Ted Talks Fat Biking | How To Cycle In The Snow

Ted Talks Fat Biking | How To Cycle In The Snow

Jeremy: In an effort to convince you that riding in cold, snowy, generally unrideable
cycling conditions, I knew I was going to need to pull out all the stops. So I was thinking
of a guy that has raced at the pro tour level, that led out some of the biggest riders in
the world in spring finishes and big races, a guy that’s won gravel races all over the
world, and someone that lives in pretty gnarly, nasty, cold conditions himself. That person
happens to be sitting right next to me. [laughs] Ted King, welcome.
[music] Jeremy: We meet again in completely different
time of the year and conditions. Ted: You know it. Welcome to Stowe, Vermont.
We’re about 15-20 miles down the road from where I live in Vermont. We’re here at Ranch
Camp, which is a super cool bike shop, restaurant, bar. Right behind us is some awesome fat biking.
So I want to take you out and show you around. Jeremy: That’s awesome. We were talking earlier
in the year and I was saying that when it gets snowy and nasty out, you’re going to
need to take me on a fat bike ride. I’ve seen you out there shredding around doing a lot
of training on your fat bike, and I knew that this was one of the ways that you stayed in
shape. I just did a video with Tim Johnson, where he took me skiing.
I know that that’s part of your training regimen as well, but tell us a little bit about your
experience in this. You’ve done a huge ride last year. We talked about it in the last
video that we did. I think you called it the James Bay descent.
Ted: Exactly, right. The James Bay descent was the brainchild of former professional
bike racer Buck Miller, Canadian himself. He and two other buddies, they invited me
on this pretty crazy trip which is 650 km down the West End Coast of the James Bay in
northern Canada. The northern-most part of the trip, we hit the Nunavut Islands, which
are technically the Arctic. It is the least inhabited and furthest north
Province in Canada. That ended up being 10 days. It was super cool. It’s given me a better
perspective of life in general, of what is uncomfortable. What are you doing this winter?
Those guys are actually going on another trip. I was invited but, coincidentally, my daughter
is due about the exact same time they’re departing. I said, “Fellas, sorry, I can’t pull this
one-off.” Jeremy: I’m not sure what the date is but
I definitely have something going on. Ted: Well, I’ll let them know. It’s going
to be a hoot. Jeremy: We’re going to take a look at all
your bikes, your equipment and everything like that and then we’re going to hit the
trails. Let’s eat some lunch, and then let’s hit it.
Ted: Beautiful. I like it. [music]
Jeremy: So let’s walk through this Cannondale Fat Bike. Let’s see what your machine’s all
about. Ted: Right on. So right here, you got the
Cannondale Fat CAAD 1. Indicated, it has the Olaf fork. Fork, of course, meaning the lefty,
so really just one peg over here. Super durable, overbuilt, but wonderfully light and amazing.
One, you’re going to be ripping through some more technical fat bike stuff. If you look
at the rubber, we have the 45NRTH Dillinger 5s. Five, referring to 5 inches of width,
but what’s super cool about these and what I love about them is the spikes. They are
a studded tire. So that is going to be opportune when you’re
riding on super-slippery stuff. What else? Let’s look up here in the pogey department.
45NRTH has the handwarmer doohickeys. Pogey, I believe, is the term that my friends in
Canada were using during the fat bike adventure. These are actually called the Cobra Fist.
It’s plush, man. It’s like sticking your hand in a nice Down Parker, but it’s freaking outstanding.
So full dexterity. I know some people can be hesitant to put their hands in there knowing
that you might be prone to fall off a bike and then have your hands be stuck in there.
Never been an issue, it’s not an issue, it’s nothing but warmth and comfort up here. Another
key accouterment right here in the water bottle department, bring a thermal bottle. It’s cold
outside. No matter if you have drink-mix or just water, it’s going to be freezing up.
So I throw some warm water in there with a little bit of maple-ade, delicious.
Let’s look at the drivetrain. We got a 32 chainring upfront, and then I’m running an
eagle 10-50% in the rear. Fat-biking is a slow sport. We’re going at a very low speed.
What’s really cool about having such wide tires is you’re doing a lot of really low-speed,
high-dexterity maneuvers that you wouldn’t be able to pull off on a traditional mountain
bike. So I’m using my 50 all the time, especially around here where we have some really undulating
terrain. The sun sometimes sets around 4:30 in the
afternoon or we say 4:30 at night around here. I have some really powerful lights up here
that I’m very pleased with. It’s a Blackburn Countdown, 1600 upfront, super-powerful light
and plus there’s a timer which is awesome, so I see how much time I have left. It’s a
cyclic rear, so there’s a camera back there just in case I want to catch you on camera.
Yes, lights are key, especially this time of year when the sun is not going to be abundant.
Jeremy: Up top regular helmet, something on your ears. Definitely want to cover up there
so there’s no like little bits sticking out getting frostbit.
Ted: Indeed you see a handful of folks when it’s super cold using their favorite ski helmet.
Totally fine. Great idea, but I run a standard helmet with a winter cycling cap, so it goes
up over your ears. It’s thermal. It’s nice and warm, it’s toasty, it’s stylish. Then
just in case, the sun’s out, you got a little flap upfront.
Jeremy: Then let’s talk about you have a unique pump because these tires have a whole thing
going on. Very low pressure but a lot of volume. Ted: Accurate. Two things going on here. Here
is a high volume mountain bike pump, which is key when you know that you’re not going
to have a CO2 might not fill you up. You’re in the middle of nowhere. I am running a low-temperature
sealant, which I do highly recommend. It is rare that you need this, but when you need
this you really need this. Another cool thing to talk about while we’re on the topic of
air is the Quarq TireWiz. That there knows the air pressure of your tire down to a 10th
of a PSI. It hooks up Bluetooth with an app on your
phone, and so you can set a range. My range is from four pounds to seven pounds, if it
is above that range, it’s going to flash quickly red. If it’s within that range, it flashes
a peaceful green, and then below is a slow red. I’ll know how to adjust my tire pressures
accordingly, whether the app is out and my hands are getting a little bit cold or just
by looking at it when it’s absolutely freezing. Jeremy: Okay. It’s pretty low pressure but
because these tires are so wide and everything like that, I have no idea what I have in mind
because I haven’t really ridden a fat bike very much, but we go low is key.
Ted: Low is key, and that’s what’s super cool about fat biking. If we rode yesterday when
it was fresh pillowy champagne powder, it would be super hard to ride. Whereas now we’ve
had an overnight chill, it precipitated a little bit of 33-ish degree precipitation.
So right now this is a hardpack, you could run up actually pretty high pressure on this,
whereas yesterday you would’ve been like down to two, three PSI.
Jeremy: Ted, let’s talk about what you wear. I know when you’re out there there’s probably
like an opportunity to make an igloo or something like that, but that’s not the case when you’re
out riding your fat bike. Ted: No, you want to always be moving because
in temperatures like these, you’ll see us dancing around right now because as long as
you’re moving, you’re going to stay warm, as long as you’re pedaling, you’re going to
stay warm. As a result, you don’t actually wear a ton of clothing. I find that layering
is absolutely key. You got your thermal tights down below and then a nice base layer.
As always, welcome to new age cycling. You need to have some sort of neckwear to keep
your neck warm. Gloves, when you have your hands in these Cobra fists, all sorts of different
thickness gloves will keep you nice and warm. It’s got to be super-duper cold for you to
throw on the big dogs. You can be wearing a nice set of Woolies and your hands are warm
by and large throughout the day. Jeremy: Got it.
Ted: Keeping the old feet warm is a very important aspect. Some people have good blood flow,
some people have less good blood flow in their feet.
Jeremy: Where do you fall on that spectrum? Ted: I fall in the freezing cold hands and
feet category. First things first, if I know it’s cold outside, I crack open my chemical
toe warmers, and I put those directly on the sock. Then from there, you put your shoe on.
So your foot in the shoe with the toe warmer on top. This is the 45 North Ragnarok. It
rides like a good mountain bike shoe. It’s light, it’s dynamic, it’s cool, it’s reflective,
which is cool when you’re riding at night. Jeremy: All right, we’re going to go do a
ride. Let’s get warm and then hit it. [music]
Ted: This is literally a single track that you’d be riding in the summer or the other
three seasons a year. It has to be covered in snow right now. So this is one style and
you’re going to get fat biking. Another type you might see is a snowmobile trail, so picture
10 feet wide and it is where the snowmobile’s going to rip through the forest. That’s a
good way to some wide-open just long endurance miles. Another way to do it is traditional
fire roads. Here in Vermont, we are blessed with more
gravel roads than there are paved. In the winter, they’re often covered often with a
nice actually tacky layer of snow, and that’s another way to get some good miles in. This
is definitely the most dexterous area, it’s literally cross-country mountain biking.
Jeremy: It’s beautiful in here. There’s no one to bother you. It basically trails for
miles and it’s really pretty because I think you’re riding in stuff that, yes, you may
be able to mountain bike here, but also if you’re riding some snowmobile stuff, if they
pack it down, definitely height and stuff, you can get good traction on there. You wouldn’t
be able to do that necessarily in the summertime. Where a snowmobile goes it’s going to be all
high grass and stuff like that, but on the fat bike, because they tamp everything down,
that’s like primo. Ted: Spoken like a proficient fat biker.
Jeremy: Like a true fat biker right now. [music]
Jeremy: This is what you’re talking about when you’re talking about the slow speed stuff.
Ted: Yes, I say, “You’re never going to have as much fun as you will fat biking at super
slow speeds.” Jeremy: Yes, because we’re going three miles
per hour right now, but it’s super, super pretty and I’m still getting in a pretty good
workout here. Ted: Absolutely. Honestly, it feels like a
strength workout every time I get on the bike, but yes, I mean you’re running lower pressures,
you’re able to grip, it’s super damp out today, and yes, just go for a rip.
[music] Jeremy: I think the thing that’s interesting
is, you’ve got a suspension fork on, I don’t. The tire is doing this all the time with the
snow so you think, “Man, I’m solid because I’m climbing slowly and I’ve got a lot of
grip and I’ve got all this momentum with these big tires and this huge contact patch in the
ground.” Then you start going downhill and everything’s in the tire going all over the
place. Ted: 100%, it is such a wild ride literally
and figuratively. Studds on conditions like these, completely unnecessary. Then if we
were to roll out onto an icy hill that’s where these things will allow me to take off.
Jeremy: Bite in, bite in, for sure. All right cool. We’re going to continue on this journey.
Ted: Let’s mossy on through the hoods. Jeremy: All right.
Ted: As I get out of the shrubs. [music]
Jeremy: If you’re going to go off-trail, someone’s going to need to break the snow.
Ted: Exactly. You’ve got to have somebody literally blaze the trail ahead of you. Sometimes
it takes two, three, four passes of the bike to get through which opens up a whole conversation
on etiquette. That’s the stuff you’re going to want to do in your backyard. That’s the
stuff you want to do in an area that you know there’s going to be traffic immediately behind
you because if you’re going to open up one lane of traffic, or two lanes of traffic,
and then you’re got to be looking at the forecast, the next day it freezes over, there’s a trail
just like this. After the cycle cross world, when there’s
a rut just the size of one tire, that’s going to make for trouble one day. Something like
this, we’re going to go a little off course, I’ll blaze a trail for you and you’ll knock
in the second round. Jeremy: I love it. All right. You hit out
and I’ll follow you, but it’s significantly harder I think.
[music] Ted: Grab my trail.
Jeremy: It is a lot easier behind you, I’m not going to lie.
Ted: Good. I’m glad I can do the hard work for you [laughs].
[music] Jeremy: People on these other trails have
already snow-shoed them in, and then probably people have fat biked them, or some or whatever.
It’s definitely good to have it tamped down, but if you’re riding in the front it is definitely
a big workout. Ted: It is. It’s almost like a strength workout.
You’re always pushing a bigger gear. Like we were just talking about, it’s like- you’re
slightly out of breath, but you’re not actually pushing that hard, you’re not going that hard,
you’re not going too deep. Jeremy: Let’s talk about working out because
you’re not doing 40/20s on this bike necessarily. Ted: No sir. I mean especially at this time
of the year, you don’t need to be going super deep, so it’s conducive the fact that fat
biking really plays well with zone two, zone three, endurance tempo work. Pushing anything
harder than that especially on terrain like this, you’re never going to find anything
consistent to get a really regular workout, so you almost just play the terrain. You got
a little uphill, yes, do a little tempo, the rest of the time you’re playing in the snow.
[music] Jeremy: This is the way that you stay fit
in the wintertime. Something that I haven’t done a lot of but you, you use it as a training
tool. Ted: I totally love fat biking. Pro Racing
been there done that and now I want to do a different things on two wheels. It’s all
about having fun on a bike so diversification, variety is the spice of life, it’s some Nordic
skiing, some Alpine touring, a lot of fat biking this time of year.
Jeremy: Yes, it is definitely a nice way to be outside to be amongst it and to do something
different, not on the road. There’s no way you could ride on the roads with this stuff
that’s going on here right now. Ted: Definitely not on a day like today.
Jeremy: What do you got coming up for your season? You got a lot of events planned, I
know you guys have something big coming up too.
Ted: Yes, we got a busy, call it race calendar but way more important than that. Super excited
about having our first child, we have a daughter coming in March so that is going to be the
chief priority of the year 2020. Soon after that Rasspetites is on the race calendar and
then from there it’s a full-on season. Jeremy: Yes, you’re going to be doing events
all over the country and the world, you’ve done a lot of them already but definitely
one of the pioneers in this new wave of gravel and expedition routing and racing.
Ted: It’s crazy man, gravel, it’s a thing, it’s taking off.
Jeremy: [chuckles] Really is. Well, I want to thank you for taking us out today, it was
beautiful and really appreciate you taking the time to show us around this beautiful
area of Vermont that you have. I look forward to seeing you this spring and summer. Thank
you again. Ted: Awesome. Thanks for making the trip,
Jeremy. [00:16:21] [END OF AUDIO]

100 comments on “Ted Talks Fat Biking | How To Cycle In The Snow

  1. Michael Albany Post author

    I've told my wife that if she wants me to move to her home in Canada she has to buy me a fat bike. Maybe I should add Cobra Fist bar mits! I already do the winter riding boots (mine are shimano) and the toe warmers, and we live in Pennsylvania!

  2. TroubadourJuggernaut Post author

    dude can you have enough covering your hands !! gloves inside of grip covering gloves ! wow no thanks but to each his own

  3. Ron Byers Post author

    Powers and King make a great team. I would love to see some gravel videos involving King, but since he is at the top of the sport and focused on winning every race I suspect that won't happen.

  4. CnE Post author

    A strange choice of video aimed at a tiny audience. Sales of fat bikes have plummeted worldwide. Fat bikes, skiing,……. the times they are a changin' at GCN.

  5. OMC built Post author

    I finally broke down and bought a fat bike this winter after one too many indoor trainer rides – and it was the best money I have spent in a long time! It is much much more fun than I ever thought it would be. Here in the Twin Cities in Minnesota we have 9 single track MTB trails that are groomed all winter long. I'm just heading out the door to one of my favorites – Elm Creek 🙂

  6. Zachary Montalto Post author

    Went fat biking for the first time a few weeks ago in Vermont. Significantly more difficult than I expected it to be, but I had a blast. Wish this video came out before I went!

  7. Ronald G Josey Post author

    Super Nice video with Ted King. I watched the video that he did in Canada, The James Bay Descent, it was great. I enjoy Mountain Biking in the snow on the Fire/Logging Roads and the Snowmobile Trails. Only 2.4 inch tires but we have fun. Here is a link to the ride, https://untapped.cc/category/news/the-james-bay-descent/

  8. George Kirschbaum Post author

    Two of my favorite people that I love to follow online in cycling. Great content. Makes me want to jump on the bike and get in the woods.

  9. Thelacan Post author

    Well this is a nice introduction to winter biking. But one key aspect got forgotten.

    Always have a warm layer with you! Either if you like to take a short break or you encounter some mechanical problem, it is important to have a layer to keep you warm.

  10. DB Zoeller Post author

    J Pow in the pow with the King. Sound like a book or a TV show. GCN needs to sign up the King for some part time work. JPow and the King–that definitely sounds like a good tv show. Great chemistry these two have. Send them places and film it. JPow and the King visit Glacier National Park; JPow and the King take on Leadville; JPow and the King meet the Globetrotters…you get the idea!

  11. Mark Eightv29 Post author

    More videos about fat bikes! They are awesome!

    Iohan Gueorguiev's channel is the best channel on youtube.

  12. Edwin Parson Post author

    cool, thanks for the content! I ride year round on a fatbike in Alaska. I swap out tires to studed, fork to rigid, clips to flats and bunnyboots, and throw on pogos handlebar mits. Don't have to worry about bug dope, headnets, sunscreen, bears, maybe the wolves… Its beautiful! And snowmobilers/snowmachiners are your friend.

  13. Antti Busk Post author

    Here in Finland many people use a fatbike as their daily commuter. Some even use it in the summer! That tire noise on tarmac…

    But anyway, biking in the snow is nice providing temperature is below freezing. Unfortunately this winter has been worst ever with temperature fluctuating above and below 0 degrees celcius all the time. Not much snow here, only ice with water on top of it.

  14. Jaap Ongeveer Post author

    I use boots two sizes too big which allows me to wear warm thick wool socks.

    I hear your brakes squeal. I always use soapy warm water to clean my rotors after every ride, clean up with clear water and then fine sandpaper with WD40 and dry. No more squealing brakes.

    We use snowmobiles and a SnowDog to groom trails.

  15. 6ft8incyclist Post author

    All this talk about Bright lights and gizmos on ya phone that watches you tire pressure ( Why!!! I am not sure yet). But the colder it is outside the shorter life your battery's are going to last.. Need to stick the lights and phones in a inside pocket closer to your body for warmth.

  16. Victor Tolgyessy Post author

    I love fat biking along the Toronto ravine system in winter. I ride about 3 or 4 times a week and all my rides are at least an hour-and-a-half long. It's such a hoot! No pressure to go fast or climb the STRAVA segment ladder. Just have FUN! The trails can be icy since the City doesn't maintain the trails during the winter and I'm OK with that! The less salt the better and I love riding on ice. I got Wrathchild studded tires and they really do the trick, but I nonetheless ride defensively and respect the surface I'm on. Thanks for this Fat Bike video GCN!

  17. Sergio Cristancho Post author

    See fat bikes are not your take me to the sand bike… jeje but that is fun I guess make the most of what you have, not ebery one live in 4 station zones… nice one JP as always!

  18. Better & Better Post author

    What??? no 45Nrth Stürmfist?? and no Wulfgar boots? they're heavier, BUT good to -20° F. I love that company. I'm running 45Nrth Gravdal's on my 700c commute Soooo good! Rides slightly slower than my summer tires, but WAY faster than the Kenda Klondikes, and cornering is so much more confident too

  19. Eric & Claire-Hélène R Fletcher Post author

    great to see jeremy on the fat bike ,appreciated Ted also down to earth kind of guy, here in quebec we have quite a few areas to ride with wide range of difficult and easy trails, most are made on the mountain bike trails that are either passed over with a snowmobile or people use snowshoes to pack down the trail, i usually ride on regular roads to get to gravel roads nearby, here we are not allowed on the snowmobile trails, not to safe ( skidoo ) is used to describe a snowmobile, fat bike is a workout , the handling is quite different and can be challenging, mountain bikers would enjoy it,

  20. Zipper Suited Sun God Post author

    If I have to put warming pads in my shoes to ride, I’ll pass. If I’m going to be cold I’ll be cold on a chair lift.

    Such a different vibe from East Coast to West. Nice to visit but I’ll stay West of the Rockies, more my style.

  21. Piplodocus Post author

    Any tyres this wide and knobbly should be on GBMN. But the spandex legs keeps it GCN. The bike doesn't matter, it's the outfit that determines the channel. 😆

  22. Martin Neps Post author

    What does something like an average big we'll buy Cost I am a older gentleman just looking to get on a pedal bike in getting to shame please comment back what's the cheapest way I can get out on a bike I'm not the one no racing or none of that stuff I just wanna get some exercise and I am a little overweight please comment back

  23. Chris van Buggenum Post author

    Ahh, a fat bike in its natural habitat!! I've only ever seen them in the suburbs and been like "huh?"

  24. Rich A W Post author

    Looks ace out there! Can we have a GCN video on "water biking?" That's about all I can do at the moment as I sit out yet another day of torrential rain and gales!

  25. Richard Brabbs Post author

    I saw one of these bikes in a brighton shop window a couple of years ago it was £5000 it took me 5 minutes to stop laughing

  26. Daniel Normandeau Post author

    Nice to see real winter biking. Quebec are 50% winter and 50% summer condition, so we need to be multisport and used for training schedule. Backcountry skiing, fat bike, gravel bike, mountain bike and road bike. Thanks’ Jeremy to travel in our country or nearby to give the real picture of our environment.⛷🚴‍♂️

  27. emailnodata Post author

    I despise fat bikes.
    They leave massive ruts, which re-freeze and harden; combined with the face most fat bike riders can't ride in a straight line, the paths become rutted messes.

    In the years prior to fat bikes, riding the trails packed with snow was manageable, as pedestrians typically left the center clear for bikes. Now?

  28. Javier Bañón Izu Post author

    Excellent video!!! If anyone wants to see few fatbikes for 2020… Just check this link talking about 6 fatbikes for this seasson: https://youtu.be/pA8etepDGrc

  29. John DeF Post author

    Here in Ohio we havent had enough snow to even get my shovel out this year. And Feb. Is almost over. Very unusual winter.

  30. Brann mac Finnchad Matsukaze Workshops Post author

    Question for Ted King:
    I have much the same set up on my fat-bike, and the same pump (love it!) for adjusting pressure on the trail.
    How do you carry it with when not loaded for long haul riding?

  31. Brann mac Finnchad Matsukaze Workshops Post author

    You forgot the most important thing to riding it.
    When you're riding over extremely broken ground (i.e., the chunks a plow throws onto the path from the road) you feel like you're riding Batman's motorbike (circa The Dark Knight) and unstoppable since you can go on terrain no other bike can.

  32. Richard Rutishauser Post author

    Congratulations on your upcoming first child, Ted! Anyone looking for mtb riding in the NE, I highly recommend Ranch Camp and the Cady Hill Trails where they filmed this.

  33. TJ Bearing Post author

    Awesome video, after years of dismissing them, this year (January 2020) I finally decided to purchase a Fat Bike with 45N Wrathchild studded tires. (The studded tires are key where I live in New England to make it worth it) The machine opens up so much opportunity right out my back door, I'm sorry I dismissed them for so long.. Coming from a road/gravel background myself, I never thought I'd use a 30×50, but (like Ted mentioned at 4:57) I use it all the time in the undulating terrain.

  34. Jakob W Post author

    Why are you using a CHAIN in the winter? Isn't a BELT a better choice?
    P.S. What HIGH VOLUME mountain bike PUMP is that?

  35. JOHN APPLE Post author

    Can anybody help me? I recently got my new mtb with deore brakes on it. I realized that when i am riding the bike upright nothing is going wrong but when i am leaning it over the disc starts rubbing like crazy. I took it to my local bike shop and they said that the disc is not bend an they couldn t hear any sound.(it is a 29er). Is there something wrong ?

  36. Perry Middlemist Post author

    Awesome video! Especially for those of us who live in northern Minnesota. British winters are similar to our summers.

  37. Rose Martellaro Post author

    Hello from Vermont! My name is Rose and I watch the channel every week and was so excited to see a video made in my home state! I would love for Jeremy and GCN to explore more of what Vermont has to offer! We have a unique cycling culture here with mountain biking, fat biking, gravel racing, a love for commuting on retro and vintage bikes. Places to check out: Old Spokes Home, a quirky bike shop popular for retro builds & community building. Green Mountain Bike Club (400+ members every year) runs organized rides and advocates for better cycling safety and infrastructure. Catamount family center has year round cycling and has many classes to get kids into the sport. Stowe also has much more to offer. Come visit!

  38. Justin Schultz Post author

    Watching all of the GCN and GMBN content makes me want to own 5 bikes, but I can't. Is the best do it all bike a hardtail mountain bike? You can ride any bike on the road (a slick tire swap is easy enough) but you can't ride any bike on the trails. I'm thinking of making a 29er my main bike as I can only afford one expensive stead. I could also swap the tires to mid-fat for winter riding. Talk me in or out of it. #TorqueBack


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