What Is a Fatbike?
First off what is Fatbiking? Fatbiking is the awesome act of riding bikes that have 4 inch + tires, and provide float on just about any riding surface. Not only does it feel and sound like a cross between pedal powered tank and a lunar rover, it is sure to put a smile on any rider’s face! Fatbikes have been around for quite a while now and I remember trying it out a few years back and instantly falling in love with it.
Where to Fatbike?
If you’re in the Montreal region, there are quite a few places where you can give it a try. Right now the city of Verdun has a great program going on called Verdun Actif, where they are offering free Fatbike rentals for an hour at a time a time at Parc Arthur-Therrien. They are also offering any other activities to try free of charge, such as skating, snowshoeing and “snow scooters” (though apparently this only for children).
The Verdun Actif program will be taking place for only a few more weeks until March 10th and is available to anyone. Get yourself riding on Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00-4:00 and throughout the March Break, March 4th-8th during the same hours. The park has a very limited number of bikes, but they have a large supply of cross country skis to try while you wait.
If city riding isn’t your thing and you’d like to get out more into the wild take a look at Sepaq’s offerings, there are many of the Quebec parks that offer Fatbike rentals.
A quick look shows that the following parks offer rental services in the Montreal area:
Parc national d'Oka
Parc national des Îles-de-Boucherville
Parc national du Mont-Saint-Bruno
Parc national du Mont-Tremblant
Parc national de la Yamaska
Parc national du Mont-Orford
I’d recommend showing up early to make sure you can rent the bike for as long you’d like, otherwise you may either have to cut your ride short or be stuck waiting for an available bike.
So Should you try a fatbike this winter?
Absolutely! Fatbiking has got to be one of the most fun and different winter activities there is. This weekend my girlfriend and I went to try it out for her first time and we had a blast! We decided to give the Verdun Actif program a try, and for novice Fatbikers there is no problem riding on the snow. My girlfriend had a great time and was smiling as we rode around the park.
I would have to recommend that if you are going to try it for your first time, be sure to check the weather before. Riding on ice is very doable, just mind sudden movements and you won’t slip or fall. Sleek and slush makes for a wet ride but who doesn’t love riding through a giant puddle? However, fresh packed snow is where Fatbikes excel at riding! If you can go out after a nice snowfall, it would be the best conditions to experience your first ride. Hope you have fun, let me know if you liked your Fatbike experience!