Two weeks ago I was lucky enough to join my family on a ski trip to celebrate my brother’s birthday. The destination was Cortina, D’Ampezzo in Italy.
It’s a town famous for hosting 1956 Olympics sitting in the southern part of the Dolomites. I was super stoked when I saw some fat bikes at the ski rental place on the first day. Unfortunately, because of the nature of the terrain, most stores opt for electric assist fat bikes - so, if you have a non-cyclist significant other it is an amazing solution to your problems. After a little research I came across http://www.dueduecortina.com, a Specialized dealer that rents out Specialized Fat Boys.
Most of my riding was on the road and some national park areas. Italians are pretty strict about riding fat bikes on the XC skiing tracks and the closest Fat bike track was a mountain passage away. My goal was get there and do a loop and come back before the sun down. However, my plans were sabotaged by the Italians and their long lunch breaks (most stores are closed between 12:30 to 4:30pm). Luckily, this store opened up at 3:30, so I could actually get some riding in before sundown. Sundown is precious in March especially when it’s snowy out. The temperature drops drastically. Luckily, my Garneau winter jersey is perfect for these conditions especially when paired up with the Prolight jacket. As I rolled out of the store and headed towards the mountains, it was not hard to imagine myself a pro cyclist riding up these passages. I was experiencing everything I have seen on TV until this date, but on a fat bike. It’s definitely very different than our local 9W. Being next to these huge cliffs and chasing the sun was exhilarating. Unfortunately, by the time I got to the other side of the mountain, I realized that the sun was going down faster than expected, so I didn’t make it to the Fat bike park.
This was my first experience on a fat bike. They remind me of Big Wheels I used to ride as a kid. They’re fun and it doesn’t matter what the conditions are on the road. You can run over anything. Most importantly, they get more attention then some gold plated anniversary edition Italian bike. Adults get curious, kids start smiling and pointing at your bike. I can’t wait to have another opportunity to rent one.
Closing shot: There is no better way to end a long day on the slopes both skiing and biking with a protein packed meal and house wine.
Daghan Perker is a creative director, photographer, and an athlete. You can see more of his work on his instagram handle @dperker He is also a founding member of tobedetermined.cc