SUMMERSTOWN — Starting this season, you’ll see a new breed of fun and fitness on the Summerstown Trails as fat bikes will be officially welcomed. Fat bikers will be able to access 10 km of the snowshoe trails, with signage posted to aid in navigation.
More importantly, these trails will be groomed specifically for fat biking thanks to a partnership between the Friends of the Summerstown Trails (FOTST) and the Raisin Region Conservation Authority (RRCA). The trails will be groomed with a machine called a SnowDog. It will be used to pack the snowshoe trails allowing fat bikers to bike on an even, wide surface. RRCA was able to purchase this equipment through a grant obtained from Union Gas and an additional contribution from FOTST. The trails will be groomed on a priority basis by the RRCA after every significant snowfall, including weekends. “The RRCA is looking forward to working with FOTST and promoting fat biking in SDG. Fat biking is a relatively new activity and a great way to enjoy the winter months,” said RRCA General Manager Richard Pilon.
Fat biking is a recent and fast-growing activity for those looking for a way to participate in a winter activity in a great environment. The local fat bike community is also growing fast, numbering close to 100, most of them being members of the Cornwall Cycle Club. “The Summerstown Trails will be a great area for both beginner and experienced fat bikers. The trail options can be divided up into smaller loops or they can be ridden as one big adventure,” said Joe McNamara, FOTST Board member and fat bike enthusiast.
The United Counties of SDG, owners of the Summerstown Forest, are very much in favour of this new activity being made available as it is in line with their intention of encouraging greater use of their properties by the citizens of SDG. It is anticipated that this initiative will attract fat bikers from other areas to come to the Summerstown trails, as the trails will offer a new and interesting challenge to all fat bike enthusiasts. “SDG continues to invest in the county owned forests in many ways and through SDG Regional Tourism’s promotion and outreach, this additional use will attract trail traffic, not only from SDG, but reaching beyond our borders to the fat bike enthusiast crowd,” declared Jamie MacDonald, SDG Warden.
In order to achieve more stability and get better traction, fat bikes (sometimes call snow bikes) have tires with a minimum width of 9.4 cm (3.5 inches) with a tire pressure less than 10 pounds of air. As a result, they do not attain great speeds and will not pose a danger to the snowshoers and other walkers on the trails. In fact, the common rules of etiquette adopted everywhere stipulate that fat bikers must yield to the other trail users.
The Friends of the Summerstown Trails will be hosting their annual Official Opening Day on Sunday, January 6, and in collaboration with Total Cyclery and Sports and Specialized Bicycles, a fat bike demo will be offered to those who wish to try this new activity. The trails are situated on Summerstown Road, 1.6 km north of exit 804 of the 401, and are open seven days a week. There is no charge to access the trails.