Mountain bike through sand faster in 3 easy steps

Mountain bike through sand with more speed and control with these three easy steps. And don’t forget to check out the Super Tips section further down.  It lists some extra tips to really fine-tune your mountain bike sand riding technique to help you learn faster.

How to mountain Bike through sand

Step 1 Loose – Loosen-up and relax on approach, think ‘thumbs’ and shift gears in advance.

  • As soon as you see the sand tell yourself to relax.  Staying relaxed and loose as you mountain bike through sand is key.
  • Keep your eyes forward, drop your shoulders and think ‘thumbs’ to loosen your grip slightly (see GoPro video below).
  • Whether you’re pedaling through, or rolling then pedaling after the sand, the time to shift to that gear is on approach.
  • Avoid shifting gears or braking on sand unless it’s a downhill slope.  Shifting and braking digs the tires and kills rhythm.

Step 2 Lift – Unweight the front so it floats, corner with a widening arc.

  • Lift or unweight the front wheel slightly so it doesn’t drag deep in the sand and steer you off course.
  • Even for small patches of sand keep your weight a little rearward just in case.
  • When pedaling, slide back on the saddle an inch or two, or push your hips rearward as demonstrated in the video below. This technique lightens the front wheel to help it float, rather than dig and drag.
  • Brake before corners and exit with a widening arc to limit front wheel dragging and avoid jack-knifing.

Step 3 Smooth – Keep loose over the bike, pedal smooth and spinning.

  • Whether you’re lifting over, rolling or pedaling through, everything needs to be smooth and flowing.
  • Stiff arms, sudden turns, pedal stomping or pushing hard gears will dig the wheel and bury you.  See video example.
  • Keep your body loose and light, on or off the saddle.  Open your legs a little to give the bike room to wiggle.
  • Pedal a gear that’s slightly spinning to help you glide across the sand.  Pull your heels back, around and up after each downstroke to deliver smooth and continuous power.

Super Tips to help you mountain bike through sand sooner

  • Wider tires offer better floatation for sand riding.  A wider tire will dig less and float better on sand than a narrower tire.  For example a 2.35 width tire versus 2.1 width tire.
  • Higher air pressures make your tires dig deeper in the sand, too. Drop your tire pressures to 25 – 30 p.s.i. when practicing to help the tread spread and aid floatation.
  • A smooth pedaling motion is a must.  Learn it here: Smooth pedaling technique for loose and slippery terrain
  • The more you practice mountain biking on soft sand the easier it is to determine how much weight to transfer rearward.  To much weight over the back wheel can make it harder to balance and steer.

The video: How to mountain bike through sand in 3 easy steps


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