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Old 03-29-12, 08:27 PM   #1
Pete In Az
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Riding through sand.

Ok... I've "graduated" from dirt roads to single track, sort of.

The problem I am having, other then dodging cat-claws, is trying to ride through sand. I am running 2.15" tires. I was trying to ride up a slight incline and started bogging down, so, I stood up. That didn't work. The first time I've spun my rear tire, that was weird.

My questions are: Is my technique wrong? My tires too skinny for my fat butt? If I let some air out of the rear, will that help? I'm running around 50 psi at the moment. Should I get a fat tire bike and put sand paddles on the back?

There are a number of places around here that are sandy, so any help would be appreciated.
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Old 03-29-12, 09:35 PM   #2
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As far as spinning the rear, that is something you just get used to. The most basic advice would be to lean back to get the rear tire more traction, and also focus on being smooth with your pedal strokes!

You'd be surprised what you can get through with just your normal tires by simply getting used to balancing your weight where it needs to go, and being smooth!
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Old 03-30-12, 04:31 AM   #3
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Try dropping your pressure to ~40psi, and downshift if necessary so you can stay in the saddle.
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Old 03-30-12, 07:14 AM   #4
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I'm hovering around 205lbs and I generally run around 38psi unless I know I'll be on terrain that won't pinch me out. Then I'll drop it to 35psi so I can rail harder with the traction.

Go with a 2.35" tire with some paddly (wide) knobs like the Kenda Nevegal or Excavator. Lean back far enough to balance the traction:wheelie point. Be happy with 50% success rate.
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Old 03-30-12, 08:56 AM   #5
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Sit down, drop the pressure, down-shift and spin?

Ok, I'll try that. Thank you.

As far as wider tires, I'm pretty much maxed out on tire width with this frame.

I still think this with sand paddles on the back would be a hoot:



Do "they" make sand paddles for bicycles?
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Old 03-30-12, 09:00 AM   #6
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I always say pedalling through sand is a black art.

Some days is cake and then other days I am stuck or simply falling.
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Old 03-30-12, 10:23 AM   #7
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That Surly Beast is a monster! I run @35 psi and weigh 225. Nevada sand should be like yours. Velociraptors are popular sand tires. The front and rear are different patterns. They roll a tad slow but are good climbing and sand tires.

Be grateful for sand, it will make you strong for regular riding, improved balance and power. Personally I hate it and look for any thing solid to ride to get away from it. I am old and lazy.
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Old 03-30-12, 01:46 PM   #8
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Sand is one of my least favorite things to ride in. When I have to though I click it into a real easy gear and just spin as fast as you can. Let the bike do its thing in the sand. I don't lean back all that much. Maybe thats something I should try as well. When I have a good amount of speed going and I think I can just shoot through it, I lean way way back and let the bike float right over it.

Maybe some of that will help. If not, find a new trail!
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Old 03-30-12, 02:03 PM   #9
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when it gets really sandy, i just get off and walk. i have nothing to prove. walking is ALWAYS an option.

2.1 tires are thin. around here, we like the 2.4 in front and 2.2 in back. i would at least have a 2.2 in sedona.

climbing is a technique, riding through sand is a technique, combing them makes both more difficult.
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Old 03-30-12, 09:12 PM   #10
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Reading this thread explains why that trail didn't look very used. I saw quite a few hoof prints from cattle, but I don't recall seeing a single tire track.

It was only bad for about fifty or seventy-five feet, so, I'm going to go try it again. The part I really didn't like was the wash-board dirt road I ended up on. Next time I think I'll go out and back on the trail.

I wonder if it would be better a day or two after rain.

Off for more practice.
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Old 03-30-12, 10:23 PM   #11
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Best way to ride sand: pick the high line out of the soft stuff, weight over the back wheel and steady on the throttle . . .

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Old 03-31-12, 10:03 AM   #12
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A good rain always washes the sand to the bottom of the trail. You can find solid surface to make the trail better. BUT if you are trying to bomb through a wash, good luck. It just firms up a bit. Doesn't last for long.

Curses to those motorcycles who keep tearing up my single track and filling it with sand!
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Old 04-02-12, 12:08 AM   #13
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Can't blame that on me - - I was doing that long before MTBs were a twinkle in anyone's eye. Only thing out in the E. Wash. desert at the time was us, the rattlesnakes and the jackrabbits.
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