Wow. Over the years, I’ve been involved with countless events at every level from sponsor to organizer but this year’s Fat Bike Summit and Festival was the most comprehensive event we have been at the head of. After months of conference calls, spreadsheets, emails, and brainstorm sessions, I finally found myself in the van driving up to Island Park Thursday night. At that point, my hope was that everything was simply on cruise control. (continued)
I was on the fence about hauling down to the summit until Casey made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: a free ride and good companionship. I left town after work on Wednesday and did what has become all too rare lately, made a relaxed multi-hour drive away…
The whole weekend was very well organized, but the rapid-fire presentations Friday morning were the best. I’ll just say that in the world of mental health conference presentees don’t stick to their time slots very well, so this was a pleasant contrast.
Fatbike access, at least over snow, is a curious creature. Once the snow piles up fatbike are truncated to well-packed surfaces, which under all but extraordinary conditions means snowmachine trails or trails groomed for skate skiing. Fat bikes are thus beholden to potentially hostile user groups, until more places gain a critical mass of bikers and start bike-specific grooming programs. There seems to be three primary concerns here, each given over to a certain user group. Land and ski area managers worry about safety, snowmachiners worry about cost sharing (their registration often pays for the grooming), and skiers worry about fatbikes rutting up their trails. The summit organizers had compelling answers to all of these. (continued)
Scott Fitzgerald, owner of Fitzgerald’s Bicycles, sent me this photo he took tonight of the on-site Fat Bike Summit team but he provided no details other than ‘planning.’ I’d argue that ‘fattening’ would be a better description.
L to R: Tim Young, Executive Director, Wyoming Pathways; Jason Boucher, General Manager, Salsa Cycles; Seth Nesselhuf, A.C.E Director, QBP; unidentified person; Jason Gaikowski, Director of Sales and Marketing, QBP; Joe Meiser, Product Design Manager, QBP; Tracy Petervary and Jay Petervary, nationally-recognized fat bike experts; Gary Sjoquist, Advocacy Director, QBP.
“Wouldn’t it be cool,” Scott Fitzgerald says, “if you could throw your fat bike onto a snow coach and go to Old Faithful. Spend the night and during the day bike around the geysers?”
This dream trip is just that for now — a dream. Fat bikes, bikes with large tires designed for snow and sand, aren’t allowed in Yellowstone National Park in the winter. Something Fitzgerald, who owns Fitzgerald’s Bicycles in Victor, Idaho wants to change.
Some of the money donated by QBP for the 1st Fat Annual Bike Summit (see our History page for more on that) was used to hire Jake Hawkes at Gravnetic to produce a Fat Bike video. It’s now done, with help from Dave Byers, Andy Williams, Ray Spencer, Jay Petervary, and Scott Fitzgerald:
Scott Fitzgerald (Fitzgerald’s Bicycles) and his whole fam damily flew into the Twin Cities on Saturday, on their way to points south. We used the occasion for a little face-to-face Fat Bike Summit & Festival planning since both Gary Sqoquist (QBP) and I live in this wonderful but currently dreary and snowless state, home of many fine local beers including Summit.
Scott Fitzgerald & Gary Sjoquist
Scott Fitzgerald and family
I got the two of them to put on their PR hats in the parking lot as we were about to depart. The result? A one-minute clip of marginal quality with a promise at the end: