Q&A: 10 Things You Need to Know About Fat Bikes

The Lake George Area has long been a destination for people who love to do things, whether it’s skiing (on water or snow) hiking, trail running, parasailing, zip lining, swimming, or even relaxing. We wanted to dig into the Fat bike craze. We decided to talk to a local cyclist who has long enjoyed the incredible views in this region via a road bike and a mountain bike and who has now begun to experiment with fat bikes.

We’ve been hearing a lot about fat bikes. We have to ask, what is a fat bike?

Fat bikes are basically a modified mountain bike. The term mostly refers to the obviously wider, oversized tires. The tires are about twice the width of normal mountain tires, and they excel in sand and snow because they act almost like balloons floating over terrain. The frames are modified to fit these specialized tires, but essentially, the frames look exactly like their mountain bike cousins.

What has made them become so popular?

They have opened up a whole new season of biking. Now, riding in the winter is so much easier and a lot more fun. Serious bikers can train longer. Fat bikes are actually cheaper because of simpler (more traditional style) construction and most leave out suspension. Fat bikes are a lot lighter than you’d think, but mostly they’re just a blast to ride.

Do you need different gear to enjoy a fat bike?

You don’t need anything different, unless you’re riding in the winter, then it’s a case of layering and dressing smart for the cold weather. Some added frame options for cold-weather riding include fenders for ice and mud and handlebar mitts to handle super cold air.

Where can you ride a fat bike?

Anywhere, particularly where there’s sand or snow–places where flotation is key.

Do I need to be a great cyclist to go fat biking?

Not at all. In fact, it might be a perfect introduction to off-road biking.

Do you say “I’m going fat biking” or do you just go biking and it happens to be on a fat bike?

It’s usually referred to as going fat biking–it just sounds fun, doesn’t it? It distinguishes where you’re going to ride: off-road, sandy or snowy trails.

What is the biggest difference in how it feels to ride a fat bike vs a mountain bike vs a road bike?

Fat bikes are a bit heavier than a typical mountain bike; a rider would feel the biggest difference when riding on the road because so much more rubber is in contact with the ground. Steering can be a bit harder because of tire width and gearing is simplified because speeds are generally on the slower side.

If you were to give advice to three types of people to get the most out of what the Lake George Area has in the way of fat biking, what would you say to:

For those who have never fat biked:

Rent a bike from Grey Ghost in downtown Glens Falls. Then ride on the XC trails in Crandall Park (beginner to intermediate) or Gurney Lane MTB Park (beginner to expert). Look for hard-pack, crusty or light powder conditions. Don’t try to tackle a ride just after a big snowstorm.

For those who are once-every-couple-of-years bikers:

If you plan on expanding your biking horizons, a fat bike is the perfect way, anytime of year.

And lastly, what would you say to the fat bike die hard:

Prepare to buy another bike.


Brant Lake

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Just 30 minutes north of Lake George, the hamlet of Brant Lake is the quintessential small Adirondack town, but with a youthful twist that makes it a wonderful destination for those looking for outdoor adventures without the crowds of Lake George. Famous for it’s prestigious children’s summer camps and stunning fall foliage, Brant Lake is home to hikes of all levels, roads perfect for biking, and a pristine lake with a public launch site. The uniqueness of Brant Lake lies in it’s unpretentious feel, and emphasis on enjoying the unspoiled beauty of the 5 mile-long lake and surrounding community. Whether you’re staying for a weekend, or investing in a home along the shore, all are welcome. Take a drive around the single road around the lake, which hugs the shoreline and offers unparalleled views of one of the more private lakes in the Lake George Area.

In the past few years, Brant Lake has experienced a revitalization of the town-center, with the opening of multiple new businesses. The Hub, a hybrid bike shop, bar and cafe, offers locals and visitors alike a relaxed bar atmosphere often accompanied by live music. They also host cycling events around the Brant Lake area, great for those interested in exploring the region by bike. Another new business that has fun for children and adults alike is Stuck in the Mud Pottery, a pottery studio that offers classes throughout the year, as well as handmade ceramics for sale. Stop in to see the work of a local artist, or sign up for a class to learn a new skill. Either way, this new Brant Lake business is sure to quickly become a staple for the regions art enthusiasts.

If you want your trip to the region to be spent outdoors, Brant Lake has more than enough to keep your whole family occupied. EZ Marine and Storage, located on the southern end of the lake, offers boat rentals (including canoes and kayaks!) for a day on the water, and a public beach can be found at the Mill Pond in the center of town. If hiking is more your speed, a quick but challenging hike up Stevens Mountain will reward you with some of the best views of the lake you’ll find. The Brothers, a chain of mountains that extend from the northern end of the lake, make for a longer hike, perfect for a full-day adventure. Brant Lake is also home to the southern entrance of the Pharaoh Lake Wilderness, a 45,883 acre wilderness area that boasts dozens of lakes, ponds, streams, and hiking trails.

Although Brant Lake is a common day-trip destination for those staying in nearby areas, it can also be an ideal place to set up camp for a weekend, week or summer-long vacation. Cottage rentals are the most common type of lodging in Brant Lake, with Hill Crest Cottages and Raymond Cottages offering private cottages and lake-access to their guests. Another option is the historic Sunset Mountain Lodge, an original 1920’s Adirondack resort revitalized to become not only a stopping point, but also a destination in itself. Guests are welcome to rent out the lodge for large gatherings, family reunions, office parties, etc. or stay in one of the “Housekeeping Cottages”, which are available in varying sizes and come with kitchen facilities. If you’re looking for more options within driving distance of Brant Lake, check out a full list of hotels, motels, rentals, and more here.

Although less than 1000 people live in Brant Lake year-round, the hamlet is home to both casual and fine-dining restaurants. The Lazy Moose Garden Market combines a homey general store vibe with beautiful greenhouse plants. Grab a freshly made sub from the deli (which uses Oscars Smokehouse meats) and make your table pop with flowers from their gardens. They also offer breakfast sandwiches, we recommend The Sunset! For a fine-dining option, visit Jimbo’s Club at the Point. Nestled along the shoreline of the lake at the historic Point o’ Pines Girls Camp, Jimbo’s is only open to the public from December to March. However, during that time it’s home to some of the best cuisine in the region. The surrounding towns of Chestertown, Pottersville, Lake George, and Warrensburg offer even more dining options. Check them out here.

Whatever the length of your stay, Brant Lake offers a peaceful escape from the bustle of daily life. Enjoy the untouched beauty of this hamlet on the lake, the roads or the trails. A quick drive from Lake George Village makes this the perfect stop while exploring the area.