“It's all about the gear,” says Joey Ernst of Velorution Cycles and Bedrock Bags in southwestern Colorado. “You can go out in 30 degrees and be miserable if you have the wrong gear, or you can go out in 10 below and be perfectly comfortable if you have the proper gear.”
After a 10-degree February morning of breaking trail in the Southern Rockies, Ernst took us back to his shop to show us some of the proper gear he was talking about.
“If you want to get your feet wet, so to speak, you can start by renting a fat bike,” Ernst said. He says typical ski wear can get you by for your first few rides. But after the bug bites and you're ready for more, you'll find yourself looking at soft goods that make those cold rides a bit warmer.
Ernst suggests shoe covers - booties that slide over your biking shoes and seal out the cold - or better yet, snag a fat-biking specific boot, like the 45 North Wolvhammer. Rated for 0 to 25 degree Fahrenheit, the Wolvhammer is a tough blend of leather and nylon with a waterproof membrane and a Vibram sole. The boots work with flatbed clipless pedals.
For the hands, Ernst recommends pogies. Just like cold water kayakers use in ice water paddling, pogies, available from Bedrock Bags stay fixed on handlebars, covering your levers and shifters while providing a nice warm place for you hands. They also allow riders to wear a thinner glove.
Ernst says he likes to throw an extra layer and pair of gloves in his kit, just in case. A headlamp or nightlight is always a good idea as well.
It's all about the right stuff. The more comfortable you are, the longer you'll ride. With the right equipment, there's no end of the trail.
So pedal off in to the snow and get your fat bike on.
Contact editor Brandon Mathis at email@example.com or 970-375-4576