It seems to be in the nature of man that some of us are born explorers and inventors, and the rest of us slowly take advantage of these developments. So it is with cycling. From a relatively stable environment up to the 1980's or so, there has been an explosion of ideas. Some have fallen by the wayside, some limp along as a minority interest, many make it into the big time and some are so new they've not yet had the chance to mature.
So it is with the Fatbike. Developed to deal with snow, run on sand, it's now gradually infiltrating the UK biking scene.
It's not that hard to see why. Recent severe winters have given us weeks of lying snow, making normal cycling difficult and impossible. The idea of a bike which would work - and even be fun - in this environment is hard to criticise. We are also an island nation (or 3 nations if you prefer). That means there's lots of coastline to be explored. However, the broad, low-pressure footprint of the Fatbike also has a place on many of the more commonly used trails and in more remote glens where it will more glide over bog and mud than through it like a standard "skinny" tyre.
With all of this in mind, I decided to dip my feet into the wide-tyred waters and I'm now the owner of a lovely new 9:zero:7 all the way from Anchorage, Alaska.
Build-wise, I also decided to try an Internal Gear Hub - in this case the 11-speed Shimano Alfine. This raised a couple of other technical issues. My experience with normal derailleurs in snow and ice hasn't been good, I didn't want to run any sort of chain tensioner either. Hence a very special bottom bracket.
My initial rides have ironed out a couple of problems and I'm now beginning to explore a little further with it.
It would be nice to have some snow though......