Mountain biking: Fat bike is a year-round bicycle for all terrains

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Rain, swamp, twigs, pine cones, sleet, snow and ice. The four seasons in Finland and the eight seasons in Lapland offer very varied weather conditions for moving around in nature. Because of this, it is no wonder that fat bikes have gained a lot of popularity among mountain biking enthusiasts in recent years. In this blog post, we’ll talk a little more about this trendy hobby.
Mountain biking with fatbikes in Ranua, Finnish Lapland during summer

Table of contents

What is a fat bike?

The fat bike is, as the name implies, a bicycle with large (usually 4 to 5 inches wide) and heavily patterned tires, designed to be perfectly suited to all types of terrain as well as different riding conditions. The large tires on the impeller smooth the ride, which makes it easy for all levels of riders to progress even in difficult terrain. When riding an off-road bike on terrain, you also don’t have to go around obstacles, but with a bike designed for challenging conditions, you can also ride over rocks, stumps and small pits. It is possible to ride a fat bike in practically any kind of conditions: snow, soft sand, marshland, forests, paths and why not asphalt.

The popularity of this type of bike started to grow almost explosively after the beginning of the 2010s, after which it has leveled off to the present day, making fat wheels also familiar appearances in the street view of cities. The fat bike can be said to have established its place in Finland precisely due to the varying (and at times also surprising) weather and weather conditions.

Today, electric versions of fat bikes are also available, which make driving much easier, especially on hilly terrain. Purchasing an electric model can be recommended especially for beginners who want to lower the threshold for going for a bike ride.

The benefits of driving a fat bike

When it comes to challenging cycling conditions, it’s fat bike’s turn to appear and shine. The wide tires of the impeller run on soft sand, swamp, snow, slush and even combinations of all of these without its major challenges. The simple technology and the well-designed structure of the bike also make it very reliable and easy to maintain.

One of the biggest advantages of fat bike over normal bikes can be found on the tire grip side. Wide and rough-patterned tires combined with low tire pressures provide an almost endless amount of traction on any platform. Especially when it comes to dry weather, virtually all terrain can be considered mostly small-scale challenges that a fatbike can overcome with almost no effort. There is little need to worry about the driving lines on the back of the fat bike, but you can align the wheel tire in the direction you want and then do nothing but pedal.

Another clear advantage over the standard bike is that the fat bike also has a much lower probability of tire failure. The reason for this is, firstly, the thick and strong tires found on the fat wheel, but even more so that due to the wide tire and low tire pressure, the tire has a much larger than normal contact surface with the ground. The larger the contact area, the larger the weight on the wheel. As a result, glass shards or a sharp sanding chip, for example, do not pass through the tire as easily as bicycles with narrower tires.

Whatever plans to get a bike for daily movement, it is good to take into account that you can get to the bike even if you get knives from the sky, but it is useless to dream of breaking speed records if you do not find a huge amount of force on your feet. Although the fatbike is massive in size when seen on a normal bike, its treading is much lighter than expected.

Where can you drive with a bicycle?

Driving a fat bike in Finland can be done under the everyman’s right, which means that the bikes can be ridden anywhere, although the Road Traffic Act sets its own restrictions on cycling. Since the fat bike is a year-round bicycle, perhaps the most notable limitation is found in the fact that during the winter season, the bike is not allowed to ride on cross-country trails. While a fatbike tire may not break the surface of the track, at least driving on cross-country trails is not recommended.

The same unwritten rule also applies to snowmobile runs, although it is not specifically prohibited by the Road Traffic Act. During the winter season, it is also good to remember that it is not necessarily worth riding a bike in the deepest snow, but when going to the hangout, it is worth waiting for the spring to get on.

Mountain biking has become Lapland's summer tourist attraction

Mountain biking in Lapland has gained a lot of popularity in recent years, and many separate routes have been built in connection with the hiking trails for cycling as well. In the face of supply and interest, off-road cycling has made itself a real asset for summer tourism in Lapland.

Today, there are already many high-quality and versatile mountain bike routes in Lapland, and it is easy to expect that the offer will continue to expand in the future as well. Cycling is slowly gaining popularity right alongside hiking.

During the autumn, my intention is to compile my own separate blog post about Lapland’s mountain biking trails. In anticipation of this, I recommend subscribing to our newsletter, as a result of which you will be among the first to be informed about the publication of this blog post. You can subscribe to the newsletter at the bottom of this page.

Mountain biking etiquette

Everyman’s rights and free movement also bring with them the responsible side. Since the right to move in nature is equal, it is also important for a mountain biker to take into account other people staying in the nature.

Since we are talking about bicycles, controlled situational speed is an important factor that brings safety to everyone on the move. In nature, the cyclist moves faster than those on foot, so the duty to avoid is primarily the responsibility of the cyclist.

It is also good to keep the right driving style in mind, and this is to minimize off-road consumption. While fat bikers can access virtually any type of terrain, it’s good for a cyclist to stay on marked trails and tracks created specifically for mountain biking. To save soil, it is also a good idea to avoid locking the brakes that leave large marks and damage on the ground.

When mountain biking, it is also a good idea to familiarize yourself with the rules of a particular route and area in advance. Also, leaving garbage in nature is always absolutely forbidden, and the simple principle applies to this, that what one can bear in nature full, can be easily carried away empty.

When going to a foreign place and area, it is also important to treat the area’s residents, landowners and route operators with respect. When moving off-road, you can always drift into conflict situations from time to time, which, however, can be avoided well with your own behavior and conciliatory attitude.

Mountain biking in Ranua

In Ranua, fat bikes can be rented directly in the courtyard of Arctic Guesthouse & Igloos, which offers both adult and children’s models. Lapland Adventure & Hunting is responsible for renting fatbikes at our company’s premises, which also organizes guided fatbike tours in the vicinity of Ranua. In addition, mountain bikes can be rented from both Ranua Zoo and Ranuanjärvi Camping Area.

The best mountain biking trails can be found in Ranua, in the area between the Ranua Zoo Nature Trail and Oravi, where there is a ski trail in winter. Good routes can also be found in connection with the Ranuanjärvi nature trail and in the Simojärvi and Soppana area. Other places worth mentioning can be found on the slopes of the Ranua snowmobile trails, which take you to practically all directions when viewed from the center of the village. However, it is possible to utilize these sled trails mainly in the time of the melted earth.

If you are interested in visiting Ranua this autumn, take a look at Ranua’s other autumn offerings.

Sources and about the subject elsewhere: National Parks | Mountain biking Visit Finland | Into to the Wild by Bike Lapland.fi | Cycling, Fatbiking, Mountain biking

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