Fatbikes at the Sault Canal

Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site

by Alisha Rosset

Who wants to ride a fatbike!? Through a Parks Canada-wide initiative, the Sault Ste. Marie Canal National Historic Site is introducing this emerging trend to visitors. It will be the latest craze to hit the groomed trails on South St. Mary’s Island, which are well known to nature enthusiasts and active Saultites who frequently walk, run, and bike there.

The fatbike rental program allows visitors to the site to experience the smooth, light weight ride of fatbikes. To appreciate the fatbike’s awesomeness and exploding popularity, it’s important to know some of its history.

Until October 7, Sault Ste. Marie Canal visitors are able to rent fatbikes on an hourly basis to explore the site’s trails and experience St. Mary’s Island in a new and exciting way. A pilot project has been launched with adult and children’s bikes available to rent. Stop into the Visitor Centre at the Sault Ste. Marie Canal today for the opportunity to discover the trails with the newest biking trend, fatbikes!

Two people on bicycles
Be sure to familiarize yourself with the trail network.
A cyclist.


A fatbike is a light weight off-road bicycle with oversized tires—typically from 3.5” to 5.0” rims. Fatbikes were invented for use in soft, unstable snow and sand, and are capable of handling extreme mountain biking trails. The sport is sometimes referred to as “snow biking” or “winter-mountain biking”.

Although the concept (and sport) of fat biking is relatively new to most consumers, early versions of fatbikes have been around since the 1980s. The term fatbike was coined in the 2001 and by 2005 fatbikes were available commercially. Today, there are multiple fatbike manufacturers to choose from, and the bikes are becoming so popular that fatbike specific events are emerging, such as the Annual Global Fatbike Summit, the Fatbike Birkie race, and the Fatbike Triple Crown race series. A number of extreme expeditions have also been inspired by fatbikes—Maria Leijerstam and Daniel P. Burton both cycled to the South Pole using a tricycle with fatbike tires and a fatbike, respectively.

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