Ah, nothing like a refreshing bike ride through the snow.
At least that’s what the 75 participants of the second annual Sugar Shack Hustle Fat Bike Scramble thought on Jan. 28 as they hit the trails at Shady Grove Maple Farm.
Put on by King Street Cycles, participants rode fat bikes six laps through a course with numerous different challenges.
“It sold out really fast last year with 50 participants, and everyone seemed to have a great time and really enjoyed it and everyone seemed really keen and was asking when the next one was,” said Andy Cox of King Street Cycles.
“So we decided we’d do another one and we actually bumped participation up from 50 to 75 and started selling online registration earlier and sure enough sold out 75 spots this year. Everyone’s really excited.”
Fat bikes have larger tires and rims than a normal off-road bicycle and they were created to allow for cycling in winter or on other unstable terrain. They spent a few Sundays setting up the course and the weekend before the event they let interested participants come do a pre-ride of the course.
“On our event Facebook page people are actually offering to pay more than the original price for anybody that wants to sell their spot, which is pretty funny. I’m surprised at how popular it is but I’m happy about that,” Cox said.
Some of the prizes included fat bike wheels, fat bike tires, winter clothing, and high end lights that allow you to ride at night.
The event is intended to be a low-key fun event. More women signed up than he thought would last year, and they suggested having a women specific category. So this year participants were divided into men and women. There were first, second, and third prizes for the fastest women finishers and a first, second, and third for the men.
“We didn’t want to make it too serious with different age categories. It’s more about having some fun out in the snow and enjoying some riding when typically you wouldn’t be riding,” Cox said.
The course definitely has its challenges and Cox says this allowed for people to excel in different areas. One section has a lot of blown in snow, meaning it’s deep and hard to ride through. Another portion is through the woods where the snow is packed down nice and it’s a scenic ride under the sap lines. Then in the middle of the woods there’s been no grooming at all, but this is where these bikes do well. A normal mountain bike would never make it through the snow. And lastly they rode along the side of the road where the faster cyclists were able to speed up with nothing in their way.
“Seeing as it’s sort of a new style of riding and a new style of bikes it does seem to be a fairly mixed crowd. We have some people who have been doing it for a long time and cycling in general for a long time and then we have people that just got their first bike this season and are brand new and they just want to go out and enjoy the day with like-minded folks. So it’s really quite a mixed bag,” Cox said.
Laura Jean’s Cookhouse was there with pancakes and sausages, and a bonfire was set up with marshmallows for roasting. Those who weren’t able to register this year are more than welcome to drop by King Street Cycles to test out a fat bike, which continues to grow in popularity.
“A lot of times when we live in this area we typically think of January and February as a time when there’s not a lot of riding going on. This has really opened up these winter months for people. These bikes go through the snow quite well and it allows people to get out and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the cycling that they love in a new time of year,” Cox said.