Fat Biking Tips to Make Your Yukon Experience More Fun
*These tips and recommendations are from a Singletracks article by author Greg Heil
- If you’re leaving a deep rut, turn around: Fat biking enjoyment can be condition-dependent. Chances are, if you are leaving a deep rut and having trouble holding your line (i.e. wobbling and weaving a lot), not only are you pushing your bike a lot, but you might be making the trail less usable for others. Now how to avoid leaving ruts is the key (see below), and all snow-covered trails are prone to degradation, but if you’re out for a ride and find that you’re leaving a deep rut in the trail – turn around and come back another day! When the weather starts to warm up, going in the early morning after the nighttime cold will be when the trail is most hardpacked. When the temperatures climb above freezing, make sure that you don’t ride when the trail is slushy.
- Use tires that are at least 3.8″ wide: This gives you better traction, and makes it less likely you will leave a rut (also, tires of minimum 3.8″ width are required for crossing ski trails at Mt MacIntyre – see “Fat Biking at Mt MacIntyre” below).
- Adjust your air pressure to the conditions : As a general rule, the softer the conditions, the lower the air pressure you need to run in your tires. Air pressure is dependent on rider weight, and a heavier rider may need to use a slightly higher air pressure than a light rider. It’s easier to start a touch higher and let out air than it is to add air to your tires in the middle of a ride. A general guideline is to start at 6-8 psi and adjust from there.
- Don’t post hole through a groomed trail: “Post holing” is the act of hiking in deep snow without snowshoes, leaving deep footprint holes behind you, which resemble post holes. If you reach a hill that you can’t pedal up on your fat bike, make sure that you walk in the unpacked snow off to the side of the trail. However, in some places where the snowpack is very deep, you could easily sink in to your waist (or deeper) when you go off the packed trail. In such a situation, walking off the trail may be impossible. The best choice in this situation is, again, to turn around and not leave foot prints, or get off to the side of the trail as much as possible away from the packed tracks.
- As the weather warms, avoid thawing conditions: As the weather warms – either with a change in weather patterns or as spring approaches – trail conditions become more variable, with “freeze/thaw” conditions taking over.
- While the temps may climb above freezing, that doesn’t mean the trail immediately starts to melt. However, expect variable conditions, and plan your route accordingly. Areas with direct sunlight will soften and deteriorate more quickly, while forested or shadowed trail will stay firm for some time, even if it’s getting warm.
- Make sure that fat bikes are allowed on the trail you’re riding :
- See below regarding etiquette for fat biking at Mount Mac.
- Mount Sima is not open to fatbikes.
- Most of Grey Mountain is fair game (though not always packed or groomed), but please out of courtesy do not ride on the groomed Chadburn Lake Ski Trails. Those trails are groomed and tracked by volunteers and we ask fatbikers to avoid them to reduce/avoid conflict.
- If you are unsure about where you can fatbike, post your question in the Yukon Fat Bike facebook group or email email@example.com
- When riding on snowmobile trails, consider using lights and wearing reflective gear: Take precautions similar to those you would take while riding on the road, like wearing a blinky tail light and reflective clothing. Also, IMBA recommends that riders “stay to the far right of the trail and yield to snowmobiles.”
- Respect the other users on the trail. Respect other fat bikers. Respect the land manager. Respect the efforts of volunteer groomers.
- And, most importantly, be an ambassador for the sport – stay polite, educate other bikers, discourage bad behaviour, follow the rules, and we’ll all have a good time this winter.
Fat Biking at Mt. MacIntyre
To access the trails at Mt Mac, you can ride across the Copper Ridge Connector to Porcupine Ridge; or start from the designated fat bike trail from the wax room/curling club parking lot (trail starts in the southwest corner of the parking lot, near the tennis court) and bike up to the dirt jump park, cross Olympic trail to the Rocky Canyon singletrack, turn left on the winter entrance to Can Can before crossing the 7.5 km, or cross the 7.5 km to connect to The Collective (the new end segment for The Collective we built in fall 2018 means you won’t have to bike along the 7.5 km, just one quick crossing).
CMBC guidelines for fat biking at Mt Mac, so we can help our friends at the Whitehorse Cross Country Ski Club:
- If you would like to use the Mt. McIntyre Recreational Centre and its amenities (including sauna, washrooms, etc.) please purchase a day pass OR be a member of WCCSC.
- Purpose built snow bikes only please! Both tires must be at least 3.8” wide. Absolutely no regular mountain bikes.
- Snow bikes yield to skiers at crossings.
- Stay on snow bike designated trails. DO NOT ride on any ski trails. Ski trails should only be crossed in order to access singletrack.
- When crossing ski trails, stay on your bike. Do not walk across ski trails, this will leave punctures.
- Do not stop on ski trails. If you are waiting for colleagues, please wait on the singletrack. All trails are bi-directional. Keep your eyes and ears open for users that may be travelling towards you.