Of all the surfaces to ride a bike on, sand is definitely among the most challenging. It comes down to two crucial factors: riding technique and the right bike. The first thing to know is that you need fairly wide tires. No matter how good a bike rider you are, a road bike will not cut it. More than likely, you will soon be tossed from your bike if you try to ride in the sand with skinny tires.
When considering the best bikes for sand, there are three main choices: hybrids, cruisers and fat tires. An added benefit that has only been around recently, is the option to get an e-bike in these styles. This gives you a shot of power from a motor and a battery when needed. Plus, since riding in the sand is tough on the legs, the power boost is often quite welcome.
Choosing the Bike
The right bike depends upon where you expect to ride and your style of riding. If you are looking for comfort and enjoyment and expect to stay near the beach, you will want to focus on the best electric beach cruiser available. These vintage bikes come in many colors and are equipped with either a battery-powered 250-watt or 500-watt rear hub drive electric motor.
These bikes are not designed for hard-core riding in the sand, but they will provide enough stability to power through sandy patches. Most electric cruisers have features that make for an enjoyable time at the beach:
- Tires that are 2.125 inches wide and provide a cushioned, stable ride
- Motors that allow for operation in full electric or pedal assist modes
- Front and rear disc hand brakes for controlled stopping
- Upright riding position for less strain on arms and back
Many cruiser models fit riders from 5 feet to over 6 feet tall. To get the best results, a proper fit is essential. Cruisers are solid choices for inexperienced riders and those who have been away from riding for a while.
Perfecting the Technique
Riding in the sand takes some practice. As with most types of riding, you want to relax your body and allow your arms and legs to move naturally with your bike. A firm grip helps, but there is no need to grab ahold too tightly. Once you hit the sand, don’t panic and don’t expect the bike to proceed in a straight line.
Try to let the bike shift and move around you. A few other tips can come in handy:
- Resist the urge to brake or shift too often
- Don’t force the bike through the sand
- Pedal or use the motor consistently
- Put one foot down on the sand if you lose balance
If you find you love the challenge of sand, a fat tire cruiser bike might be in your future. These bikes ride on 4-inch wide tires and they handle everything from sand to snow. They are great for riding along lengthy sections of the beach.
There are many different types of bike riding. Now is a good time to find the bike that fits you and the places you love to ride.