The other day a strange looking bicycle was standing in the shop. With its fork and frame barely able to hold the bloated tires in place, it looked like a mountain bike on anabolic steroids. Cross country, downhill, enduro, trial, recumbent, touring, road and folding bikes I had already seen and used, but never a bike with such fat tires. It looked like a lot of fun. And a short test ride later I decided to buy one of these. It happened to be a Fatboy from Specialized. During the first few rides I learned that everybody had something to say as soon as they had a look at the bike: “Where is the engine? Can you ride it up the mountain? Isn’t it too heavy? Does it make fun to ride without snow or sand? Is this a downhill bike?”. To answer all this questions I decided to take it on some of my favorite test tracks.
And here the answers to the questions above: “Where is the engine?” – there’s a two stroke biochemical powered engine sitting on the sattle “Can you ride it up the mountain?” – Yes, as with any other bicycle “Isn’t it too heavy?” – No “Does it make fun to ride?” – Yes, a lot! “Is this a downhill bike?” – Yes: perfect on nice smooth trails, go easy on rocky technical sections!
Up to now I used the Fatboy for 6 MTB trips around the swiss alps. And I’m sure more will come.
Distance: 270 km
Difference in altitude: 6000 m uphill, 10000 m downhill
100 years ago the first world war started (July 28th 1914), and some remains of that war are still present. Such as the famous Cadorna Line, a defence line in the region of the Alto Varesotto, build from Italy against attacs from Germany and Austriche. The fortifications have been build into the landscape, and where hard to be seen from distance. Often they occured suddenly during the bicycle trip over the old military roads.
Distance: 39 km
Difference in altitude: 1100 m
Short water walk from Villeneuve to the medieval Chillon Castle and back to welcome the astronomical winter. On my way back to Villeneuve I paid a short visit to the Ile de Peilz. Its look changed a bit since my last visit.
Temperatures: 6°C air, 7°C water
Wind: 4-5 km/h
Distance: 7 km
A nice walk over the water of Lago di Mergozzo.
temperatures: 7°C air, 8°C water
wind: not noticeable
distance: 6 km
Today I went for some stand up paddling to the Ile de Peilz. A small island in the lake geneva, just in front of Villeneuve.
It‘s the same small island Lord Byron describes in his poem „The Prisoner of Chillon“.
And then there was a little isle,
Which in my very face did smile,
The only one in view;
A small green isle, it seem’d no more,
Scarce broader than my dungeon floor,
But in it there were three tall trees,
And o’er it blew the mountain breeze,
And by it there were waters flowing,
And on it there were young flowers growing,
Of gentle breath and hue.
Many things have changed since then. There are no flowers on the island, and of the three tall trees, only one, but a huge one, still exists today. The roots of this tree started to destroy the walls holding the island together, as the it grow bigger and bigger.
The whole island has been restaured in 2010, and now it looks like new.
This was my first visit of the island. And it was like I imagined – just beautiful.
temperatures: 15-18°C air, 15°C water
wind: not noticeable
distance: 10 km