OFF-ROAD on SAND

I thought I would take the Transalp for a run along the beach, a good chance to practice off-road riding on sand.

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Because riding on sand is so difficult I researched expert advice from WWW.ADVRIDER.COM, basically you must lean back on the bike keeping most of your weight as far to the rear as you can, plenty of throttle in second gear to keep the front end up so that the front wheel ”Aquaplanes” over the sand. Allthough ADV is mostly a BMW website the riding advice is the same for all bikes.

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All the various experts say that steering accurately in sand is impossible, you must not over correct the front wheel but  let it go where it wants, within reason, this was all true, you can only steer very gently with the handle bars or shift your body weight from side to side to steer in a rough direction.

Also do not use the front brake ever, as soon as you throttle off, even slightly the nose comes down and the front wheel starts digging in throwing you around in all directions. I found all the ADV advice to be true, normal sand was not a problem for the Transalp, even without off-road tyres fitted it was fine in the sand.

After nearly an hour of riding around in the sand and small dunes I came upon a stretch of dark coloured sand, I sank straight in, 3 meters from the edge of the dark sand I was stuck !

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You can tell from the depth of my footprints just how unnaturally soft this dark sand was, no problem I thought to myself, I’m a big tough Adventure rider (Only in my head) I can get the bike out !!  The experts say when you are sunk in deep, lay the bike on its side and fill the trench in or reposition the back wheel by sliding the  bike along whilest on its side. So I lay the bike on its side, thank God for hard panniers, but being alone and the sand so soft I could not slide the bike at all, so I filled  the trench in and stamped the sand down hard.

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I then picked the bike up and tried again but she just sank down almost immediately. I layed the bike down and picked it up 3 times in total,quite proud of myself because 200kg is not easy, but 3 times  was enough, I was knackered !  I could see two men in the distance about 400 meters away, I thought they were fishing but when I trudged over  there they were just a couple of low life drunks, so I walked back along the beach to my stricken Transalp and happened to see two divers come out of the sea ahead of me.

I walked the 300 meters over to them and they were more than helpful, true Turkish hospitality. With one man lifting and pushing on each pannier the bike was soon moving towards the firmer and normal light coloured sand,  she was away under her own steam the very moment we left the dark sand and we whizzed up a small dune to safety.

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If there is one good thing about off roading in sand, it is that it really cleans your chain and sprockets, mine are shining like new now !!

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I collapsed in exhaustion after thanking the two divers and had to have an ”emergency cigarette”  before I could get my breath back, I sat looking at the bike thinking that perhaps a set of monster sized knobbly tyres might be fun !!

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~ by travelswithmymotorbike on December 21, 2008.

2 Responses to “OFF-ROAD on SAND”

  1. Why didn’t you call us 🙂 we can ride together on sand. Maybe next time.

  2. Shall we try this summer…Patara beach or Dalaman beach ?

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