Opening the door to Steve Fuller’s garage, one may believe they are walking into a bike shop. With a veritable stable of trusty steeds gracing the walls, Fuller has a bike for just about any occasion.
While he has some of the more traditional bikes in his garage, such as a road bike and mountain bike, the one that attracts the most attention, and is the most fun to ride — not easiest, he is quick to point out — but most fun, is his Salsa Mukluk.
In order to understand the Mukluk, you must first understand its origin.
In Alaska the Iditarod Sled Dog Race, a 1,000-mile race from Anchorage to Nome, is held each March. At some point in its history, someone thought it would be a good idea to hold a race along the Iditarod Trail on bicycles. In the beginning, traditional mountain bikes were used, and riders would install the fattest tires and run them with as low a tire pressure as possible. Soon, bikes were being widened and two wheels were laced together, running two knobby tires side by side, giving better traction and float for the riders in the snow. Salsa, a Minnesota-based bicycle company, saw this as an opportunity and began producing bikes, rims and fat tires for the ever-growing snow-bike-rider market.
While traditional mountain bikes are acceptable means of riding year-round in Iowa, a few early adopters gave these fat-bikes a try and found them to be quite fun in any condition. The bikes, with bulbous, low-pressure, high-traction tires, could go just about anywhere — sand, snow, mud, even weeds and tall grass.
Fuller has an appreciation for the specialty bike and is often the one who gives a new style or brand a try first. Hearing the advantage they give when riding in the snow it was not long before his Salsa Mukluk found its place in his garage.
“I love riding it,” says Fuller. “It looks like it would be heavy and cumbersome, but it’s really not too bad.”
Many mountain bikes are built with a suspension system built into the front fork and rear frame of the bicycle, giving comfort to the rider and aiding with traction, but not this style of bike — the suspension is in the size of the tire.
“It’s like riding on air,” he says.Contact Darren at 953-4822 ext. 304 or firstname.lastname@example.org to recommend someone for an upcoming issue of “What’s In Your Garage?”