Introduction- Can You Ride a Mountain Bike on the Beach?
Some beaches forbid bicycles of all kinds. However, even for those which do not forbid mountain bikes, sandy areas, patches, or sections would also be called “crash spots” due to having very little traction.
If you are a dedicated biker, you might have brought your mountain bike to the beach in the past, and experienced falls. A biker thus has to master smooth sand riding to become a better cyclist. Otherwise, you will not be able to enjoy the occasional beautiful sandy views.
Here’s everything you need to know about riding on soft sand like a pro!
- As with road or trail riding, wear a helmet for protection
- Use a gear that allows you to spin at a medium-high tempo. Approximately 90 revolutions per minute (rpm) is good as it allows you to spin within control, and is not too high to wear you out quickly.
- Replace regular wheels with wider ones. If you are riding in a particularly sandy area, you might even need to replace your wheels – for example, going from 2.0 to 2.3. Wider wheels offer more traction and a better ride.
- Your tire pressure should be decreased a little. Also, as the surface of the tires increases, they are less likely to sink into the sand.
- Use a PTFE chain lube a few hours before your ride. Chain lube evaporates quickly, preventing the sand from sticking to the chain. But do not apply lubricant just before riding. If your chain is new, degrease it before applying lubricant to make sure it sticks.
- Do not brake suddenly, as your bike will lean forward, and you might end up flying over the handlebars.
- Try to use only the rear brake. You will be able to slow down gently
- Avoid making sharp turns. Instead, plan wider turns for safety.
- Ride at a fast but steady pace. If you ride too slowly, you might get stuck in the sand.
Other riding tips
- Be very careful when going from a compact track to a sandy area. Your bike will quickly slow down when it hits the sand. To avoid hovering over the handlebars, move slightly behind the bike’s center of gravity.
- Approach a small patch of sand with speed. But just before entering, step on the pedals. Lock your knees, shift your weight back, extend your arms, and place your butt behind the seat. Look straight ahead and stand up straight.
- Use consistent speed on larger patches of sand. When you start to slow down, shift your weight forward so that you can sit up on the back of the seat. Start pedaling and keep your style consistent while maintaining speed.
- Look for the smoothest possible path but adjust it if necessary. As long as you keep going in the right direction, you will be fine.
- If the course is not straight, continue to steer by rotating your hips and shoulders, thus shifting your body weight.
- Consider getting a cruiser bike or a bike trainer which simulates sandy conditions, if you ride on beaches regularly
Bottom Line- Riding a Mountain Bike on the Beach
Riding mountain bikes on the sand is not easy, but it can be done. Make sure to follow the tips above for a pleasant ride. If you are not confident, make sure to ride together with another biker who is experienced with riding on the sand. Finally, make sure to comply with all local laws– do not ride on beaches which explicitly forbid doing so!