Sunday, December 14, 2014

Farleys and Otters and Gravel... Oh My.


With Saturday temps being ideal for riding, even if the clouds and fog weren't, I decided it would be a great time to take the Farley out for a decent gravel ride. All told I managed to get about 25 1/2 miles in, probably could have gone a bit further but time was slipping away on the afternoon and the weather started looking a little worse as well.


Because the day was so nice I stopped at Walnut Creek Recreational Area and just plopped my backside on a rock near the banks of the lake and sat and looked around. It wasn't more than a few minutes before I was rewarded, all of a sudden this little guy surfaced just a few feet off the shore from me and nonchalantly swam around for a bit before diving below the surface again and disappearing.


Moving on I decided to shoot up Schram Road, the Farley handled the gravel really well. One of the nice things, I discovered, about riding a fat bike on gravel is that you don't need to be so concerned with finding the best line like you do on a cross bike or even a mountain bike. With almost 4 inches of undampened suspension and traction for days you can just point and pedal, floating over deep gravel pockets, chuck holes and wash boards with ease. Ideally you'd still want to choose the best line when possible as it will still be the smoothest and possibly fastest route but the penalty for making a mistake is almost imperceptible on the Farley.


I do most of my riding solo, which is probably not a bad thing since I take the camera on every ride and it's not unusual for me to stop frequently and take a few shots of the bike or nature or nature and the bike together in perfect harmony. For me a good ride isn't necessarily one where I beat my personal best but more one that leaves me refreshed and ready to face the "real world" again once it's over, I think the Farley is going to fit nicely into my riding style.


Having those massive tires you'd think that the Farley would be S  L  O  W... but while moving that amount of rubber certainly takes a bit more effort, once you get them rolling they actually churn along nicely. Once I get my fattie strength built up it might get even better but right now it seems like the Farley is about a mile an hour slower than the single speed on relatively the same route. Trek did an excellent job with gearing (11/36 in the rear and 36/22 up front) even on the roller coaster hills I never had to drop down out of the big ring up front and often was three gears up from the bottom on the rear even on the steep climbs... if I had one complaint it would be that the top end wasn't quite there when cruising down the back side of the climbs but then again speeds above 28 mph was probably not a huge concern for the Trek engineers when they were deciding on the gears. Fat Bikes have always looked like they would be a lot of fun to ride, they are even more fun to actually ride than they look.

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