Fat bikes are becoming more popular in Maine, and it’s no surprise. These special bicycles, outfitted with wide tires, are built for riding on snow and rough surfaces — two things that Maine has in abundance.
Responding to the trend, a number of sports shops and recreation centers throughout the state have started renting out fat bikes. This allows people to try the activity without purchasing equipment.
If you’re interested in trying out this relatively new sport, here are a few tips from experienced fat bikers in Maine.
1. “Air pressure, air pressure, air pressure.”
Adam Gariepy, the manager at the Bar Harbor Bicycle Shop, said that having the right air pressure in your fat bike tires is key for a smooth ride.
“Lower pressure gives you more traction and floatation on the snow,” Gariepy said.
Craig MacDonald, president of the Penobscot Region chapter of the New England Mountain Bike Association, agrees.
“The tire pressure is probably the most important thing when you’re riding a fat tire bike,” MacDonald said. “Snow conditions kind of dictate how much tire pressure.”
MacDonald starts his tires at around 8 PSI (pound-force per square inch) for soft snow conditions, and increases the pressure for riding on more solid surfaces. He suggests referring to online charts that give suggested PSI for fat bike tires based on the weight of the rider, riding conditions and temperature.
Aislinn is a Bangor Daily News reporter for the Outdoors pages, focusing on outdoor recreation and Maine wildlife. Visit her main blog at actoutwithaislinn.bangordailynews.com.
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