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Can you ride a fat bike in the snow?

Do you wish you could keep riding your bike all winter long? Maybe your reasoning is simple: You use your bike for transportation. You don't own a car. This is how you get to work in Chicago. It's not just a hobby that you do in your spare time. You are a cyclist because it's the best way to get around the city.

The good news is that even snow and ice do not have to prevent you from riding your bike. You can ride a fat bike -- essentially a mountain bike with wider tires -- regardless of the weather.

The PSI difference

There are a few reasons that fat bikes are good for this weather. The first, of course, is the width of the tires themselves. They give you more stability, more traction, more surface area and more control. That's perfect for winter riding. It doesn't mean you face no hazards. Ice can be especially hazardous. But it gives you more control than any other type of tire.

One big difference is the PSI at which you run the tires. You may run your fat bike all the way down to 5 PSI. Many people at least drop it to 8-10 PSI, even when not going all the way down to 5. Soft tires like that give you more traction and really grip the road. They're not as fast, but speed is not the goal with winter riding.

You can slide

One thing to keep in mind is that sliding is fairly standard on a fat bike. It does take some getting used to. It's wise to practice on side streets, in parking lots or on the trails. You will get a sense of how the bike can slide and still be under control. This helps you when something unexpected happens on the road -- like your bike hitting a patch of ice.

Keep your weight on the seat

An important tip for riding a fat bike is to keep your weight down on the seat as much as you can. Do not stand for more power, as you would in the summer. You just lose traction. Instead, stay down on the seat so that your weight presses down on the rear tire. This gives your bike the best grip in the snow. That back wheel gives you all of your power and traction.

Accidents still happen

Even if you have the right bike for winter riding, accidents still happen. Many drivers do not know how to drive in snow and ice. They still make mistakes and cause these crashes. If you get injured, you need to know what legal options you have to seek out compensation.

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