BEMIDJI — Fat bike enthusiasts should plan to roll into Lake Bemidji State Park next Saturday, March 7, for the Sixth Annual Northland Fat Bike Rally, a free event put on by volunteers of the Bemidji Area Mountain Bikers in partnership with the state park.

The event, which is inclusive to riders of all skill levels, will consist of 28k and 10k courses.

Each course will feature a mass start on Lake Bemidji, a scenic climb up the Rocky Point trail and a challenging pedal through the impressive pines of Lake Bemidji State Park, according to a release from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.

However, the event is not entirely competitive; organizers hope to draw in new riders looking to try fat biking for the first time.

“We chose the name ‘rally’ to kind of open it up to everybody. We really want it to be a comfortable experience for everybody that’s just hopping on a fat bike for the first time to those people that really want to push themselves,” Jerry Smith, coach of the TrekNorth Mountain Bike team, said in an interview with KB101.

“It’s not a race, it’s just casual,” added Pete Harrison, manager at Lake Bemidji State Park.

The main event begins at 11 a.m., but riders must be present for registration and a pre-event meeting earlier that morning.

Fat bike experts will also be on site to answer any questions, so those interested in the winter sport are urged to attend.

“A lot of people think that pushing those big tires around is a lot of work…” Smith said. “They’re surprisingly efficient for their size and they’re just kind of big goofy bikes that are really fun to ride.”

Although the event is free, attendees are encouraged to make a free-will donation to the TrekNorth Mountain Bike Club and the Bemidji Composite Mountain Bike Team. The funds will help teams with the cost of logistics, jerseys, spare parts, lodging and team fees.

Riders must have 3.8” fat tires and wear a helmet. No rentals will be available at Lake Bemidji State Park, but Bemidji State University has fat bikes to rent through their Outdoor Program Center.

The Friends of Lake Bemidji State Park will also be offering snacks for attendees at the visitor center.

“I’d say probably the top 25% of people are really trying to get good times and beat each other, and the rest of the field is just trying to finish or just enjoying the ride,” Smith said.

A post race social will be held at CK Dudley’s, where winners will be awarded prizes, and guests can partake in a raffle, which includes donated products from sponsors.

“It’s just a fun event to come check out and see what it's all about,” Harrison said.

Here's a look at the schedule for the day:

  • 9:30 a.m. – Registration at Lake Bemidji State Park Visitor Center.
  • 10:15 a.m. – Mandatory rules meeting at Lake Bemidji State Park Visitor Center.
  • 11 a.m. – Event starts on Lake Bemidji.
  • 2 p.m. – After-event social with BBQ social, raffle and awards at C.K. Dudley’s, 6405 Bemidji Ave. NW.

Note: A state park vehicle permit ($7/day or $35/year) is required to enter the park.

For more information on The Northland Fatbike Rally check out the event page on Facebook at Facebook.com/BemidjiMTB or by contacting the Lake Bemidji State Park office at 218-308-2300 or peter.harrison@state.mn.us.