The winter months are fast approaching, and that means fat biking season is around the corner, too.
Sault Cycling Club advocacy director Andre Riopel says that the trails in the city are in great condition right now with the cold nights and minimal snow we’ve had.
“The trails are very busy, a lot of cyclists are going (fat biking) and the trails are looking really good,” he said. “The conditions right now are almost as good as they get.”
“We have a specific fat bike trail that we are going to be grooming as the winter moves forward,” Riopel said.
Fat biking is similar to mountain biking, except with fat bike tires that are 4 inches wide, allowing for cycling on unstable terrains, like snow or sand.
“With the fat bike you don’t dig in at all, which is perfect for these kinds of conditions,” he said. “Fat biking in Sault Ste. Marie is extremely popular.”
Some trails for fat biking in the area can be found at Hiawatha Highlands, Crimson Ridge, the Hub Trail, and Whitefish Island.
“The trails at Crimson are longer with less twists and turns, so it’s a lot faster with a lot of hills,” Riopel said. “At Hiawatha, it’s more technical with a lot of turns. The Hub Trail is great, and Whitefish Island is good for beginners.”
Riopel says there are many reasons why fat biking is a great winter activity.
“Right now with COVID, you’re outside doing exercise in a safe way. It’s a great sport for the era we’re in,” he said.
“What I like about fat biking, compared to riding on the road, is the fact that I’m in a forest and in nature. It’s very therapeutic. The trails at Hiawatha are probably some of the best fat biking trails in the province, if not the best,” he said. “We have a gift here in Sault Ste. Marie.”
Riopel strongly encourages people to get out and try fat biking but not go for walks on those trails as that causes damage.