I took the Fatbike out for another beach journey today, in spite of the fact that it was the 4th and beaches were likely to be crowded. This time I decided to take my camera so I could share a little of the riding I am able to do with this bike.
Time for a little gear talk first. I have seen threads with people looking for racks that will carry the Fatbike. This is the Saris Cycle-on. It needs a couple of velcro loops to keep the bike tight in emergency manuevers as I found after an emergency stop, but it hold the bike securely once you do that. It holds road bikes, 26ers, 29ers, etc. with ease and no reconfiguration. And when I fold it up I can still open my hatch.
This is a Fatbike, not a Pugsley, it just has a Desalvo decal kit on it. This one is adorned in Yeti Blue paint. It is front brake-less, because they are just plain unnecessary in the sand. Stopping on level sand is not a problem. Keeping moving forward is. For trail rides I have a front brake at the ready. It is also front derailleur-less at the moment. It has a 2x9 drivetrain with 20/36T chainrings, and manual shifting in the front. I could put a front derailleur on, but after riding it like this for a while, it has grown on me. In the sand, all I need is the small ring. Once I hit the pavement, all I want is the bigger ring. I think it would use the front derailluer about 3 or 4 times a ride. Wet beach sand is such nasty stuff it gets in everything. Removing the front derailleur and brakes makes for that many less places for sand to get into. This would be a great application (and test of the seals) of a Rohloff, but I will leave that to someone else to try.
Other details: I plan to make this my "guest bike" someday, so I put a VRO stem and I Beam saddle on for adjustability. In her current state she weighs in at a sprightly 28.75 lbs.
It is in line waiting to get into the state beach parking lot. I could park elsewhere, but I love parking down with all the surfers, watching them surf, and talking about the bike, which always attracts many questions (OK, I am a sucker for that, but at least I admit it).
The surf was busy today, and the recreational beaches crowded. The remote beaches...well see below. It does not take much to prop the Fatbike up in the sand. I put 8 psi in the tires. If you bounce the fork like you would a supension fork to see how it feels, the tire bulge out - a LOT. Kind of scary really, but if you ride smooth on the sand, it works well.
Ahh, those darned crowded Southern California beaches. This is my secret beach (well, kind of), and I always have it to myself, no matter when I am out here, even on the 4th of July. It is like riding your mountain bike in an area with lots of casual hikers. After a few miles the hikers all thin out. There are lots of footprints here, but they don't go far. The cliffs are stunning in person, 40-80 feet high, and they are my constant companion when I ride along this beach.
A cliff arch close up. There are many interesting things to see in these cliffs. Other arches, collapsed sections, deep inlets, etc.
Ahh, but the beach is not all a smooth ride. These rockbeds are both tricky to ride and a lot of fun once you get good at them. The tide moves them around, so they are always different. Farther down the beach where the lifeguards patrol the beach in pickups, you can cheat and follow their treads in some places. Sometimes the best line is right along the surf, sometimes the line is right where the rocks end and the sand starts. They vary greatly in size, are always off camber as a group. The technique for these babies is the same as the sand. Spin, spin, spin! You can feel how spinning causes your rear tire to float over stuff, and how hammering makes it sink it. Instantly. Weight forward helps, getting on the nose of the saddle is neccessary when you get in a tough spot, and no sharp steering is allowed, or you will auger the front tire into the soft stuff.
Just a quick gizmo shot - a tide watch. It shows I am out at low tide, which is good. High tide can be dangerous - some beaches disappear altogether if the tide is high enough, there are signs of it reaching all the way to the cliffs leaving you nowhere to go. Falling tide is easier than a rising tide, because the waves are not pushing farther up the beach. I have gotten caught in waves crashing up on me as I ride, it is suprisingly easy to take a few waves across your bow as you ride, but it is to be avoided for the sake of your equipment if nothing else. Waves always leave a deposit of sand in your chain and it has to grind its way out for a few revs. I have tried a few chainlubes, not an exhaustive search, but White Lightning Race Day has been my favorite so far.
After passing the rockbeds, several crowded beaches, including a clothing optional beach, I am rewarded with a view like this for half an hour or so, never seeing a soul. The view is like this the whole time, utterly unreal. A school of dolphins followed me, or vise versa, for a while, frolicking in the waves and even doing a little surfing. But I was not fast enough with my camera, alas.
This beach is empty for two reasons. At some point, it changes from State Park to Marine Base. For the most part, the base is closed, but more on that later. And getting here is just plain difficult. There is no road or parking up on those cliffs or anywhere within miles at this point, and there are no trails cut down the cliffs along this section. These cliffs continue uninterrupted, towering over the sand like sentinels, silent guardians watching over it. Only those with the ability to traverse the beach quickly and easily can experience these places.
This section of beach is called "gold beach". I did not capture it well, but this picture is as close as I could get. The sand must be full of fools gold/pyrite, or something like it, it sparkles like crazy with a gold color.
This is red beach, and it is on the Marine Base. On many weekends, the Marine Base opens the beach to civilian RVs and fishing. And beach biking, too, I presume. At this point I turned around and went back. The entire ride (photo sessions and all) took about 4 hours. These sand rides kick my butt. They are like all climbing, no descending, and they demand good pedaling technique, which causes them fatigue my legs in a different way from other cycling, hopefully in a good, cross training kind of way.