United States


Fatso on the Road

I recently spent a couple of days in Los Angeles. Any time I travel I like to take a bike with me, cuz I’d rather ride than walk or drive (you know, cuz it funner). I found myself in a bind though. I was going out to LA on Moonlander business (yep I just said that) so I had to bring a Moonlander with me. I don’t know how many of you have tried to pack one of these beasts to travel, but they suck to pack. There is pretty much no way to do it, without having a separate box for one of the wheels (in my case I packed both wheels in their own box). So having two cases for one bike made me realize I would not be able to bring my regular travel bike with me, so I would have to ride the Moonlander around the city.

This is a bike that was built for a very specific purpose, and city riding was not it. The Moonlander is built to go where other bikes falter. Loose shitty conditions (sand, snow, mud, bushes, etc.), and although the streets of LA are riddled with giant potholes I couldn’t really imagine myself riding that bike around the city. I knew it would be slow, and suspected it would feel sluggy, boring and just frustrate me. I tried to figure out a way I could get a small bike in the big case with the Moonlander frame, but all to no avail. So I decided to ride what I had, and stop being such a big fat baby.

Turns out, it was a blast. Now, the bike was considerably slower than I would have been on my Steamroller, or Trucker, or Ogre for that matter. Riding that bike in the city required me to adapt my riding style to the bike, rather than the other way around. That’s sort of a no brainer though. Anyone who has spend any serious time on a Pug or a Moony will tell you, it’s like learning to ride a whole new kind of bike.

And there is a really good reason for that.

It is, a whole new kind of bike.

That idea harkens me back to the early days of Mountain biking. I knew so many people who hated it at first because they just didn’t have the speed that they had on the road. It wasn’t as fun for them. But they rode more, and more and got their confidence and mojo all lined up and then they had a blast. The fatbikes are the same thing. You've got to learn about the bike and what it can do. You have to put in the time, especially on loose conditions, but even in the city; it isn't easy to understand just what a bike like that is capable of on a first ride, or even a tenth. You have to ride and ride and ride the thing to really understand all the cool shit you can do upon it. You have to learn first hand to find the confidence that goes along with the “fun” part of riding.

It took me a long time on my Moonlander to really appreciate all the things I could do (and all the things I could roll over, crush, kill, float) now I love it, and can’t imagine life without it.

The street riding I did in LA inspired me to start commuting on my Pug, which is equally as fun. It’s really all about that, at least to me. On that bike in the city, you can cut every corner and backyard shortcut to your hearts content, hop curbs and smash over potholes, ride down stairs, and if you're really good, ride up them too. It’s not about being fast, it’s about having fun. The ten extra minutes it might take you to get home if you stomp around in alleys a bit, will be well worth it. Though if being fast is the only way you can have fun, try a track bike in a velodrome, or work your ass off on a Fatbike and smoke all the plastic carbon bikes with a giant smile on your face. I know a couple of dudes who can fly on those bikes to be sure, fat tires or no.

It's really all about how you have fun.

So go do that. Get out and ride.

Gern Blanston's avatar

About Gern Blanston

A rider-slash-Surly fan who somehow bounced like a quarter at a drunken college mixer into what he thinks is pretty much the swellest job a fella could have, it is Tyler’s job to determine how Surly should seek attention to its products and itself generally. He has an extensive background in children’s theater, which is, perhaps not surprisingly, a good fit for the marketing manager of this company.

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