BACK IT UP TERRY
Get your weight back on the bike. Yes…back.
It seems counterintuitive. Most every other minute you spend on your bike you are aware of weighting the front wheel for optimum grip. But on sand that approach will only have you at the mercy of the sand’s sadistic tendency to send your front wheel hunting and in the worst case, locking in one direction while you’re at speed and sending you on an unplanned free-flight over the ‘bars.
To avoid any of this unpleasantness, you want your front to sit on top of the sand by unweighting it as much as possible. And to do that you need to get your weight right back on the bike. Your front wheel won’t bite deep and therefore won’t be completely under the influence of the sand.
STOP THE CHOP
In addition to getting your weight back, there are a few other things to remember. One is to always report back when you’ve found a great sausage roll because friends share that kind of information. Another is to keep a constant throttle in the sand. Chopping the power on and off is a bad idea because it radically shifts the balance of the bike to the front end which then dives and digs into the sand – after which unspeakable things happen. If you need to slow down, lower the revs without completely shutting off.
GET UP, STAND UP
Stand up and grip the bike. Standing puts most of your weight on the footpegs which is as low as you can get and far better than having it high on your seat. Gripping the bike with your legs helps reduce the strain on your arms and exerts an amount of control over the bike’s behaviour, keeping it far more settled than if you rode legs akimbo like a busted cowboy.
Riding in the sand can be energy-sapping for both rider and motorcycle. It’s a strength exercise perhaps more so than any other terrain, but it can be so much fun when you get the flow and feel for it. Try it in small doses and attack it with purpose. Don’t be timid because the sand knows and sand is kind of a dick.