Global Fat Bike Day 2017

Global Fatbike Day (#GFBD2017) is an annual “Party on fat tyres” where riders celebrate the good times that we have riding our Fat Bikes. Today we rolled our chubby tyres along the beaches of Queensland’s famous Gold Coast.

We had a lazy late start at Broadbeach close to the CBD of Surfer Paradise.

The low tide wasn’t due till early afternoon. We couldn’t leave too early in the morning because the waves would be too high on the beach. So we relaxed in a local cafe and had our “second breakfast” before we rode off ๐Ÿ™‚


On the first Saturday of Summer, the Gold Coast beaches were buzzing with happy people. Lifesavers, swimmers, sun bathers, walkers all crowded on to the sand to enjoy the day.

Riding was effortless as a gentle tailwind pushed us down the beach. It was like rolling downhill.

Would the wind change later in the day and push us back up the beach?

No one knew. We didn’t care. For now, all that mattered was enjoying the ride while chatting with friends.

After a few hundred metres we bumped into some more riders.

“The A Group”, a tough bunch of characters, had started from “The Spit” next to the mouth of the Nerang River and ridden down the beach at high tide while the rest of us were having coffee.

Among them was Troy, who had recently ridden his Fat Bike 1,600km through the snow of Alaska. I don’t think the Gold Coast high tide would have slowed him down much.


(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Riding a bright green, fully loaded bike, Anthony was giving his rig a “shake down” before going for a pedal in the Simpson Desert.

Anthony loves adventure, recently completing a kayaking trip from the Gold Coast to PNG.

Gee you meet some inspiring people while riding a fat bike.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Rumour has it that the collective noun for fat bikes is “Grumble” because that’s what they sound like when they’re rolling.

Our colorful Grumble of Fat Bikes set off down the beach, the breeze at our backs, hoping to get to Tweed Heads by lunch time.


At South Nobby we had to carry the bikes up the stairs to get over the headland.

Like everyone else, I just hooked my seat over my shoulder and climbed up, but I did it the wrong way.

Troy (in the grey jersey) did it the right way. If you hook your bike over your shoulder with the front wheel pointing backwards, the back wheel lifts up and stays out of the way of your feet.

I had the wheel of my bike pointing forwards (like Peter in Orange). The front wheel kept bumping on the steps in front of me, which made it hard to carry it up the stairs.

Next time I’ll remember ๐Ÿ™‚

Carrying Fat Bikes up stairs was an unusual “hill climb”. Once at the top, we rolled down the other side, and back on to the beach.

Ahead loomed Burleigh Heads – another headland we’d need to navigate around.

Instead of climbing over it, we went around the back of Burleigh and over Tallebudgera Creek.

In my school days I had several school camps at Tallebudgera. They told us the name meant “Good fish” in the local aboriginal dialect.

We crossed the creek and pedaled back on to the beach again.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

“Look ma, no hands!”

A few of us stuck our hands out like wings as we coasted on the damp sand.

We crossed another creek at Currumbin.

Adam and I posted for a photo with a bronzed lady in a bikini, as you do on the Gold Coast.

We played around for a while at Elephant Rock.

Large grippy fat bike tyres are perfect for riding on rocks. They don’t slip, and soak up the bumps wonderfully.


Everyone else caught up while we played around.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

Let’s have a group photo!

Luckily, a helpful bystander agreed to take the photo, so everyone could fit in.


We rode around another colorful bunch of excited surf lifesavers at Kirra.

As we approached Coolangatta it was obvious to us that the tide was receding, exposing large rocks that had been recently submerged.

We climbed the hill at Greenmount via the bike path.

The Tweed River was close.

As we rode along the rock wall, I could see across the river. On the other side was another rock wall we had stood on a few months ago.

Darb smiled, satisfied. Our ride maps now joined up…

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

…except for the gap made by the river.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

With our goal achieved we pedaled up the hill to the cafe.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

After adding it all up I realized afterwards I ‘d probably consumed more calories than I had burned today, but it was fun.

It’s not every day you get to have lunch by the sea with your mates.


(Photo: Tony Ryan)

In the eighteenth century, James Cook named this hill Point Danger – probably because he worried someone might crash into it.

The local Moorung-Moobar aboriginal people called it “Booningba” which means “place of the echidna”. There’s a mysterious cave in the cliff face which made a loud noise when the wind and waves crashed into it. The aborigines believed the cave was made by a lightning strike, and called it “Moy-nogumbo” – “black dog”.

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

With full stomachs we rolled down the hill and started our return trip.

The wind had picked up, and was now blowing straight at us.

We decided to hedge our bets. We’d ride a while on bike paths, out of the wind, then venture out on the sand for a while when we thought the wind had eased off.

On the horizon, the spires of Surfers Paradise reached heavenward.

What an unusual city.


(Photo: Tony Ryan)

We tried riding on the beach.

I slip-streamed behind a few stronger riders.

The wind was coming towards us from our right.

If I positioned myself just right on the bike I could avoid the wind.

Back at Elephant Rock, the tide had gone out a long way.

Chris and Jason wandered down to the bank of Currumbin Creek.

They wanted to know if the low tide made the creek shallow enough to wade across.

The rest of us waited to see if they could make it across. Sometimes Fatbike riding is a good spectator sport.

Too deep. They decided to play it safe and go over the bridge like everyone else.

Bridges… keeping people dry since Roman times ๐Ÿ™‚

We rode back on to the beach and into the wind.

Our group was now starting to stretch out. I dropped back, unable to draft behind anyone else.


In bustling Burleigh Heads a few of us decided to take the easy way out and follow the bike path back.

It wasn’t as spectacular as the beach, but sometimes it’s ok to take the easy option.

Gee that was quick!

Total distance: 50.72 km
Max elevation: 36 m
Min elevation: -4 m
Total climbing: 522 m
Total descent: -501 m
Average speed: 15.14 km/h
Total Time: 04:53:36
More data

This was a leisurely ride. It was more of a “party on wheels” rather than a race.

We rode fifty kilometres in around five hours.

During that time we climbed about two hundred metres and I burned about two thousand kcal.

I’ll rate this one 6 out of 10 on the tough-o-meter.

Thanks everyone for another enjoyable day out!

(Photo: Tony Ryan)

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