Can I Ride My Bike On The Beach?
If you live near the coast you’ve probably tried to ride your bike on the beach. How’d it go?
I bet you didn’t have much success riding a bike in the sand. Beach bike riding isn’t easy and depending on the style of bike you’re using it could be impossible.
In recent years, there are specific bicycles that are made for the beach. They feature wide tires and they perform quite well!
There are a number of things you should know before attempting to ride your bike on the beach and/or sand and in this article, I’ll share a few tips to make your attempt successful.
Riding A Bike On The Beach
Beware of Sand
Many people have crashed and burned when they hit a patch of sand. It usually occurs on the beach, but can happen in other places too.
Balance, gear, speed, and sand depth are all important criteria to consider. Riding a bike on the beach requires your ability to read the depth of sand, moisture content, and firmness.
Sand can cause more serious problems too. You might be worried about falling or moving slow, however, sand can get into bike gears and ball bearings. Once sand works its way into your bike, it can stay there for years if not properly cleaned.
Check Your Tires
The size of your tires is extremely important when riding on the beach. Thin tires have less surface area and will easily slice through sand (whether it’s deep or not).
Once your tires are “in” the sand it’s difficult to maintain velocity and difficult to turn.
Wide tires tend to do well on sand. With wide tires, the weight of you and your bike is dispersed over a large area and does a better job of staying above the sand where you have better control of the bike.
Tire pressure is also extremely important yet often overlooked. Tire pressure allows the tire to widen and gives an additional surface area to the bike.
How much benefit you gain from reducing tire pressure depends on the type of bike and tire you’re using. It’s important to note that reducing tire pressure on a road or city bike will have a minimal effect because the tires will remain thin, however, reducing tire pressure on a mountain bike can be of big benefit because the tires are wider to begin with.
Analyze the depth of sand on the beach.
Is the sand thick?
Are the granules fine like a powder or large?
Also, look at the slope of the beach.
Does sand density change on the beach when you’re closer or farther from the water?
In most cases, sand will be more compacted closer to the water. This is why you’ll see people running and walking near the shore.
If you plan a trip to the beach at low tide, there will be more damp sand that is relatively dense.
Sand near the water is your best bet for riding a bike on the sand.
A lack of speed is your enemy when riding on the beach. This concept applies whether you’re on pavement or on sand.
If you’re not moving at a significant speed it’s hard to keep your balance. You’ll find that balance is even more difficult on sand.
If you see a patch of deep sand ahead, increase your speed. It sounds counter-intuitive but your speed will give you more control over the bike and you’ll get through the sandy area quickly.
Once you enter sand, your speed will decrease quickly – you might even come to a full stop if it’s deep.
Change To A Low Gear
Another tip I used when entering sand is to move to lower gears (easier to peddle) and peddle hard. High gears to not mix with sand. You might experience your tires spinning without grips and it will take a lot of effort to make progress.
Fat Tire Bikes Are Best For Beach Sand
If you live near the beach you’ve probably seen a few fat-tire bikes. They look funny because the tires are oversized. Way oversized!
Remember when I mentioned how tire size helps increase surface area? Well, this bike uses wide tires to increase its surface area with the sand.
Although the bike looks bulky, the only difference between it and a regular bike is big tires. The frame is very similar to standard mountain bikes.
The fat tires do well on pavement, however, fat tire bikes excel on sand, rocks, and other soft surfaces.