Get a Grip This Winter
Fat Biking Bend, Oregon
Have you seen them? Those goofy-looking bikes drifting through the snow looking like a cross between a monster truck and a mountain bike? And have you noticed the gleeful smiles coming from riders? Those burly bikes with comically wide tires are taking winters by storm. So hop on, and let’s go for a ride!
Fat biking in Bend, Oregon, is a perfect escapade to add to your winter repertoire. There’s several spots for some scenic snowy love on two wheels and plenty of local bike shops offering rentals and gear. You also don’t have to be a seasoned rider to enjoy a carefree winter jaunt.
Sure, some folks like to ride fat bikes year-round, especially in sand or at the beach. But in Bend, they’re primarily for riding on the snow-covered trails.
Cycling is a big deal around here, so when the white stuff starts to flutter and trails start billowing up with snow, we keep on ridin’. Wanoga Sno-Park has two groomed trails for fat bikes only, a three-mile short loop and a six-mile outer loop. Both are oodles of fun and welcoming to new and experienced riders. Grooming goes from January 1st through February 28th when there’s at least 2’ of snow. E-bikes are not allowed.
Another popular winter spot is Tumalo Falls, an out-and-back with a sweet treat at the end. A spectacular 97’ waterfall that’s usually a giant frozen icicle in the winter but gorgeous nonetheless. If the timing’s right and there’s snow at lower elevations, Phil’s Trail and the River Trail offer close-to-town snowy rides.
For the latest on conditions, regulations, and photos that will inspire and make you drool, click over to our friends at Central Oregon FatBike Facebook page for all the latest. Central Oregon Trail Alliance, or COTA, and Bend Trails also offer current reports and regs. For fat bike rentals in Bend, check out Sunnyside Sports and Pine Mountain Sports, where you will also find riding apparel, gear, and local intel. Speaking of clothing, be sure to bring layers. It’s an aerobic sport, so you might shed or add a layer depending on the conditions. And a warm pair of mittens or poggies is a must!
Let’s talk etiquette, no, not obvious things like silencing your phone at the movies or if it’s ok to leave full dog poop bags on the trail (nope, always pick it up, please!), but fat bike etiquette so you and all trail users can have a top-notch experience.
- Keep your tire pressure low; 4 PSI is a good rule of thumb. This provides more floating and less sinking in the snow. On the three-mile short loop at Wanoga, 3 PSI is required.
- Snowshoe trails are open to fat bikes, snow showers always have the right of way, and please watch your speed.
- Snowmobile trails are open to fat biking. Be visible and give them the right of way, as you’ll hear them before they see you.
- Do not ride on groomed nordic tracks. Do I really need to explain why?
- All other users have the right of way. This includes, but is not limited to, snowshoers, nordic skiers, hikers, dogs, and snowmobilers.
- Be nice, you’re in Bend. There’s a lot of love in this town and especially in our outdoor spaces, so let’s share trails, give a big howdy to each other, and treat our terrain with respect.
Our friends at COTA have also put together a helpful list of trail etiquette, best practices, and what to know before you go fat biking in Central Oregon.