The Third Annual Global Fat Bike Summit went down last weekend in Ogden, Utah, bringing in over 100 participants from all over the United States. Three years ago, the first Fat Bike Summit was held in West Yellowstone, where it was nearly snowed out. Last year, the Summit was held in Island Park, Idaho. Again, it was nearly snowed out. It made sense to change to a more central location. The Summit Hotel in Ogden and Mt. Ogden Golf Course were picked for the location of the two-day convention.
The day started off with a seminar held by the Quality Bicycle Parts (QBP) Advocacy Director, Gary Sjoquist, sharing his thoughts of the industry and what QBP’s role has been in the past few years. We then passed the microphone to each individual in the room, stating who they were with and why they were here. The audience consisted of individuals from cycling media outlets, cycling manufactures, and associations to land managers and nordic centers. It was great to see so many organizations wanting to be at the forefront of fat biking.
Next was Joe Meiser, the Product Design Manager of QBP. He covered fat biking 101, for those who were new to the industry. The conversation then shifted to the history of fat bikes. You may be surprised, but the first fully built fat bike for sale was the Surly Pugsley, in 2010. Joe briefly went into sales, user group sizes, and where these bikes were being ridden. He shared that in each case, they have shown an increase in numbers and in some cases drastic growth.
International Mountain Bike Association members were next to take the podium. Mike Van Abel could not stress enough how excited he was to get a frame work for fat biking before it got out of hand. He applauded all land managers in the room, stressing how important they were in the process. Hansi Johnson was next up, he quickly chatted about the demographic and IMBA’s best fat bike practices.
Joe Brown, owner of Methow Cycle and Sport, spoke next. He shared his experience of how his town and shop were integrated and working in the fat bike industry. Methow is leading the charge with shared access, and is a great resource for any community looking into multi-user groups on the same trails. After he spoke, some interesting questions arose from nordic centers — ultimately, one nordic center director stormed out for the day before we moved on.Next was grooming techniques, which may have won the show. Many areas are trying to gain access to nordic trails, but the alternative to this is the development of groomed trails that are specifically for fat biking. John Gaddo from QBP taught about the snow machines and creative ways to drag “groomers” behind these snow machines. There are a lot of interesting options to keep your trails groomed, and they all seem to work.
We ended the day heading outside for a demo of Borealis, Salsa, and Surly Cycles, chatting with those companies, and asking questions.