“Flat” rides usually kinda suck. Just my opinion. I wanna be going up or going down with emphasis on the later. F-L-A-T equals B-O-R-I-N-G. Tedious, mundane, monotonous, stale… whatever you wanna call it. Especially on a singlespeed, where you just spin out while your buddies are clickin’ away up to the big ring.
Ah ha! Revelation. Fat bikes take the “flat” out of flat rides. Rides that were once impossible on mountain bikes, or considered drab and toturous if possible, have the possibility of being enjoyable with 4 inches of tire and 5 psi of pressure.
A couple years ago, I never would’ve considered riding my bike around Mono Lake. It’s sandy. It’s mostly double track and forest service roads. Pretty much deal killers for a singletrack snob. I don’t know anybody that enjoys walking their bike through beaches and dunes. Yeah, I know… it’s a gorgeous lake. But that’s not enough to sell me on it.
Cut to the present, with a fat bike in my quiver of two wheeled fun makers. Riding a bike around Mono Lake doesn’t sound so looney tunes anymore. In fact, it seems like a fun day of exploratory adventure riding. A buddy of mine pointed out the other day that double track is two singletracks side by side so you can have a conversation with your friend. Flat riding on sand is the equivalent of a 4-8% grade and actually requires technical prowess to keep forward progression as you’re going so slow. Going slow also forces you to enjoy the surrounding beauty that you miss while going fast. Especially important while touring around this geological wonderland. You’re views of the lake and the surrounding territory are gorgeous the whole way around the lake. The terrain varies from hardpack fire roads to rarely travelled 4×4 double track and jeep roads to salt flats around alkali ponds to sand dunes. It’s amazing how much the terrain varies from one end of the lake to the other. Pretty cool.
So yeah, with a fat bike and a friend, riding around Mono Lake is actually a super pleasant experience that I encourage all to do. We enjoyed it so much that we’re definitely gonna add the “Mono Lake Fat 40 Loop” as a group ride with Fat Bike Mammoth in 2014. If you’re curious about doing this ride yourself, all the details including turn by turn directions are on the Fat Bike Mammoth website. We’re also gonna check it out during winter. Snowmobiles frequent the area, and it could be pretty stellar as a snow ride. Stay tuned…