Beach Riding

I remember reading a post by Chris Carey here 3 years ago with photos of him riding a Coker on the beach. At that time I wrote it off as crazy. But today, we did an interesting ride on the beach and I wonder if anyone else has tried something like it.

The beach south of Santa Cruz, California, at low tide, is amazing. There is a 10 mile section from Rio del Mar to the Pajaro River that is completely rideable (with only one dismount at a short loose section). Bruce Bundy had done this ride before on a mountain bike, but he got the idea to try it on Coker. So yesterday, we checked the tide table and found today’s low at an ideal 3pm. A bit after noon, we pushed our Cokers across the loose sand at Rio del Mar, mounted and headed south. Today was one of those perfect days, crystal clear air, blue sky, practically no wind, lots of surfers. There were even a few people in bikinis! We rode in shorts with one thin jersey. The sand is flat and hard, but still the rolling resistence makes it feels like going slightly up a hill. So our speed seemed to be 9-10mph mostly. We rode and rode, crossing three small creeks easily, then finally halted at the Pajaro River. This is probably wadeable in summer, but with all the recent rain, it’s not possible now. The odometer said 10.1 miles which we were happy with. We had a snack and a look around (watched a seagull take a tennis ball in its beak up to 30’, drop it, then peck at it, amazed that it hadn’t broken open). Then we headed back north. We checked out a campground that’s right by the beach at one spot - perfect for a fullmoon riding base later in the year!

Now that we’ve scoped this out, we plan to invite a large group of Coker riders sometime for a great experience. There’s even a shower at the end so you can wash off the salt, although the sand is pretty dry and we were not splashing in the sea water at all.

What a great day, but we screwed up and didn’t bring a camera! Sorry. Anyone else tried this?


How fast can you go on cokers? My max speed is around 10-15m.p.h on flat ground on my 20 inch, and you guys are just cruising at that speed. :astonished:

My family spend a couple hours playing on the hard pack sand around Thanksgiving 2002. We were on the Bay Ocean Spit which forms the Tillamook Bay on the Oregon Coast.

The spit is about 3-4 miles long, we have ridden the beach sand on bikes to the jetty but not the whole thing on uni yet. I rode there last month but the tide and surf were too high to ride on the beach. I was only able to get in some of the gravel/sand service road towards the jetty. I got 20 minutes out in brisk cool temps and blue sky, at which time I looked back and saw a storm cell coming right at me so I turned around to try and beat the storm. The last 1/2 of the ride back was in a rain/hail shower and head wind!

The much more pleasant experience was posted in Cokerin’ the Coast. The “Coker Crossing” pic in the linked gallery is framed in my office.

It is a great experience.

Uniextreme, with Cokers on roads, our normal cruising speed is 13-14mph on flat, 15-16mph on slight downhills. 18-20mph is as fast as I like to go - above 20mph is scary for me, but some people are comfortable going even faster. Riding on sand sucks some energy out so you don’t go as fast, but it’s a blast.


Re: Beach Riding

On Sun, 4 Jan 2004 21:28:19 -0600, uniextreme
<> wrote:

>My max speed is around 10-15m.p.h on
>flat ground on my 20 inch

10 mph on a 20" is doable, 15 mph is very high, it requires a cadence
of about 263 revolutions per minute!

Klaas Bil - Newsgroup Addict

You have to keep in mind that those of us who post on RSU are not normal. - John Childs

I’ve ridden a 29er on a shingle beach at Eastbourne. There were stones several feet deep, you had to pedal like mad to get anywhere.

Oh and a bunch of us rode on the Thames beach in London, which is great, really rocky in parts, and loose deep sand in others.

There’s a challenge thing with beaches, which is to ride from the edge of the beach, touch the water with your wheel and then ride back to the edge of the beach.

It was difficult but possible on the Thames although we had to hop on some of the rocks to do it. At Eastbourne, I could get down the beach, but I don’t think I could get back up again, I was just plowing into the shingle and pedalling loads and not actually moving. Hopping up it didn’t help really either.


I did a little beach riding this summer down in Kiawah, SC…
It is definitly a workout, especially when the winds are hitting you from the side. Riding into the wind is nice though because you can just kind of lean forward and “lay” on the wind…it’s very relaxing (not so on a bike).
Of course at the time all I had was a 20" Torker so it was slow moving…

Re: Beach Riding

Not recently. The cover of the first IUF Newsletter, which was called Unicycling Magazine, had a picture of Ken Fuchs riding on Jones Beach on Long Island in 1985. Our tires then were a little skinny for beach riding, but a Coker or fat MUni tire would make it much more comfortable.

I rode my MUni on the sant at Long Beach, WA last year, and even drew a giant Snoopy head in the sand. See below.

I haven’t tried my Coker on beach sand yet, but I’d like to join you next time!


Excellent Snoopy John! I think I saw you spell your name once? Is that right?


Well i know I could do about 10m.p.h. because I clocked my self one time. That was a very long time ago and it feels like I could go faster now so I just estimated 15m.p.h. but 263 revolutions is very high so I proabably can’t go that fast. My Mistake.

ack!!! John!!! Why did you put that picture up?? Now everyones gonna know where crop circles come from!!!


ps. good job seriously : )

Is riding on the beach bad for bearings? Ya know, with the sand and what not. I would think if any sand got into metal sealed bearings (rubber sealed prolly prevents this) that it would cause problems for the bearings.

Sand can be bad if it gets into your bearings. Salty sand is probably worse. That’s why a good washdown is recommended after any beach riding you do, probably even if it’s a freshwater beach.

But if you really want to mess up your bearings (pedal and wheel), try this (#1):

For Nathan: you’ve been around me enough, surely you’ve seen me write my name… :roll_eyes: In the sand, it might have been on this day (in March 2000, think the Santa Cruz Jetty as seen in Universe 1):


Hey that’s 8 year old Beau and me riding in that photo. I forgot about riding on the beach there. There was another time in Santa Cruz with Bruce too.

Sand is bad for bearings for sure. I had to wipe some off from around the spindle of my pedals after yesterday. The little bit of grease there was a sand magnet. Hopefully no long term damage.


I havn’t ridden on the beach, but yesterday I cokered NEXT to the beach on 17 mile drive in Monteray.

One of my favourite riding places is a pebbly beach about 15k’s from my house. I actually find it easier to ride it on the Coker because it seems to roll over the pebbles easier. My smaller wheel uni’s all seem to sink.