2019 Global Fatbike Day in Sapporo (Hokkaido, Japan)

Posted on Dec 8, 2019
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Posted on Dec 8, 2019
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Reading time: 4 min
For the past few years, the good folk at Sam's Bike in Sapporo have organized a gathering of fatbike enthusiasts in Sapporo City, coinciding with the Global Fatbike Day. This year on the 8th of December, 67 snow-loving cyclists turned out for the Sapporo event - the biggest number since the annual event began. Rob and Haidee from Hokkaido Wilds went along to catch up with friends (including our friend Arimori-san), and check out the latest in fatbike gear geekery.

Luckily for us, this annual Global Fatbike Event in Sapporo is usually held at a ‘cycling park‘ only 10 minutes bike ride from our apartment in southern Sapporo City. Replete with pump track, berms, hills and hollows, this is a perfect spot for blatting around on fatbikes. Haidee and I don’t own fatbikes, so we joined the small handful of participants on mountain bikes. Even in the deeper spots, the snow was only about 10cm deep, so a fatbike was certainly not essential.

The event started at 10am, with a traditional spot of junbi-taiso – the classic Japanese warm-up movements all done in synchrony with the other participants. This was led by Nami Matsuura, head stoke-giver of all that is bicycling (and owner) at Sam’s Bike

Next was some downtime, where Haidee commandeered Nami’s fatbike for a few laps of the area.

The first activity of the event was an elimination round-by-round Straight-line Competition, whereby participants had to cycle along a 5 meter length of 100mm wide wood, without falling off it. Who would have thought it would be so hard to cycle in a straight line?

Following this was the Grand Derby – participants cycled in an anti-clockwise direction, with the circle slowly getting smaller as time went on. Those who lost balance as they crashed into other cyclists had to retire from the circle. In the end, only two remained, with the winner decided after an impressive pushing and shoving match.

The final excitement for the event was a group janken (rock, paper, sissors) raffle competition. There ended up being at least 15 rounds, with a bunch of prizes from Sam’s Bike being doled out. I managed to win a round, and chose as my prize a pack of Niseko Pow Bars (vegan energy bars).

This was more or less the end of the event. Overall, a great fun couple of hours meeting a whole bunch of keen winter cyclists – a community that is growing fast here in Sapporo.

There was a range of bikes making a showing. Surly and Salsa of course, with a sprinkling of KHS too. The limelight was taken by one Salsa Big Fat Larry longtail fatbike. 45Nth – the maker of winter-specific cycling clothing and gear – was a clear favourite among the participants too. Lots of 45Nth pogies (handle-bar mitts), boots, tires, and clothing.

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2019 Global Fatbike Day in Sapporo (Hokkaido, Japan) Difficulty Rating





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GRADES range from A (very difficult) to D (easy). Hazards include exposure to avalanche and fall risk. More details here. Rating rubric adapted from Hokkaido Yukiyama Guidebook 北海道雪山ガイド.