Fat-tire biking in Traverse City is a bona fide cure to cabin fever. Head to these trails this winter.

Exploding in popularity, and accessible to newbies and seasoned riders, fat-tire biking is a thrilling reprieve to treadmill monotony and makes favored trails and locales navigable even in the throes of winter.

Fat tire biking is akin to mountain biking with a more methodical pace and looser feel. Utilizing lower gears and gradual pace, fat tire is more about the venture than the velocity. But don’t let the ponderous pace keep you from deviating from the snow-pack path. Wide tires coupled with mountain bike suspension make these cycles into true all terrain. While these bikes are well suited for snowy conditions, fat bikes will also handle mud, sand and gnarly root or rock-filled trails with ease. This novel take on cycling upon uncharted territory will have you grinning like a kid who’s just dropped the training wheels.

Like most active winter endeavors layering is the key for fat tire biking. Wool socks with a synthetic base and a blend of mid layers will go a long way. Pull a wind-cutting shell jacket on top and you’ll be trail ready. Insulated winter boots are recommended footwear to ensure digits retain feeling. Pull on a beanie before strapping on your helmet (safety first) and a reliable pair of mittens will make the ride enjoyable. For more inclement conditions, ski goggles would be a sound idea.

Before you drop a paycheck on a new bike for your recently acquired obsession, take a rental out for a ride. Einstein Cycles in Traverse City offers a variety of fat-tire bikes. The experienced staff will fit the bike to your dimensions and have you pumping over powder before you know it.


Two of the most popular pathways for fat tire biking are the VASA Pathway and Timber Ridge Resort, both in Traverse City. Groomed all winter long and laced with a variety of loops and distances, this is one of the best locations for introductory riders. Bikers looking for company should join the group ride put on by Einstein Cycle. Fat-tire enthusiasts set off Sundays on the VASA and also have a “Friday Night Lights” night ride departing from Timber Ridge.

Andrew VanDrie writes from Traverse City. vandrian@umich.edu

Photo(s) by Andrew VanDrie