More Sand Riding Tips

From Stephan Ottewill

The tips so far have focused on the difficulty of riding sand but I say look on the bright side: it rarely hurts when you fall off.

Ok, so I did break my arm on a tiny dune but most of the weekly spills are quite painless.

All the points mentioned by others in the group seem to be similar to my experiences in the last 3 years.

Don't worry about the back of the bike snaking - you won't even notice it after a while.

Run your tyres soft - we go at 10 on front, 12 at the rear (I normally use Michelin S12 tyres).

Avoid braking; look ahead and just cut back on the throttle. Even speeding up dunes, you can get to a level where you bomb up them but back off the throttle near the top so you stop just perched at the top. You don't always want to go flying over the top of one!

If you have to brake, try to use the rear more than the front otherwise you'll dig in.

Try NOT to brake going down a steep dune. Size it up and choose a suitable gear at the top (first or usually second) and ride down with controlled power. If you back off the power at any time, you'll dig in (gravity) and slide/topple over.

As for SPEED SPEED SPEED - yes, gun it on rutted sandy tracks and don't back off, it's the only way you'll get through but you *don't* have to race around everywhere like a loony with an XR. The trick is to be in the right gear so you are always putting down power. You'll find you can ride *smoothly* up and down the dunes or across bumpy camel grass type terrain at comfortably low speeds as long as you're not trying to do it in too high a gear.

One last thing, get into the habit of starting in second gear whenever possible. It avoids that awkward moment when you're struggling for balance, the bike's fishtailing like crazy, the engine's screaming and you're trying to find second.