My first fat bike ride (Newcastle, NSW)

While I was in Sydney, Kath and Kedan of the Bike Bag Dude invited me to travel up to Newcastle to visit them. I’ve been corresponding with Kath and Kedan for over a year since I bought my bikepacking kit off them. I can’t live without my Bike Bag Dude bar roll bag and chaff bag. When cycle touring I carry my tent and jacket in the bar roll while I carry snacks and camera in my chaff bag for easy access. Anyway, I had to work Wednesday so I did some work in the morning before catching an afternoon train from Sydney to Newcastle. The 2.5 hour train ride was lovely but I didn’t really pay attention because I was knocking over some work. I spent the night being introduced to sashimi at a local sushi shop in Newcastle and talking the night away.
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On Thursday morning, Kedan loaded their fat bikes onto the back of the car and took me out on my first fat bike ride.
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Well, all I can say is that riding a fat bike gave me the same instant joy as I got when I first got on board my Vivente World Randonneur touring bike twelve months ago. It was hot so we just had a short ride out along a break wall. I could never ride this on a regular mountain bike because the shale rocks were so loose. But the fat bike just rolled over them. We hung out watching the waves roll into the Macquarie Lakes and beach where a guy was paddling a surf ski and a group of people were learning to surf.
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And then came the real treat: cycling on the beach. I followed Kath and Kedan out onto the sand. At first I had a huge automatic urge to put my foot down to stop myself sliding out in the soft sand. But it wasn’t necessary: the bike just floated across.
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If cycling is about the way it makes you feel then fat bike riding is brilliant.
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As we rode back to the car we checked out a short trail through some mangroves near a tidal pond. As I stood there looking out over the water I decided that I need a fat bike to complete my touring options. I live near some of the biggest and most accessible sand islands in the world, fantastic sand beaches and I really want to give snow cycling a go both in Australia and overseas so it makes sense. I was toying with the idea of buying a standard MTB but I’m not really a technical rider. But between the fat bike and my tourer I will be able to ride everywhere. So watch this space for more fat bike adventures after I get back from Japan in mid-May.

On another note: if you are interested in bikepacking, I highly recommend the Bike Bag Dude’s gear. It’s top quality, hand made by the Dude himself, you can get custom colours to match your bike, the zips are waterproof and he treats his customers like friends, which means he doesn’t compromise on quality. If you are in Brisbane and want to have a look at some kit, I can show you mine. No one has enticed or encouraged me to write this recommendation – it comes from my personal experience as a BBD client.

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10 thoughts on “My first fat bike ride (Newcastle, NSW)

  1. Great post. Those fat bikes are brilliant! I am seriously thinking of adding one to my fleet. Just one question – what are they like on a road or cycle path? I wouldn’t expect them to fly along like a featherweight road bike, and don’t especially care about speed, but are they tough to pedal or handle on a hard surface? The idea of taking one to Straddie or Moreton Island really appeals.
    Cheers.
    Michael

  2. Andrew, I think you’ve just put something onto my shopping list. Like you, I have a Vivente World Randonneur and love it! Living close to the beach on the Southern Gold Coast, I miss not being able to ride on the beach. I used to have an old mountain bike for that but let it go a few years ago when making space in the garage. Your ride on the fat bike sounds great…might have to give it a try 👍

    • Hi Gail, Definitely give the fat bike a go if you have a chance. Last May I took my VWR on Main Beach at Stradbroke Island to forage for pippies. But a fat bike will definitely be better. My VWR is a 2012 small frame with touring bars. It was a demo at Epic Cycles that I bought in Jan 2014 for a great price.

      • We bought out VWR’s from Epic too! We bought the 2012 model that year, with the butterfly handlebars. The bike rolls beautifully. I loved it on the first hill – it seemed to climb the hill on its own!

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