|These were once show-stoppers. Now? Meh!
But one thing I did not get into, and which is also now ten years old, is the prevalence of fat bikes as a bicycle type. That may not seem like a thing to mark now, but if you jumped in and got a fat bike in 2011/12, you know what I mean when I say, these bikes were show-stoppers.
Everywhere I went, people would gawk, stop or slow down in their vehicles, and maybe even yell something nice out the window at me because of these bicycles. There was just something about a fat bike which elicited a sometimes visceral, sometimes child-like curious reaction. Questions! Oh my, yes.....all the questions!
"Are those hard to pedal?", or maybe the "Are those motorcycle tires?" comments were the earliest. I'd often get "Wow! That's a cool bike! How much did it cost?" Or, "That looks heavy! How much does it weigh?" Of course, often these would be followed by the famous, "What's a bike like that for?", or "Those only good for snow then, right?" I might even get the question asking where I got it. There were probably others I am forgetting.
I remember when I was riding home from work one day on the original Ti Muk I owned. A car slow-rolled besides me and was filming me riding on his smart phone. Sheesh! That was odd! But such were the reactions of folks, and it stayed that way up until about a couple of years ago. Then I think something happened that kind of has made fat tire bikes ubiquitous in the minds of the general populace.
And the entry level/Amazon/internet brands seem to have picked up on this by offering wider tires in several diameters. 20", 22", 24", 26", and 27.5"ers are all running around on 3"+ wide rubber now. Common folk seem to think seeing a fat tire on a bicycle now is a dead giveaway that the bicycle has a motor.
I got that take once when I was riding the Ti Muk 2 home from work in 2019. Of course, I had the generator lights blazing, so I suppose that also falsely pointed folks in the electric motor direction. But a guy rolled up beside me at a stop sign, rolled down the passenger side window, and yelled, "Hey! Is that an electric bike?" To which I answered, "Nope! I'm the motor on this thing!" The motorist looked at me with a disgusted look, shook his head as if to say, "You're insane", rolled his window up, and that was that! There was no way in his mind that I was not on an electric motorized bicycle, and he wasn't having anything to do with my explanations.
I guess I was seen as being a weirdo. It used to be that the fat bikes were weird. Not so much anymore....