About 20 FatBike riders, including 3 on Schlick Northpaws, met at Terry Andre State Park on the shore of Lake Michigan for some beach riding goodness.
Starting at the beach parking lot at Terry Andre State Park, we headed south along the shore near the waterline. A light Southeast wind brought us a cooling breeze that was welcome on a day when temperatures were in the high 80’s. The group rolled out easily and rode 4-5 abreast engaging in conversations and general playful tomfoolery. The group dynamics of a beach ride is one of my favorite aspects of riding a FatBike. In fact, I’ve dubbed FatBikes “The Social Bike” in part for this reason. Because of the width of the beach riders can ride together like almost nowhere else.
The sand was fairly firm and the fat tires were rolling well. One of the fun aspects of beach riding is searching for that perfect combo of sand/water that offers the least rolling resistance. It is not always right at the water’s edge where you’d expect and can vary significantly just a few feet either side of where you are riding. I don’t know if there are as many types of sand as there of snow, another surface where FatBikes excel by the way, but you will find quite a variety.
We continued south covering about 12 miles to Harrington Beach State Park where we enjoyed an adult beverage or two and the cooling waters of Lake Michigan before the turnaround and the return trip.
Now heading north, the headwind became a tailwind and average speeds picked up a bit. The feeling on the beach whipping by at close to 20 miles an hour was great but short lived as the heat and lack of headwind made it WARM! Ratcheting the speed back down to a comfortable pace we used a couple of brief stops to enjoy the breeze and play around with tire pressure. Because of the volume of air in those huge 4.0-26″ tires a few pounds of pressure change can make a real difference in the way the bike works on soft surfaces. Tony and I ended up using about 8PSI in the front and 9PSI in the rear that offered a lot of flotation and felt almost like floating above the sand.
We plan to do another beach ride in August and will announce it on Facebook as well as the schlickcycles.com website. Come join us!