WINTER WHEELS: Urban Fat Bike Group Encourages Community
local fave SHIFT Cyclery & Coffee Bar is now offering a new free event
Locals know SHIFT Cyclery and Coffee Bar as the hidden gem, hole-in-the-wall, dual shop that bridges bikes with coffee brews, but the shop also wants folks to know their new winter riding event is open to anyone.
SHIFT’s new Urban Fat Bike Group Rides event is scheduled out through March and will be every other Wednesday at 6pm (Jan. 4, Jan. 18, Feb. 1, Feb. 15, March 15, and March 29), starting and ending at the shop. While fat bikes are a plus given our area’s wintry weather through spring, SHIFT Bike Manager Chris Locke said they certainly aren’t a requirement for people to participate.
“I’m putting it out there as a fat biking group, but it’s really for anybody,” Locke explained. “It’s basically a social group ride, short and sweet, with a social gathering afterward at SHIFT for hot chocolate or beers.”
For folks who aren't familiar, fat bikes are created to accommodate much larger tires than a normal road or mountain bike, ranging anywhere from 3.8" to more than 5" wide. Though popular year-round as well, the larger tires create traction and stability specifically helpful to enjoy a safe ride in winter conditions, and help from "breaking through" the surface of groomed snowy single track trails.
The cycling community in the Chippewa Valley is a pretty tight-knit one, Locke said, with people who enjoy different aspects of the ride – steady long-distance rides versus wild trails or short, leisurely rides – but the people part of the Urban Fat Bike Group are all just lookin' for a good ride and good time.
For people who aren’t avid bikers, the SHIFT event is a way to learn about the community, visit new trails and routes, and try out new gear. “A big part of this is (for new people), we can outfit them, show them routes and see new things around town,” Locke explained. “I want everybody to feel like they can come out to these.”
Locke recalled the first time he ever saw fat bikes, while he had been more into snowshoeing. “It was actually at Powder Keg I first saw (a fat bike) and I was like, ‘That is the coolest thing.’” The rest, as they say, is history.
Keep up with SHIFT’s Urban Fat Bike Group and the shop through their Facebook (@eaushift).