Family fatbiking in Porthcawl

You can go pretty much anywhere on a fatbike, but it's hard to beat riding in joyous circles on an empty beach in the weak winter sun.

A child on a bike, an adult walking and a dog are silhouetted on the wet sand of Porthcawl at low tide.

Corum said he had wondered whether to bother opening his shop that morning; it was still term time in Wales and distinctly off-season for surfing and cycling in Porthcawl. Luckily for us, he had decided to show up.

We hired a couple of Corum’s fatbikes and set off along the beach, the low tide lending us acres of mirror-wet sand to use as our playground. We rejoiced in the freedom it gave us. With the beach largely empty we could head where we liked, turn in looping circles and see where our new, big-tyred buddies wanted to take us.

The bikes were our moon buggies, carrying us over a landscape we’d never before been able to ride. We floated over soft sand, emboldened to experiment and see what terrain we could conquer next: bumping down slipways, splashing through rock pools, and slithering across a dune. The only penalty for a mistake would be getting sandy and wet, but this didn’t happen; the bikes were too stable for that.

Before we knew it, our time was up and we headed back to the shop as fatbiking converts. If we lived here, we decided, we’d do this all the time. Instead, our day trip across the border to the seaside was coming to an end. Carried away by the unseasonal February sunshine, we bought ice creams and watched the tide come in to reclaim the beach.

By the time we left, the sun was going down and the tide had retaken its beach, boiling against the sea wall in the soft evening light. It was a day we’ll remember for a long time.