Fat biking has exploded in popularity in recent years. Fat bike trail etiquette is key to ensuring trails are maintained and open for fat biking.
Treating the trails, and other trail users, with respect will foster a positive reputation for this sport and ensure its continued growth.
Here’s advice on how to be a positive fat biking ambassador.
Fat Bike Trail Etiquette
General Fat Bike Trail Etiquette
Make sure fat bikes are allowed on the trails you plan to ride. Check the local trail alliance website or message them directly.
Use a fat bike. Many trail networks stipulate minimum tire widths, usually 3.7″. Anything less and you’ll cause ruts and damage the trail.
If you are on a fat bike and still creating ruts, stop riding. Either drop your pressure lower so your fat bike tires float, or come back another day when conditions are better. 3-5PSI for soft snow, 5-8PSI for hard packed snow.
If you have to push your fat bike, do not walk on singletrack. Walk beside it (even if it’s powder) and roll your bike on the trail. If you leave deep foot prints (“post-holing”) they damage the trail for others.
Respect other trail users. Fat biking is still relatively new, and the more positive interactions other trail users have with fat bikers, the better our reputation.
Hiker/ Snowshoer Fat Bike Trail Etiquette
Make noise, especially on descents. Fat bikes can be extremely quiet on snow. Coming around a blind corner with a group of winter hikers or snowshoers on the other side is a recipe for disaster.
Maintain control of your bike when others are around. It takes longer to stop on snow–leave a generous buffer between you and slower trail users.
Tell others users how many are in your group when you pass them, so they won’t be surprised by your friend coming around the corner behind you.
Give a generous amount of space when you pass, in case you or someone else loses balance.
Cross Country Skiing Fat Bike Trail Etiquette
Do not ride in or over set ski tracks. Walk and lift your bike over them if they cross your trail. Damaged set ski tracks severely impact nordic skiers. Since many fat biking trails exist alongside decades-old established nordic ski routes, we want to keep them happy and not risk our access.
Yield to cross country skiiers. Always. We have brakes; they don’t.
For trails that allow fat bikes on skate ski paths, always stay on the hardest packed part of the trail and yield to skate skiiers.
If you are in a group, ride in single file so there’s room for skiiers (and other fat bikers) to pass.
Many fat bike trails are shared with other users. Take care of them, and the trail. Ruined trails affect everyone.
The better we respect proper fat bike trail etiquette and are positive ambassadors for our sport, the better our future trail access and development will be.
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