Southwestern Ontario got its first real taste this past weekend: about 15 cm to 20 cm of snow. So, I hauled out the fat bike (Salsa Mukluk) and away I went. Now, I'm not a technical rider, and I don't have MTB experience, but I seemed to do okay last winter, including up and down a local hill/park popular with MTB riders for practice.
This past weekend was different. It was much tougher on the side streets that had yet to be plowed: there were deep furrows from car tires. I managed to make it out to the same local park I mentioned above, but surprisingly, but could not get enough traction in the deep snow to ride in the field. I was finding it difficult to get the right gear. And if I had to stop because the snow was too thick to cycle through, I often couldn't get restarted. For what it's worth, the conditions were bad enough that most cars were going slow, and several of them were fishtailing.
I had both tires at about 9 or 10 psi (kind of hard to measure that accurately). I think 8 to 10 psi is the recommended for most fat biking in snow/sand. Because the tires are so fat, it seemed like they could not cut or bite into smashed up or furrowed snow. On the other hand, they float better so you don't sink or get knocked out of track that easily. It almost seems I should have a narrower, studded tire up front to bite, and a fat tire in the back for snowy urban scenarios.
So I don't know if I'm doing something wrong, or if I just hit the limit of what's possible.