Spring is just around the corner! We’re willing to bet that you’re eagerly looking forward to waking up early, filled with excitement for that early morning surf. As you take that final sip of coffee, you’ll hop on your trusty electric cargo bike, with your surfboard securely strapped to the side.
After scanning the horizon, you’ll be disappointed to find that there are no waves in sight. But fear not, this is not your first experience. You know that there’s another surf spot just 3 miles down the coast, and the only way to reach it is either by foot or bike.
Alternatively, you could use an ebike, which is another great option!
Fortunately, enjoying the warm weather has never been so fun and efficient. Whether it’s a dawn patrol, exploring a new area, or embarking on your everyday sandy adventure, there’s no better way to navigate the beach than with an ebike. Riding on sand requires more effort due to increased resistance, but electric bikes with pedal assistance make beach riding much more practical.
However, preparation is crucial. Sand and salt can be harsh on metallic and electrical components, and even the most pristine beaches can pose challenges for riders and their ebikes, especially if they’re not adequately prepared.
But fear not, with the right knowledge, maintenance, and care, disaster can be avoided. Our resident experts have provided some pro tips to keep in mind when riding on the beach:
1. Don’t Let Sand Ruin Your Bike’s Shine.
After every ride, thoroughly inspect your bike for any saltwater or sand buildup and remove it using a damp or dry rag. Avoid using a hose or pressure washer to clean your ebike, as the direct water pressure can cause damage to certain electrical components. Additionally, using water pressure with sand and salt can spread these particles to other areas. And remember, never ride in standing saltwater or brackish water to avoid back spray and potential damage.
2. Give Your Chain the TLC it Deserves.
Keep your chain well-lubricated, but avoid applying lubricant right before riding in sandy or salty conditions. Instead, clean the chain after your ride and apply a Teflon lubricant, allowing it to settle for approximately two hours before venturing back into the sand. Wet chains attract unwanted sand and salt buildup.
When it comes to lubrication, don’t forget about the sprockets. You can apply lubricant to a cloth and place it on the sprockets as you turn the pedals. Similarly, make sure to lubricate the nipples of the spokes on your wheels using the same method.
3. Be Prepared with Sunscreen and Bike Essentials.
Keep extra tires and tubes nearby, as sand and salt can wear them down more quickly compared to other terrains. Sharp objects like shells and glass can also be found in the sand, posing a puncture risk for your tires.
Speaking of tires, lowering the pressure can make maneuvering through sand easier. Just remember to reinflate the tires to around 20 PSI (assuming you have a fat tire bike) before returning to a hard surface. Low tire pressure on pavement increases the chances of a pinch flat.
4. Time for a Tune-Up When the Surf’s Up!
If you frequently ride on sand, it’s essential to maintain your bike more regularly. If you typically have your bike serviced twice a year, consider doubling that frequency, at the very least. A drivetrain cleaning is also recommended during tune-ups. This involves disassembling the drivetrain components to remove any unwanted sand. We advise seeking assistance from professionals who are familiar with electric bike components.
Make sure to regularly inspect the bearings in your headset, as it’s possible for sand to sneak into tight spaces. It is highly recommended to perform maintenance on the bottom bracket, which includes cleaning, removing, and greasing the threads and inner bottom bracket shell.
All of your components will experience increased wear and stress when exposed to sand and salt. Pay close attention to all moving parts and replace them if they show signs of wear. For example, particles such as sand, dirt, and salt can contribute to chain stretch, which could potentially damage the freewheel and cogs. Therefore, it is wise to replace your chain.
Additional guidelines to keep in mind:
Know the local regulations.
Many beaches in the United States prohibit bikes and motorized vehicles of any kind. If you are unsure about the rules in your area, it is best to contact your local government or law enforcement office.
Show consideration for others.
When riding along or near the beach, be mindful of avoiding areas with children or large crowds. Riding in more secluded areas can significantly reduce the chances of accidents.
Familiarize yourself with different types of sand.
It is recommended to ride on hard-packed sand rather than loose or deep sand, as this allows for better control of the bike. If you have wider tires, loosely packed or deep sand can be acceptable. Make sure to distribute as much weight as possible over your rear tire, maintain a relaxed grip on your handlebars, and enjoy the ride!
If you don’t have a bike for beach riding, there’s no need to worry! Many coastal towns offer rental shops. You can check out the rental fleets that Rad Power Bikes works with here!
Bicycling, whether with or without motor assistance, carries the risk of injury and damage. Remember to wear a helmet, abide by local bicycling and traffic laws, and practice safe and responsible riding techniques. Avoid riding in conditions that exceed your own abilities or your bike’s capabilities. Salt or saltwater exposure can cause irreversible damage to both mechanical and electrical components of e-bikes. Therefore, it is important to keep salt or saltwater away from your bike when riding in such environments. Never ride in standing saltwater. After each ride, carefully inspect your bike for salt or saltwater residue and clean any buildup with a damp or dry cloth. Additionally, we recommend consulting a reputable, Rad-certified bike mechanic for regular inspections and maintenance of your bike.