By Howard Meyerson
GRAND RAPIDS, MI – When fat-tire bikes first made an appearance in Michigan a few years ago, many dedicated riders considered them a fad — a puffed-up version of a mountain bike with big, soft tires that enabled them to be ridden on beaches and by hard-core riders in snowy conditions. Few thought much would come of it.
But fat-tire bikes, also known as fat bikes, increasingly are being embraced by the cycling community, and groomed winter cycling trails have proliferated around the state to accommodate them. The trails are being developed by ski areas, municipalities and mountain biking and other groups.
Brent Walk, of Grand Rapids, has been a cycling race promoter for 28 years. His company, funpromotions.com, is on its third year of hosting winter fat bike races around the state.
“Participation is definitely growing,” Walk said. “We averaged 25 riders at each winter event the first year and 45 riders last year. This year we’re averaging 70 riders at each event. West Michigan is a hotbed, but there is a push in other parts of the state, too.” Continue reading