The Homer Cycling Club and fat-bikers from around the state, and even the Lower 48, are gearing up for the second annual Big Fat Bike Festival.
After a successful first run last year, the Homer Cycling Club is excited to host a winter 2013 festival that will be bigger, fatter, and "Homer-er."
The Friday-through-Sunday event features several local fat biking routes as a sampler of the excellent fat bike terrain accessible in the Homer area. Most repeat events use the same route year after year. The Homer Cycling Club decided to celebrate the variety of available options, so this year's rides are in different locations than in 2012.
Many Homer residents are already familiar with this oversized, all-season human-powered vehicle. Perhaps you've spotted a fat-biker on the roadside trudging through a blizzard. Or maybe you've encountered one while covering a remote beach by four-wheeler, or using the Snomads trail system.
A rapidly expanding user group is discovering that the fat bike is an excellent tool for covering great expanses of northern wilderness, and the Homer Cycling Club wants to celebrate the diversity of the sport.
Fat bikes are enjoyed by riders of a wide range of ability and fitness level. In a sport that can seem dominated by extreme tests of endurance or speed, the Big Fat Bike Festival offers something much more inclusive than yet another race.
The event is structured to allow riders to enjoy the camaraderie of group rides while riding at a pace that is comfortable and fun for them. The faster, stronger riders will have the option to loop out further, still allowing everyone to gather for a campfire at lunch time.
The Big Fat Bike Festival includes several events open to the public. There is a bonus kick-off evening at 6:30 p.m. today at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center with a screening of "Reveal the Path," a mountain biking documentary including footage of fat biking in the Homer area. Entrance is by donation.
Then, come down to Mariner Park on Friday night to mingle with the fat bikers at the meet-and-greet bonfire, and check out the obstacle course. Take a bike for a spin if you want to see what the big fat deal is.
The rest of the weekend will include fun fat biking events for registered participants as well as a dinner and raffle at Alice's Champagne Palace on Saturday night.
Kim McNett and Bjorn Olson are dedicated fat bikers and year-round bicycle commuters who have done fat-bike roads on snow and sand in the Kachemak Bay and even wilder areas.
Second Annual Big Fat Bike Festival
For registration, visit homercyclingclub.com/big-fat-bike-festival.html
$60 for all events
6 p.m.: Screening of "Reveal the Path," Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Suggested donation of $5 at the door.
6 p.m.: Meet and greet at Mariner Park with a bonfire and tiki-torch-lined obstacle course. Bring your bike to play with.
8 a.m.: Eat a hearty breakfast and meet at Cycle Logical in the East Village on East End Road for ride check-in and announcements.
8:30 a.m.: Ride begins at Miller's Landing with a group photo.
9-10 a.m.: Midway point beach bonfire at the mouth of McNeil Canyon.
1 p.m.: Estimated ride end time.
1-4 p.m.: DIY Bike Wash open at Cycle Logical.
3-6 p.m.: Burger and brew for BFBF participants at Alice's Champagne Palace (all ages welcome), including door prizes, raffle and silent auction.
9-10:15 a.m.: Yoga at Many Rivers (formerly Anahata) on East End Road. Space is limited.
10:30 a.m.: Meet at Mariner Park for more obstacle course fun and other miscellaneous competitions.
11:30 a.m.: Group beach ride and/or trail ride depending on local trail and weather conditions.