Fat tire bikes keep bike shops rolling all winter long
GRAND TRAVERSE COUNTY, Mich. (WPBN/WGTU) -- As the snow covers the ground outside Einstein Cycles in Traverse City, the business inside keeps on spinning.
“Fat bikes came out and they didn't really take off immediately," said Einstein Cycles Service Manager Dan Curnayn while he actively worked on a fat bike. "They were something people did in Alaska on sled dog trails and people just thought they were goofy here.”
While fat bikes have been around for a while, they started to take off in Michigan a few years ago, keeping Curnayn and Einstein Cycles busy all year long.
“Previously in the winter time, we would organize a lot more, maybe think for spring," Curnayn said. "Now it gives us an active thing that we’re doing.”
“Probably two, three years ago was the biggest explosion of it,” said Brick Wheels manager Matthew Mulligan, who has seen firsthand how the rise of fat tire bikes has turned the seasonal sport into a year-long activity.
“In the winter months of January, February where it’s almost non existent bike sales, fat bikes has kept bike shops rolling.”
“When we first opened, our plans were to close during the winter," said Suttons Bay Bikes owner Nick Wierzba. "We weren't expecting much winter business at all.”
Wierzba opened Suttons Bay Bikes 6 years ago, and the popularity of fat tire biking has been enough to keep the furnace running all winter long.
“Due to fat tire bikes, and cross country skis and snowshoes, we’re open 7 days a week all winter long. So it’s really given us that fourth season that wasn’t there before.”
Giving bikers another season to ride and stores another season to operate, fat tire bikes have been leaving their imprint on both businesses and riders across northern Michigan.
“Once you go out there, you’ll get the bug and see what everyone is talking about," Wierzba said.
If you would like to try out fat bikes for yourself, check out the 9th annual Winter Trails Day on Saturday, January 6, 2018. The event takes place at Timber Ridge Resort from 10:30 am until 2:00 pm and is part of National Winter Trails Month.
For more information on the event and for a link to register, click HERE.