Riding a bike on the beach sounds like a great way to spend a morning exercising. There is the sound of the ocean, warm weather, but cool breeze that you get to enjoy on the bike.
However, riding your mountain bike or road bike on the beach can be tricky. There are some things you should know before riding your bicycle on the sand, such as what kind of tire pressure to keep and whether it’s allowed in public areas.
We’ve compiled all that information for you here so that riding bicycles is easier than ever.
The answer is yes, riding a bike on the beach is possible and a lot of fun. The first question you may ask yourself is “can I ride my mountain or road bike on the sand?” And that depends largely upon what kind of tire pressure you’re using and what the layout of the beach is.
If you try to ride your bike with normal air pressure on the sand, it will likely sink into the sand and make it difficult to pedal and steer without tipping over.
However, riding with very low air pressure in the tires can actually help grip the sand and keep your bike stable despite sinking into the sand somewhat.
Are you Allowed to Bike on the Beach?
The answer is yes, riding a bicycle on the beach in publicly accessible areas is legal. However, riding your bike where it could be dangerous or disturb people may not be allowed depending upon local laws and ordinances. That includes riding bicycles along boardwalks that are for pedestrians only, near waterfalls, swimming pools, etc., because of safety concerns.
What’s the Best Bike for Biking on the Beach?
The best bike to ride on the beach for riding bicycles is one with very low air pressure in tires, whether they are knobby or made out of a tackier rubber. That can help grip onto the sand and keep your bicycle stable while riding it despite sinking into the sand somewhat.
This is typically most easily achieved with a fat bike or a wider tired bike. We like the Mongoose Argus for beach biking because it comes standard with 4.8-inch tires on a lightweight aluminum frame.
Adjusting Tire Pressure for Riding on Sand
The best tire pressure to riding bicycles on sand is the lowest possible. So, deflate your tires as soon as you get to the beach. The lower the tire pressure, the less the tires will dig into the sand and the more it will spread the weight of the bike rider across the sand and prevent as much sinking.
Pro Tip: We recommend having a bike tire pump on your bike or in your backpack that you can quickly inflate or deflate your tires. This means you could ride through town, deflate the tires and ride on the beach, inflate the tired back up to 40 PSI, and cruise through town to get lunch.
What’s the Best Bike Tire Pressure for Riding on the Beach
We recommend starting at around 10 PSI of tire pressure once you get to the beach. You can go up or down in pressure from there. If you are still slipping and sliding on the beach then take more air out.
If the pressure is too low and you feel that you are riding on the frame of the bike tired then add a little bit of air to the tire and try again. It doesn’t take much air to make a difference when riding on sand.
What Size of Tires Work Best for Biking on the Beach
The best size of tires for riding bicycles on the beach is wider tires or fat bikes that have a rounded, smooth tread. That way you will get better traction from your tire and not dig into the sand as much when riding them.
Fat tire bikes run tire widths that are 3.7 – 5.2 inches wide and are optimal for riding on the beach.
If you are riding a mountain bike on the beach then tire widths of 2.5 or 2.6 inches wide are better. Tire widths of 2.3 inches are not going to do as well with deflated tires.
Helpful Tips to Bike on the Beach
There are a few helpful tips that we like to share with people to make their beach riding experience optimal.
Be Mindful of the Water and Tide
If riding along water, be mindful that large waves and changing water levels exist and can sweep away both people and their bicycles if they aren’t careful! Riding bicycles on the beach can make it easy to get distracted and forget what’s happening around you.
Try Riding Your Bike at Low Tide
The best time of day to ride your bike on the beach is during low tide and we like to ride near the water’s edge. This sand is a bit more firm, helps prevent sinking into the sand, and helps get more traction on the tires.
Just don’t ride too close to the water or you will start to spray water from the tires. This will get you wet and make people nearby mad that you might spray with water.
Check Your Bike Rental Aggreement
Before taking the rental bike that you just picked up from the shop to the beach to ride on the sand, be sure to check your rental agreement.
Most bike shops near the beach will have something written in their about avoiding the beach as water and sand can be a tough combination on the health of the drive train on the bike.
Clean Your Bike Immediately After the Beach
Saltwater and sand are a bad combination for the metal and can quickly erode your chain, cranks, and any other metal component.
Be sure you clean the bike with a brush, soap, and water, or a degreaser to prolong the life of the bike and drivetrain. If the bike sits outside for too long it can have a negative effect on the longevity of the bike.
FAQ About Biking on the Beach
Yes, riding a mountain bike on the beach is possible. You will need to deflate the tires all the way or almost all of the way and keep your weight over the center of the bike while riding it.
Yes, you can ride a BMX bike on the beach. The only thing with riding BMX bikes on the beach is that BMX bikes are so small and can get stuck in soft sand easily.
Yes, riding a beach cruiser bike on the beach shouldn't be an issue as long as you don't ride over a lot of sharp objects. They even make beach cruisers with tires as wide as fat bikes which help for beach riding.
No, riding road bikes on the beach is not recommended as riding them with their skinny tires and higher center of gravity make it harder to ride on the sand.
Riding bicycles on the beach is possible and we’ve found many tips to help you ride your bicycle in the sand with low tire pressure. Some helpful tools for riding a bicycle on the beach are: using a lube that does not break down in the sand, riding during low tide near the water’s edge, and finding the right style of bike to make it fun such as a fat bike. Happy beach biking!
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