The evolution of the fat bike

Biking in the snow in Alaska has a history dating back to at least the Klondike Gold Rush. It was the beginning of the Victorian bicycle boom and some gold prospectors coming to Alaska and Canada went with bikes for transportation instead of investing in a much more expensive dog team. One route, the 400-mile trail from Dawson to Whitehorse, well-maintained by dog-sled travel, saw at least 250 cyclists in a single season during the gold rush. Bikes were a single fixed gear with skinny tires. While road bikes changed over the decades, the first new type of bike didn’t evolve until the mountain bike hit the trails in the late 1970s. Within ten years of their introduction, Alaskans were tinkering with the mountain bike design to allow better travel over snowy surfaces. Our guest for this show, Greg Matyas, followed this evolution of the bike from the road to the trails to the snow. He is the owner of Speedway Cycles and the changes he made while developing his fat bike, called the Fatback, earned him the moniker “father of the modern fat bike.”

HOST: Lisa Keller

GUEST:

Greg Matyas, father of the modern fat bike and owner of Speedway Cycles

LINKS:

BROADCAST: Thursday, January 16th, 2020. 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m. AKT

REPEAT BROADCAST:  Thursday, January 16th, 2020. 8:00 – 9:00 p.m. AKT

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Eric Bork, Alaska Public Media
Eric Bork, or you can just call him “Bork” because everybody else does, was the Audio Media Content Producer for KSKA-FM. He now produces and edits episodes of Outdoor Explorer, the Alaska focused outdoors program. He also maintains the web posts for that show. You may have heard him filling in for Morning Edition or All Things Considered and can still find him operating the sound board for any of the live broadcast programs. After escaping the Detroit area when he was 18, Bork made it up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where he earned a degree in Communications/Radio Broadcasting from Northern Michigan University. He spent time managing the college radio station, working for the local NPR affiliate and then in top 40 radio in Michigan before coming to Alaska to work his first few summers. After then moving to Chicago, it only took five years to convince him to move back to Alaska in 2010. When not involved in great radio programming he’s probably riding a bicycle, thinking about riding bicycles, dreaming about bikes, reading a book or planning the next place he’ll travel to. Only two continents left to conquer!