Riding through Thick Sand

Spinning – is it for REAL cyclists ?
November 28, 2014
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Riding through Thick Sand

A single grain of sand can go unnoticed, but when it assembles together it can begin to conspire against you.

The type and consistency of sand can vary tremendously depending upon environmental factors, and require different riding techniques. If it is a lot of sand (more than a kilometer) it will be worth your while to deflate your tyres considerable for better traction and to allow you to ‘float’ over the sand rather than cut through it.

Usually, in loose or deep sand, it is best to stay on your seat and keep your weight back on the back part of the saddle. The idea is to keep your front wheel light so that it doesn’t plow under and throw you off the bike! It is important to keep your body relaxed, and let the front wheel float a bit, but try not to let it turn or wander off course. It is advisable to keep up your momentum, have even pedal strokes, and not make any sudden movements.

Try to steer by gradually leaning your body and not turning the handlebars. Try NOT to apply too much power to the pedals as this will break the surface tension on the sand and cause your back wheel to dig in, in turn causing you to hold tighter on the handlebars and this will send the bike off line. Try and maintain an even pedal stroke, spinning is good, but not too chaotically. Keep it smooth!!

Some sand may be impossible to ride through regardless of your technique (try riding on the deep sand of the beach!)

As a last resort, you can always stand up and pedal to use the weight of your body to generate force, but this is usually a last resort and you will most likely soon come to a stop! If you encounter a lot of sand, or like to ride in the sand dunes, use the widest tyres your bike will accept to allow for maximum floatation.

Be prepared to pedal HARD to keep going >> at least if you wipe-out you will have a soft landing…