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Fitness Served Cold: What is fat biking and how can it carry you through winter?

Fitness Served Cold: Fat Biking
WATCH: A cold, Canadian winter can sap your energy and make you want to do nothing but hibernate. But why not make the best of the winter season?

After wrapping up the first cycle of my Culture of Fitness series at the end of November, I wanted to stay on the health and fitness train.

But it’s winter. No one wants to work out in the winter, right?

It would have been easy to hibernate, stay indoors and wait for spring. But it’s important to stay active during the winter for both your physical and mental health. And why not make the best of what the season has to offer, while improving your health and fitness in the process?

That’s the goal of Fitness Served Cold, a new four-part series that will feature outdoor fitness pursuits that can keep you in shape over the winter months. 

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First up, fat biking at Horseshoe Resort in Barrie, Ontario. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an avid cyclist, but I do try to cycle as much as I can during the spring and summer to run errands. It’s an easy way to get some exercise and it beats being stuck in traffic.

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But fat biking is a whole different ball game.

The “fat” in “fat biking” refers to the tires — thick tires that make it easy to navigate unstable terrain like snow and sand.

But there’s definitely a learning curve; it’s not a get-on-the-bike-and-go activity. I needed to keep reminding myself of that when chasing Canadian National Team mountain biker Peter Disera through the woods.

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I kept trying to chase Peter down, but every time I really tried to hammer on the pedals, my bike would skid and the distance between Peter and I would increase.

You have to keep a measured cadence while fat biking to maintain a similar point of contact with the snow throughout your ride. “Smooth is fast,” was a phrase Peter tried to drill into my head.

Fat biking is definitely a great workout. It takes a fit core to control the bike in snow and obviously there are cardiovascular demands depending on the terrain and elevation you decide to tackle. And it’s another way to make the best of the winter and enjoy the cold in all of its natural glory.

Next week, I try cross-country skiing.

B.C. man arrives in Moncton on cross-country cycling trip to raise awareness for mental illness
B.C. man arrives in Moncton on cross-country cycling trip to raise awareness for mental illness