It seems a long time ago now, but it was only back in early 2010, that I first got interested in fat bikes and fat biking. I’d been birdwatching along the coast at Aberlady Nature Reserve, a few miles from Edinburgh, along the East Lothian coast and was walking along the shore at Gullane Point when I came across what appeared to be motorcycle tracks on the beach. My initial thoughts at that time were those of annoyance, annoyed that someone was riding a motorcycle on the beach and in a nature reserve as well.
However, I started following those same said tracks and soon spotted the evil culprit who made them. And it was some bloke a bicycle. I immediately realised that I was seeing a fat bike and I cannot tell you how thrilled and excited I was to see my first fat bike. It was just amazing to see someone riding a bicycle, up and down sand dunes on a bicycle, apparently defying gravity on soft dry loose sand. Something I would never had thought possible had I not seen it with my own eyes.
In fact, only a few weeks previously I was searching the Internet for something new to take up my spare time and had come across the subject of fat bikes – bicycles with big fat 4” wide tyres mostly used on North America for winter riding on the snow. But I had discounted the idea as, at that time, you could not buy a complete fat bike, you had to actually build them yourself from parts. As this was not something I’d done before I put it down as too difficult a proposition. Looking back I should have given it more thought.
I then tried to catch up with the rider of said fat bike but a mere mortal on foot cannot hope to cover more ground that even the average rider on a fat bike. However, later that evening I was back online searching furiously looking for anything I could find on the fat bike and rider I’d seen, as I had a nagging suspicion that I’d actually come across that individual before, somewhere online.
Eventually, I tracked down the same website I’d see the bike featured on before. It was called “The Hub in the Forest”, the web site of a small café-come bike shop in Glentress Forest down by Peebles, in the Scottish Borders. There was even a picture the bike alongside its proud owner. My next challenge to try and get in touch with the owner and see if he would agree to meet and answer about a million questions on how to build a fat bike of my own from scratch.
Eventually, I managed to accumulate enough snippets of information from the Internet to pull together a picture of the man with the fat bike. He was called Bruce Mathieson a.k.a. Coastkid. He had a blog of the same name and he lived locally in East Lothian. I actually got in touch through Facebook, even signed up for an account myself just to be able to contact him.
Thankfully, Bruce agreed to meet and I travelled the 40 minute or so journey to his house in East Lothian and we spent about 3 hours in his garage taking about bikes, and fat bikes in particular. I hardly even noticed the arctic temperatures in his garage. This was January, after all, and the following day I set about working out how I was going to somehow build my first fat bike.
This proved not to be an easy task with the most difficult aspects of the build being finding suppliers was actually had part in stock in the UK. Such components as the frame & forks and the tyres had to be shipped from the United States. It was quite a steep learning curve abut eventually around March 2010 I had by first fat bike complete. Of course, many thanks to Bruce for his advice and suggestions.
Now, that was over 5 years ago as I write this page today in July 2015 and I’m now on my third fat bike. At one time I had three fat bikes in various guises but recently decided to simplify my life and now just own the one fat bike, a Surly Pugsley. I was also getting a bit fed-up with managing all the various websites and blogs I had, so closed just about all of them including my Facebook account, and my Youtube account along with all the 100 plus videos I’d made about fat biking and cycling. My earlier version of Pugsley on Patrol was also closed and deleted.
At first I really enjoyed not having to keep them up-to-date. Not having to answer the many dozens of emails that would arrive each day and enjoying the free time I now had. However, it left a gap in my life and while I was still riding the Pugsley it was almost as if I was without purpose. I needed something more than just simply riding the bike. And this is where this website/blog comes in. Pugsley on Patrol is back!
Pugsley on Patrol, is essentially a new start. It is based on what the title suggest, riding the Surly Pugsley fat bike, making films about the Surly Pugsley and fat biking in gneneral. I’ve decided that everything in this reincarnation of Pugsley on Patrol, will be fresh. All writing, films, pictures, articles and anything else will all be new material, none of the old stuff I had on line previously will be used. Well, probably!
Welcome to Pugsley on Patrol