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Kids’ bikes are getting fat

As a general rule, I can be a bit of a stubborn nonconformist. When fitness trends get hot (CrossFit, barefoot running, etc.), I tend to be skeptical. I have often asked chiropractor and physical therapist friends what they think of such trends and many times I hear, “It keeps me in business,” which just reinforces my tendency not to jump in and join the latest and greatest trend.

Kids’ fat bike (photo: Specialized)

This one is sticking around…in a BIG way

When I first started to see fat bikes, I could not help but think it was just another trend. I am around so many bike geeks (and I mean that in a loving way) that I often hear talk about changes or upgrades—some stick, some do not. But lately, it has become very clear that this fat bike phenomenon is not going anywhere anytime soon.

Just the other day, the staying power of the fat bike era was reinforced when I saw that Specialized is making a fun and colorful fleet of kids’ fat bikes. Things just got very big and very real.

The BIG potential

Every year we work with communities to write Safe Routes to School grants that create programs to get more kids biking and walking to school. This year I had the opportunity to talk with a few mountain communities, including Eagle and Leadville, about programs for next year. Because they have long, snow-filled winters, we joked about getting a fat bike library for kids to use in the winter.

Some folks in Leadville specifically mentioned that their kids get cranky (pun intended) when they can’t ride to school during the colder months, and they asked me if anyone was making fat bikes for kids. I had to say no. But just a week after we turned in the grants, I saw the announcement for the kids’ fat bikes. While I am disappointed that we did not find out about the bikes early enough to allow us to create programs using them for next year, I am excited about possibilities for the future.

Can you imagine some of our mountain towns having kid-oriented bike share programs that include fat bikes for winter riding? How rad would that be? The truth is, Colorado would be the perfect place to launch programs like these and I truly hope that we have the chance to set up year-round bike libraries in various communities around the state.

What’s Next?

While barefoot running and gluten-free diets may ebb and flow, I think fat bikes are here to stay. The question is, what is next? A year from now, will we be teaching kids to ride through snow on fat Striders?

Bicycle Colorado

About the Author: Bicycle Colorado

Bicycle Colorado is a 501(c)3 nonprofit based in Denver. We use advocacy, education and passion to make Colorado one of the most bicycle-friendly states in the nation. We encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado. With the support of our members and numerous partnerships across the public and private sector, we’ve made significant strides in improving bicycling since 1992.


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