Editor’s Note: This post is courtesy of Travel Oregon.
Fat bikes typically conjure images of snowy wintertime adventure. But spinning these big wheeled steeds on the beach is an equally exhilarating experience. That was the discovery made by Joseph Ahearne during his time riding the ultra-scenic Oregon Coast.
“At the beach you’re really riding with no destination in mind. It’s the trip itself that is the draw,” said the man behind Ahearne Cycles. “It’s such a unique environment that just moving around is beautiful thing. The first time I got on a fat-tire bike, it reminded me of my childhood, getting on a bike and feeling this weird, goofy freedom. That’s what these sort of bikes do for people.”
Ahearne plowed that inspiration into a very special fat bike, one designed for Travel Oregon’s 7 Bikes for 7 Wonders scavenger hunt. To celebrate the 7 Wonders of Oregon, the Portland-based builder was one of seven Oregon bike makers tasked with creating hand-crafted steeds inspired by the state’s most amazing places to ride, including the Coast. This summer, those bikes are being hidden at their Wonders for anyone to find, own, and ride.
Ahearne’s efforts produced a fat-tire beach cruiser purpose-built for — and representative of — riding on the Oregon Coast. Giant 4-inch tires make this rig a true all-terrain vehicle, able to tackle virtually any surface, wet or dry sandy beaches included. “You can plow through just about anything on this bike,” says Ahearne.
To achieve this ATV-level capability, the bike utilizes low gearing to allow the rider to spin through loose sand or dirt, and the frame has a semi-step-through top tube that’s slanted downward, making it easier to jump on and off if you bog down. And of course the wide tires help, especially since you can run them at ridiculously low pressure. When pumping up the tires for a ride, the prevailing recommendation is start at 10psi and decrease as needed.
“It’s an interesting feeling going through soft sand on a big, fat-tired bike because you’re not quite in control,” reveals Ahearne. “You’re kind of sledding, so you’re just trying to keep yourself over the bike. It’s a cool feeling.”
This diversity of capabilities has natural ties to the experience of riding the Oregon Coast. One minute you’re on a singletrack trail with beautiful vistas in all directions, the next you’re barreling along the beach, surfing through soft sand. Because there’s so much to see and do, riding on the beach is rarely a point-to-point ride. It’s more spontaneous, as much a state of mind as a physical activity.
And so is this bike. Unique features include a front rack designed to carry two six-packs to a beach party, plus flask carriers for enjoying a relaxed drink while viewing a coastal sunset. The bike’s frame is painted a shade of blue meant to emulate the color of the ocean.
“First and foremost, this bike is fun,” explains Ahearne. “On this bike you feel like you can literally go anywhere.”
That’s perfect considering all 363 miles of the Oregon Coast are free and open to all, meaning how you choose to explore it is entirely up to you.