Fat biking around Geilo

Looking across the frozen lake

A hangover brought on by mixing vodka, red wine and lager was no way to start a day of cycling. I could barely eat breakfast let alone think about exercise, but we’d already hired the bikes and there wasn’t much else to do in Geilo.

We trudged out to the main ski area on the other side of the valley at Geilolia, along frozen footpaths, beneath cloudy skies. The wind was blowing and the cold penetrated my jacket.

The bikes we hired were no ordinary ones but clumsy-looking Fat Bikes, with wide, chunky, low-pressure tyres designed to work particularly well on snow and ice. Ski instructor Nina talked us through the potential routes we could take and we cycled out to Geilo’s frozen lake to follow the paths taken by husky sleds.

G shows off his fat bike
G shows off his fat bike

There was something a little unnerving about cycling on a lake but with the cold so penetrating, the ice below us must’ve been several feet thick. Or at least that’s what I hoped.

It was only as we cycled out to the edge of the lake, on tracks marked by dog shit and pee, that I realised how far we’d skied the day before. But while we’d been quite sheltered on the cross-country tracks, on our bikes we were exposed to the strong wind blowing through the valley.

At times we came across parts of the lake where the water was shallow amid the rocks, and flowing enough not to have melted. It was all very pretty but the light was drearily flat.

Giant boulders dot the valley floors
Giant boulders dot the valley floors

We cycled into town for a spot of lunch at busy Cafe Mocca, filling up on a sandwich and cake, before continuing our ride to the other – and hillier – side of town. There we found the posh Vestlia district with its handsome homes lining the frozen streets.

Three hours after we’d picked up the bikes, bums sore, legs tired and cold from the wind, we handed them back and returned home. It had been fun going fat.

The evening followed a predictable pattern after dinner at the hotel’s pleasant brasserie – drinks in the ski bar. It was busier than normal, which was a shock in itself, and the only option anyway – the hotel pub was open but with one customer it looked like a place to avoid.

Outside, the snow fell.