As I pedaled up Montebello Road toward the ridge, a friendly vineyard farmer (viticulturist?) pulled up beside me in his truck. "What kind of tires are those?" he asked. "Is that one of those fat-tired bikes?"
"It is," I replied. "They're made in Alaska for riding on snow."
"I've heard about them," he said enthusiastically. "But I never thought I'd see one up here. Those bikes must be all over the place now."
I nodded, "Yeah, even in California."
The farmer's comment got me thinking about the growing presence of fat bikes in the Lower 48, and the way many cyclists around here view these bikes as a kind of fad. They started showing up in magazines, they seem quirky and possibly fun, but not really practical. And when you live in a region with little to no proximity to sand or snow, it's true they're not practical. There's no denying I haven't ridden the Fatback for months and hardly missed it. But I'm still a big proponent of fat bikes. If I was forced to use only one bike for all for the riding I do for the rest of my life, I would choose a fat bike. To me, fat bikes have never been trendy or stylish. They're awkward and heavy, but incredibly useful. And I should know, because I was a slow adopter myself.