By Deb Everts
Biking enthusiasts will have the opportunity to enjoy a new winter activity at Allegany State Park, beginning Jan. 18, as the park’s Environmental Education and Recreation Department hosts the first “Full Moon Fat Bike Fun Ride.”
Riders participating in the free event should meet at the Red House Administration Building at 6 p.m. to check in at the main lobby, although registration is not required. The ride will begin at 6:30 p.m.
“Recently, we have been exploring new recreation programming ideas here at Allegany State Park,” said Assistant Regional Director Thomas Livak.
Because bike availability is limited, anyone interested in demoing a fat bike for the evening must call ahead at 354-9101, ext. 232. Participants should bring their fat bike, warm clothes, headlights and a sense of adventure. If there is no snow, any bike is welcome.
Environmental Educator Adele Wellman said with the growing popularity of fat bikes, the recreation department wanted to give patrons another way to enjoy winter. She said the 5-mile fun ride is for all levels and will last up to two hours, depending on the weather.
According to Wellman, riders will take a winding course through the Red House Campgrounds, around the lake out to the Butterfly Meadow and into the woods. The leisurely ride in the moonlight will eventually end by the warm fires in Red House Picnic Shelter.
A recent press release from the park’s recreation department said fat bikes are the monster trucks of the bike world. With big tires, typically 3.8-inches (97 mm) or wider, they are designed for low pressure to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, bogs and mud.
“Sports like snowshoeing and fat bike riding have grown in popularity in Western New York and we are looking for new ways to help patrons engage in activities while learning and enjoying their experience at the park,” Livak said.
They have been around since the early 1900s, but it wasn’t until frame builders, in both Alaska and Mexico, began experimenting with different frames, parts and tire widths in the 1990s that “Fat Bikes” were born.
According to Bicycling magazine, fat bikes make quick work of people’s fitness goals because they make outdoor exercise possible and the workouts are tough. On a fat bike, a person can burn up to 1,500 calories an hour in soft conditions. They’ll also recover faster than if they went for an hour-long run.
“The park is also offering summer programming in popular sporting activities such as paddle boarding, kayaking and mountain biking,” Livak added.
More bike rides are planned to be offered on Monday nights at 5:30 p.m., beginning Jan. 28. For more information, contact the Environmental Education and Recreation Department at 354-9101, ext. 232, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.