into his shop to test ride a couple of his mountain bikes, as I was interested in trading in my '87 Schwinn LeTour for something with a little fatter tires.
It wasn't more than two weeks later, and I was test riding Trek mountain bikes with Kris at the corner of 27th and Vine, in the waning days of the original Cycle Works location, in a converted car wash building on a corner across from its current location. Since I was still a senior in high school, I couldn't afford to pay the entire $400 + tax price of the Trek 850 I bought up-front, so I put it on layaway and began dreaming of the adventures I'd have with it. I imagined riding up and down steep hills, piles of snow, and just going out and seeing what's out there... regardless of whether there's a trail or not.
What I didn't understand at the time were the true capabilities of the mountain bike as a vehicle with which to travel vast distances. When I finally got my new Trek out of layaway and began riding in earnest, I soon realized I was no longer confined to a 'local' riding setting. The world was truly mine to conquor. And once Niterider began pumping out awesome lights, I was no longer constrained by the light of day either, making it possible to travel just about anywhere I wanted on my bike, anytime I wanted to go.
And in the nearly 22 years since I bought that first Trek 850, I've been fortunate to have traveled to incredible places -- Arizona, California, Colorado, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wyoming and more -- simply to ride and/or race my bicycle. I've spent the night on my bike (multiple times), acquired 34 screws and four plates in my body courtesy of lunacy on my bike, and wouldn't trade a single thing for the experience.
So what's that have to do with fatbikes?
|The next chapter of fat-tire adventure has arrived...|
To wit, yesterday, just messing around over on the Nebraska Wesleyan campus, I rode up to a set of five concrete steps at about 12mph and simply pedaled up them without slowing down. Whoa... That was cool. Other than barely clipping a crankarm on the top step, it was silent and smooth. I'd never try that on a 26" or 29" mountain bike.
|Even without a tapered steerer, that's still a beefy front end!|
When I built the bike, I set the rims/tires up tubeless right away. I pulled the tubes out when I trued the wheels and used Gorilla Tape to seal the rims up. I'm running my signature "getto blend" sealant, which has been perfect for cold weather running because it's specifically blended to stay liquid at sub-freezing temperatures. The tires sealed up without unusual drama and have been holding air reliably despite my shenanigans. I've been running between five and 12psi, depending on what I'm riding. Fatbikes like low pressure. 12psi is a LOT...
|The layout is just like a mountain bike, only bigger. Hub spacing is 135mm front, 170mm rear -- appropriate for the job.|
|You can see the 10mm shorter-than-stock, 100mm stem, the trimmed-for-GripShift WTB Trail grips, and the upgraded Avid BB7 brakeset I'm running, as well as the Jandd frame bag -- a relatively standard item for me.|
|The Salsa Bend 3 handlebar features a wrist friendly 17-degree sweep. SRAM GripShift shifters work well with Bar Mitts or other "pogie" style handlebar-mounted hand covers.|
As you might imagine, this is the bike I plan to be riding most this winter, and so far, that's borne out to be true. It's a fantastic partner for cold weather exploring and I feel like I may just be scratching the surface on a whole new type of riding that really appeals to me.
I'll keep you posted on how it's going...