• Fatbikers proclaim 2013 the “year of the squid”
By Sean Pearson
What do fatbikes, bonfires and a three-foot squid have in common?
Unless, of course, you were part of Homer Cycling Club’s Big Fat Bike Festival over the weekend.
Pumped full of nearly 60 riders from across the state, the 2013 version of Homer’s low-pressure weekend came complete with perfect weather, incredible beach-riding, a wicked beach obstacle course, plenty of brew — and a mascot.
“The squid was washed up on the shore very near where we built the obstacle course,” said Bjorn Olson, one of the festival’s organizers. “It was fresh and looked cool, so we nominated it our mascot.”
After an evening of beach bonfire fun on Friday, Fatbikers mounted their rides Saturday morning for a 6-hour excursion that traversed the beach from Miller’s Landing toward the head of Kachemak Bay.
“There were no events in the festival that had a competitive component,” Olson explained. “Our big idea is to give noncompetitive folks an event — and it seems to be valued.”
Olson said many first-time fatbikers, families, women, children and just plain curious people participated in the event. Biking around Kachemak Bay offers a good physical workout, as well as a little mental relaxation amid stunning vistas and wildlife.
“Our big selling point is beach riding. For most people, that concept is very novel and having a group ride with experienced people is a great way for people to get the hang of it,” Olson said. “Tides, weather, marine wildlife and subtle terrain route choices are a few of the bits of wisdom we try to impart on people. We also stress good stewardship and responsible multi-use ethics.”
Sunday not only offered a chance for fatbikers to put on a demonstration for the masses, but also brought one of the more challenging, but fun events in the beach obstacle course.
“We use donated scrap wood and existing driftwood to come up with a fun and semi-technical course,” Olson said. “It’s a great focal point for our beach bonfire. Last year, we left it up for a week after the event and then deconstructed and burned it.”
Olson said the group plans to do the same this year.
“We don’t want to leave any trace on the beach, but would love for other community members to come see what we have come up with,” he said. “And, if they get a wild hair, they can just jump on a bike and give it a shot.”
Olson said the course will be disassembled next Sunday, and recycled into a small beach fire/gathering. It is open to the public and anyone is welcome.
“We want people to come see what fat biking is all about,” he said.
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