archival and resource material for human powered recumbent tricycles

What in the world is the Fat Tire Psycho Club?

Back in January 2010, as I was preparing to launch a little informative website about recumbent tadpole tricycles for adults, one of the most challenging aspects was deciding upon a name for the new site. My mind mulls over such things to the extreme, and days were lost to pondering the potential names. Should I be serious and overly professional about it? Or, should I be fun, happy, and a little bit crazy about the naming? Should I even worry about such things, I wondered, as I certainly did not expect the website to be much more than an interesting pastime for me during the winter months, never once considering that it might take off.

After much agonizing and review, I finally chose the Trike Asylum name, wanting to portray a bit of levity to the whole endeavor. One person boldly told me that the name made it sound like an insane asylum, a place for a bunch of crazies, and that I should adopt a conservative naming that lacked the negative overtones associated in so many human minds when it comes to the word asylum. My answer was that an asylum is a place of refuge, not necessarily associated with mental hospitals, although I must admit, I surely did laugh inside, thinking that yes, maybe this is kind of a crazy website, enjoying the association, and that since the site was nothing more than a casual time-waster for myself, what difference did it make anyway?

Well, the site prospered despite potential negativity about the second word of the name, and now folks talk about it as casually as any other name. It’s a household moniker in the ever evolving world of trikedom. So, as you may have noticed, I have continued with this practice of naming on the edge of social acceptability, and have done it once again, albeit a wee bit more boldly than with the word asylum. Heck, why not have some laughs and fun in life? That’s my stance, and if someone doesn’t like it, they don’t have to visit the site, after all.

To return to the question posed by the title of today’s posting, asking what the Fat Tire Psycho Club is, I will inform those who do not know that it refers to a tiny little forum I established way back in April of 2015, having recently ordered my ICE Full Fat monster backcountry bush trike. The forum was called Fatrike Forum for a long time, and just like Trike Asylum, was slow to take off. In fact, it’s still no social gathering hot-spot even today, but again, it’s kind of fun to try these things in my spare time. My intent was to form a place where all fat tire recumbent trike riders, and those interested in such things, could meet and discuss things, to ask questions, and to learn. Fatrike Forum was one of those conservative namings that really didn’t attract too much attention to itself.

Trike Hobo on his 2015 ICE Full Fat trike (50 pounds without accessories)

Then, as you may know, I ended up selling my ICE Full Fat trike in October of 2017, replacing my triangular transportation with a fat tire mountain bike. I’m now up on two wheels rather than down on three. So, I got to thinking about the Fatrike Forum, which was having a post now and then about fat tire quadcycles, that perhaps limiting it by name to just recumbent trikes might be keeping other fat tire cycling enthusiasts from joining in on all the online fun. Of course, since I now had a fattie bicycle, I didn’t want to exclude myself from the forum I had set up in the first place. The thought of expansion entered my mind! But, would the trikers feel betrayed? If I opened the site up to all fattie riders, regardless of how many wheels were rolling underneath them, would the trike members abandon ship?

Bike Hobo with his 2018 Motobecane Night Train (30 pounds without accessories)

I opted to take a chance, and I renamed the Fatrike Forum, welcoming all FAT TIRE human powered cyclists out there to become participating members. The new name was Fat Tire Cycling Club, a friendly little hangout for all fat tire cycling fans. That name lasted only a few days however, as I began to wonder if it was a little boring, and whether I should be more creative, like I was years ago with Trike Asylum. Fat Tire Asylum crossed my mind, but that was too much like Trike Asylum, and I wanted something with a new, yet crazy, slant. My mind went to work on the assignment, and I realized that the word “cycle” sounded an awfully lot like the word “psycho“, and that prompted me to look up exactly what psycho meant, because I figured that maintaining a hint of social decorum might be in order for the forum. So, I Googled the word, and as you might well suspect, a chilling movie of that name ranked high and quite frequently in the search engine results. Obviously, people who ride fat tire cycles might be a bit offended if I referred to them with that overlying connotation.

Further investigation revealed other interpretations of psycho: crazy, loony, nuts, psychotic, loco, loon, moonstruck, mad, certifiable, crazed, mental, screwy, unbalanced, unhinged, psychopathic, bananas, crackers, haywire, demented, lunatic, madman, and the list goes on and on. Most of these clearly do not describe fat tire cyclists, so was I going too far? But I liked a few things about the word: 1) It sounded so much like cycle, 2) It was a another clever play on words like Trike Asylum had been, and 3) There are some characteristics of the word that do describe fattie enthusiasts. For example, would fat tire riders be considered somewhat bananas, unbalanced, or crackers in the wider cycling community as a whole? And of course, when it comes to normal non-cycling humans, would this not be even more pronounced? Everywhere I rode my ICE Full Fat, it drew gobs of attention from folks, so it became quite clear to me that I was some kind of an oddball, misfit, or somewhat crazy person for daring to ride such a thing in public.

Besides, I like having fun in life. Life is too darn short to be stuck up with convention, of being so archaically puritan that things are boring or commonplace. I like shaking things up now and then. It worked with Trike Asylum. Everyone loved the name, or at the very least, most folks surely liked it based upon the popularity numbers, links to the site, and placing in Google searches. As a result of all this over stimulation of my limited brain, I took the plunge, and last night I again renamed the former Fatrike Forum to what is is now (see sidebar link to the right somewhere). My stance is that I think it’s funny, and others might also think so. I don’t get offended easily, if at all, laughing and having a good time as much as possible. I see the humor in things that some others might think detestable. Just my way – keeps me happy, mellow, and destined for living a lot longer than those who are agitated by anything slightly off the status quo. I have typically walked my own path, done things differently than everyone else, ridden a tricycle as an adult, and basically not worried about the consequences one way or another.

So, my three wheeled cycling friends, who may also have a two wheeled conveyance at the house, if you have any curiosity about fat tire cycling, mosey on over to the Fat Tire Psycho Club and join in with the group. It is not necessary to ride a fattie, just to be curious about the things, whether one, two, three, or four wheels. I would really like to see someone with a fat quad join in over there, post some stories, and show some photographs. The fatrikers have been posting for a while now, but I am the first fatbiker to post stuff. There has been occasional posting about the quads, but not by owners and riders. And of course, even though I did not mention it in the titling of the site, no one has posted a thing about fat tire unicycles! Is there even such a thing in existence? Wow, what a rig that would be! Click HERE to visit the club.

A fat tire mountain quadcycle is a thing of beauty (80 pounds without accessories)

By the way, yes, there is a fat tire unicyle out there already! Amazing! It’s called a mountain unicycle, and I think it might be even more challenging than a fattie mountain bicycle! Here is a photo of one I found while searching online:

The fat tire mountain unicycle (16 pounds without accessories)

ONE FINAL NOTE: Most of the members of the Fat Tire Psycho Club seem to be pretty shy. Only a small handful contribute actual stories, information, or photos to the club. Most folks there are readers, rather than posters. So here is my New Year’s wish: I’d like to see lots more participation in the club, even from people who don’t yet have a fattie. The fun is in the reading and sharing, but that should be shared evenly across the board in my opinion. Spread the word about how much fun riding a fattie of any kind is, and get lots of riders from wherever you can to join and post everything they know about fat tire cycling! See ya’ …

Fun is where the fat tires lead you!

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2 responses

  1. Sorry to say it, Steve. But fat TRIKES was the reason for joining that forum. There are a lot of very well established fat bike sites out there, many of which have featured my videos, and I have no interest in joining yet another one. I am sad to see the trike focus go, it would have been fun to see it grow.
    I’m off next weekend to the Winthrop Winter Fatbike Meetup where I will show off my trike and do some snow riding on their spectacular groomed trails. Bummer there isn’t a dedicated forum to post about the ride…

    January 4, 2018 at 11:56 pm

  2. The forum was failing due to lack of interest. Even though there were over 120 members, nearly all of them were readers of forum posts, and were not contributing to the endeavor to keep it alive. Only a small handful of members (5 most of the time, often less, on rare occasion a few more) were actually contributing information in the form of posts, and it was only through their efforts that the majority of members even had anything at all to read in the first place. Much of what was on there was from me, but I did not design that forum as a podium for myself. I wanted it to be a public meeting place for fatrike riders, which would grow and function on its own, without continual help from me. The expansion was a last ditch effort (after nearly three years of participant stagnation) to increase the volume of members, and thus member participation. It would seem apparent that without member participation, a forum (which is designed solely for that purpose) would eventually cease any meaningful reason for existence. During the past year, I seriously considered several times the idea of simply terminating the entire endeavor, as many days would pass with nary a sound from members, but went ahead and kept it live. Then, I ramped up my own postings in an attempt to jump start some opinions and postings from the mostly-silent membership, but to no avail. So 33 months into the forum’s existence, I finally decided to open it up to fat tire cyclists regardless of how many wheels they pedaled.

    Regarding your decision not to post there any more, keep in mind that all the members are still on board that have been reading it all along. That has not changed. You would have still been sharing with them, even if bikers, quad riders, and such joined in. Also realize that I have pulled from that forum for posts right here on Trike Asylum, and if you post interesting things about trikes, there is a decent chance that the information (text, photos, movies) would show up on Trike Asylum. Unlike forums like Bentrider, which is a career business for the owner, I run the forum simply as a courtesy to trikers so they can post at their heart’s desire whatever and whenever they wish, so they can communicate with each other without any involvement on my part. I am just attempting to make that forum interesting enough that folks will actually begin contributing meaningful information on a regular basis, and not just the faithful handful that have always been doing so, but a large portion of the membership. Essentially Rusty, the interest level was so low that if the forum had been a patient in a hospital, hooked up to a heart monitor, the nurse would call the doctor for fear that the patient was about to “straight-line”, in other words, expire from life. If this new idea works, great, if it doesn’t, well, not much has been lost really, as things were nearly dead as they were, so it was simply an experiment I decided to try.

    Thanks for your input on this! I wish everyone were as interested as you and the faithful members over there at the forum. Then, we’d have something that would be inviting for folks to visit (many times, I have visited that forum for days on end, with nothing new said by anyone). Bottom line: without member participation, forums have no reason to exist. See ya’ …

    steve

    January 5, 2018 at 8:10 am