Pagoda 200k on a Fat Bike

Fat bike outside the Pagoda

For awhile now, I’ve been thinking about riding not just a 200k, but a full Super Randonneur series on a fat bike. The biggest issue I had was trying to find an appropriate tire. For obvious reasons, most producers of fat tires don’t go out of their way to design a treadless tire for street riding. Surly used to, but they’ve discontinued them as of this year.

I found the Vee Tire Chicanes a few weeks ago, and decided to pull the trigger. The tires are listed as 3.5” and have a tan sidewall as an added bonus. Mounted on 80 mm rims, I think they come out to around 4”. Several test rides showed that the tires are pretty fast rolling; only a couple miles per hour slower than my road bike. I think the upright position of the fat bike is more to blame than anything.

View from Skyline Drive

Yesterday’s Pagoda 200k was the first brevet in the series and also the first test of the tires on a long distance ride. The ride was beautiful and featured 10,000 feet of climbing, which would have made for a difficult day on its own. Unfortunately, we had to deal with a relentless wind for the entire ride. I rode to the first controle about 20 miles in with some old friends, Gavin, Bill, and Matt. I was able to keep up with them, but not without a lot of effort in those conditions.

I let them roll out and took a longer break as I waited for CJ and his crew to come in. We had driven up together, so it made sense to try to ride together. We suffered through ever increasing winds throughout the day, especially riding between exposed fields on the way into and out of Reading.

We got to experience some scenic climbs, including the climb up Skyline Drive to the Pagoda. After this there were several other climbs, but there are only a couple that stick out in my mind as being terrible. Wind was definitely the worst part. But it was good weather, and we didn’t have to deal with any rain, always a plus. CJ and I finished the ride together at just over 12 hours, which is pretty good, all things considered.

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