Fat-biking in the Jura on March 25, 2018.
Fat-biking in the Jura on March 25, 2018.

Fat Biking

Most Swiss my age basically grew up skiing. I didn't. I only got my first pair of skis a year before we went to skiing camp with high school. I sold my skis the same year I graduated from high school and have never skied again. For one, it's an expensive sport, but more importantly, it's a hobby that requires traveling each time you want to hit the slopes. And that's the biggest turnoff for me. Driving an hour or more on busy weekend highways, arriving at filled-up parking lots, then standing in line at the lifts to get up the mountain and meet more long lines at mountain restaurants when hunger calls - that's not how I care to spend the weekend.

Cycling on the other hand is a sport where I can leave the car at home and just take off from my driveway, do a loop in my backyard, and be home again. No unnecessarily burned gas, no penny spent, and no time traveling wasted. So, I've always been biking in the winter. Before moving to California I did many winter rides on my 26er mountain bikes at the time. Upon our return 10 years later, I snow-biked on my 29er single-speed.

When fat bikes started becoming popular in the US and parts became more readily available in 2012, I decided to get one. I often carried my 29er through deep snow, sometimes for hours in the hope of finding rideable conditions. A fat bike, so my thinking, would allow me to ride more and walk less. So I had my first fat bike built - a 44 Big Boy. I've been fat-biking ever since.

Fat-biking strangely never really caught on in Switzerland. I for my part couldn't think of not having one. In fact, if I could only own one bike, it'd be a fat bike. It's by far the most versatile and most capable bike. It's obviously the best tool for soft surfaces such as snow and sand, but it's just as fun as a trail bike. In fact, in many circumstances, it's superior to bikes with normal tires thanks to the huge tire volume and the unmatched grip of those nearly pressureless tires. The bike climbs and rolls over stuff like nothing else. And that go-anywhere attitude stamped into the genes of a fat bike has ultimately taken me off-trail - a new way of mountain biking.