Fat Tire Biking in Door County
If you think biking is only a warm weather pursuit, then you’re missing out on all the fun that is fat tire biking.
These bikes feature large tires with low pressure which allow you to ride easily over roots, snow, rocks, and sand—places where normal bikes tires wouldn’t dare tread. Riders rip through single track, devour rocky terrain, or float over snow on these specialized off-road bikes with thick huge tires that remain light as a feather.
A fat bike is more appropriately called a fat tire bike and features tires that are at least 3.7 inches thick, which are inflated to just 10 psi or so to gain great traction, a smooth ride, and the ability to gobble up single track, snow, rocks, and many other obstacles that might prove perilous to other bikes.
You can take on much more difficult terrain more easily on a fat tire than on a traditional mountain bike. In fact, many long-time mountain bikers will tell you they ditched their mountain bike after experiencing a fat tire bike ride.
Where to Rent Bikes
A fat tire bike is a big investment on its own, so before you get your own, try it out by renting from Nor Door Sport & Cyclery in Fish Creek. The cycling specialty shop is located near the main entrance to Peninsula State Park, making it easy to rent bikes and gear to ride right away.
Take Sunset Trail or ride on the roads winding up and down the bluffs.
If you forgot to pack your cold weather layers, stop into Bay Shore Outfitters or Ecology Sports to get the right fabrics and pieces to keep you shielded against the winter elements.
Where to Ride
In summer, you can ride a fat bike on any trail you would ride a mountain bike on.
Come winter, you can ride on the roads of Peninsula State Park as well as any roads that are groomed for snowmobiling. However, you can’t ride the fat bike on Sunset Trail when it’s groomed for snowmobiling.
Outside of Peninsula State Park, there are many winter riding opportunities around Door County. A favorite route includes the trails at Newport State Park, including a special fat bike trail loop. This trail is groomed in some sections, and offers about 5 miles of great trails in the state’s first designated wilderness park.
The combination of sand, mud, rock, and roots present on the mountain bike trails offer an ideal platform for fat bikes. Not to mention the promise of solitude and quiet that comes with venturing north of Ellison Bay.
In all state parks, trails are open to fat biking as long as they are not groomed for cross-country skiing. You may NOT ride fat bikes on snowmobile trails located outside the state parks at all.
Tips & Other Gear
- Invest in some shoe covers to keep out the wind and moisture and the same goes for a high quality pair of warm gloves.
- Keep the tire pressure around 10 psi to allow for a comfortable ride and good tired grip. Anything higher will cause the tires to slip.
- Stay seated while climbing. Standing up and taking your weight off the rear tire will cause you to lose traction, especially in wet snow or sand.
- If you’re of legal age, add a shot of alcohol to your water bottle to keep it from freezing and warm you up a bit.
- At the start of your ride expect to be cold—but don’t worry. As you work up a sweat you’ll be more than warm enough. Pack along good face coverage and pocket warmers in the case of really cold temperatures.
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