Fat-biking a shoreline of sand is one of the quintessential fat-bike experiences and one that any fat-bike rider will want to experience over and over. One of the keys to the enjoyment of riding a sandy shore is that even though the route may not change the sand, and thus the riding experience, certainly does.
The Sami People are known to recognize about 300 different qualities of snow and winter pasture – each defined by a separate word in their language. (Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, Cambridge University Press, pp 973). While I haven’t uncovered a similar number of words describing sand there may be as many types and consistencies of sand as snow and each ride can uncover a new type with characteristics that have not been experienced before.
It seems like the sand right near the waterline would always be the firmest and thus the best for easy riding but this is often not the case. Over-saturation can lead this area to be almost quick-sand like while dry sand further up the shore may look soft and deep but, with our fat-tired steeds, can be firm and very ridable. One guy I rode with described “looking for the coffee”, the darker areas with lighter “foam” at the edges, and riding that edge.
As the warmer days of summer give way to cooler fall days and eventually the cold winter, don’t give up in the beach. The people leave but the sand stays. Even when the shore ice is building, the sand makes for excellent traction when mixed in with winter’s snow and ice.
Finally, if you get the opportunity, check out sand dunes, keep the weight back and let ‘er rip!
Really, the only way to experience the wonders of sand riding is to find a local beach, bring your fat-bike and ride. Over and over again!