27 March 2014

Making New And Wider Tracks

Back when I was an active off-road rider,  a lot of ski resorts became mountain-biking meccas during the summer.  I rode (and hopped and jumped!) a  few in upstate New York, Vermont, Canada, France and Switzerland.  

During the mid- and late-90's, much of eastern North America  experienced a string of unusually mild winters.  So, from what I understand, mountain biking kept some of those upstate and Green Mountain havens in business.

Fast-forward a decade and a half.  Now it seems some of those same ski areas aren't waiting for summer to cater to cyclists. Or is it that mountain bikers aren't waiting for summer to make tracks in their favorite trails?

Actually, the new breed of snowbikers is making their mark (pun intended) in Washington state, Oregon and other areas of western North America.  However, it wouldn't surprise me to see it come east.

Those riders are sort of like Gary Fisher, Keith Bontrager, Joe Breeze and the other mountain bike pioneers of Marin County four decades ago.  Like those early intrepid off-roaders, snowbikers were, until recently, cutting, welding and bolting their super-wide-tired machines together from disused and discarded bikes. 

In another paralell with early mountain bike history, a few small custom makers are starting to offer ready-made bikes for the purpose.

And the fat-tired flyers might be the salvation of some of the ski areas in question, particularly those that are the provinces of cross-country skiers.  After all, the number of cross-country skiers has never been very large in the US, especially compared to the number of mountain bikers.

Could moonmobiles with 5" wide tires be coming to a bike shop near you?


  1. I don't really have a need for one so I couldn't justify spending thousands to buy one but when Walmart offered them I couldn't resist. First was a single speed coaster brake version last year and this year a 7spd disc brake version. I bought each one when they first came out. I have already gotten my $200 and some change worth of fun out of each of them.

  2. Randy--If I lived closer, or traveled more often, to a ski area, I might get a bike like the ones you bought. But I don't think I'd spend thousands of dollars (which I don't have at the moment) for bikes with tires wider than my more-than-ample rear!