Fat/Snow Bikes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fatbike
A great fun bike, most OMBA members I know who ride them use them to extend the biking season right through the winter.
These bikes have quite the local following and are very well supported by our local Sponsors and many of them have rental bikes.
Fat/Snow Biking in the Ottawa Area
Gatineau Park / Parc de la Gatineau
I prefer a packed trail to ride on, snowshoe trails are perfect, and here in Ottawa we have the luxury of Gatineau Park. OMBA has been very active in working with the National Capital Commission (NCC) over the last 10 years, and our most notable project so far is a 10 km Pilot Project of Snowbike access to share trails 64, 65, 66 , 67, 70, 71, 72 with snowshoe users.
Rules and Code of Ethics
- We suggest that you carry your Season Pass or buy a Snowshoe and Winter Bike daily pass
- Yield to snowshoers. You have them to thank for the hard trails you use.
- Keep off cross-country ski trails, except at designated crossings, and yield to skiers.
- Avoid locking your rear wheel (skidding) on downhill runs; the ruts left behind can damage the trails.
- Required outdoor temperature: 0 °C or less
- Required depth of snow cover: 5 cm (2 inches) or more
- Recommended tire pressure: 10 PSI or less
- Get off the trails:
- If your tracks are deeper than 2.5 cm (1 inch);
- If you have trouble steering in a straight line;
- if snow conditions prevent you from being able to climb gentle slopes
Be courteous, and respect other Park users.
To access the trails, a minimum of a snowshoe pass will be required, a cross country ski pass will also allow Snow bike access to these trails.
For more information see the Gatineau Park Snow Biking Website: http://www.ncc-ccn.gc.ca/places-to-visit/gatineau-park/things-to-do/snow-biking-gatineau-park
If you would like to see the trail map, follow this link: Gatineau Park Winter Snow Bike Trail Map
South March Highlands
The South March Highlands offer another fantastic Fat/Snow bike area in Ottawa. In the summer it is a very technical trail network, but the challenging features become smoother in the winter. These are trails on City of Ottawa land that OMBA maintains, and they are also multi-use trails in the winter, so be polite to all trail users. Trail Map for South March Highlands (SMH)
The Advantages of Fat/Snow Biking
I enjoy the extended season, and riding some of the trails I find too hard in the summer. It is fun to get out there and see how differentt the trails are. Some of those difficult steps, both up and down, become ride-able with snow assist!
A fun thing to do, is to go out for a while after a big snowfall and snowshoe a trail to pack it down and then ride it later or the next day.
Slow cruising, taking in the scenery and the occasional “flask” stop has become my favourite fat/snow riding.
However, fat/snow biking is far from limited to my preferences. Some of our members go bike packing; load up the fatty workhorse with saddle bags, handlebar bags, frame bags and take off for an overnighter or longer. How about a Hut to Hut trip, OMBA members have tried many variations.
One the highlights of my Fat/Snow Bike year is the Winter Bike Festival at Kingdom Trails in Vermont, check out the pictures, several OMBA crew are featured. Winter Bike is part of a larger scene known as Le Grand Fat Tour. It is a series of fun events with a larger turnout every season! Le Grand Fat Tour is taking a low profile this year (2015/16), but the events that make up the tour are still going on.
Check out the Ottawa Fat Bike Society on Facebook. Ask questions on the OMBA Facebook page, join OMBA to support the unified voice for Fat/Snow bike access in the Ottawa and Outaouais regions. Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for Demo days and other fun social activities!