My First “Proper” Fatbike Ride

I have been a self-declared cycling widow for the last five years.

As a result, I have been embracing gym life and undertaking team challenges in the form of ‘obstacle course races’ like Tough Mudder and Toughest. Cycling has never particularly appealed to me, I have tried Road Cycling but I just didn’t enjoy it; probably as I prefer a team sport.

Many bicycles have come and gone through the France Residence: road bikes, CX Bikes, fixies etc.

And then ‘The Dude’ appeared.

My husband Joe’s ‘new toy’; he loves it, both the children love it and as a result, a purchase was made of a second-hand one for me…….or them. Now, I hasten to add that I didn’t ask for this bike but I have decided to ‘give it a go.’

After just two fairly decent rides local to home, we decided to head further afield. So Joe, Roxy Dog (our 11 year old Jack Russell Terrier) and I headed to Ladybower Reservoir, in the UK’s Peak District, for me to sample the delights of what it has to offer. Having walked some of the paths over the years, the first thing that hit me was how you never really appreciate the terrain you’re walking on until you ride over it.

A steep track up the side of the Ladybower Inn was our starting point. Rocks and stones a plenty. Now, as a newbie it was frustrating. I had the bike in the lowest gear and having come to a stop a few times, my wheels just kept slipping, making it difficult to get momentum to then get going again. Trial and error seemed to work best, and I should point out that this was only the third time that I had been on my fat bike and for those that know me; I don’t particularly have the ‘frame’ for hills!

However, before I knew it, the sun was shining, I was making progress and the top of Derwent Edge came into view. We were nearly at the top! I had a smile on my face…..on a bike! The dog was in her element too; as it’s not too speedy on a fat bike, she could plod along to her heart’s content!

After a brief photo opportunity and drink stop at the view point, came my favourite part; the downhill to the reservoir’s edge. Before you get deluded into thinking I must be some downhill nutter, you also have to bear in mind that I don’t even know which brake is which and I wasn’t very fast. Negotiating muddy puddles, staying upright and not climbing made this the best bit by far! I don’t mind getting muddy and muddy I was!
At the bottom of the path I had a minor fall from not knowing the brake system; I thought it was quite amusing and I didn’t cry! At the gate we popped our lovely dog into our newly purchased Doggy Back Pack. We knew she wouldn’t do well on the paths and it meant she’d had a good run out and was involved in our adventure.

Unfortunately, my rear tyre had continually deflated throughout the day; I’d like to tell you I knew what was wrong with it, but all I do know is it is something to do with the rims and that Joe can sort it! So, we ended up having to head back to the pub for a well earnt pint and a pie dinner.

As I reflect on my first proper ride, I must admit that I really enjoyed it. I’m sure with time and practice I can improve on my technical ability with regard to the terrain. I just wish we could have gone further as it was, indeed, a perfect day for it. But stopping every mile or so to pump up a fatbike tyre started to lose its appeal, after having to do it twice. The Peak District is such a beautiful part of ‘God Own County’ and fatbiking is a great way to explore.

In short, would I go again? Yes I would! I would also like to try fatbiking on the beaches or snow but let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Best Bit? The down hills and not really having to worry about obstacles on your path! Worst bit? Failed back tyre and inexperience!

Editor: an article from a female rider makes a refreshing change for us here at

Can we have more of this please? We know you’re out there!

Author: Fliss France

Share This Post On

1 Comment

  1. Great article. I have sent a copy to my wife as I’m trying to convince her to join my fatbike adventures.

    Post a Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *