To ride at/on the beach or not

Kathryn here from PA, US. I am taking a vaca to a relatively small island in May where you are permitted to bicycle out on some of the beaches. I am interested in a linear (unicycle) ride near but out of the surf where the sand is firm and many people walk. So this really is an equipment-riding-advice-question, like will that endanger uni parts, and if so which. I have a brand new per Nov2020 24" Nimbus muni with the trail tire and I want to leave it home, for one reason it still has “new sneaker status.” I very recently acquired a 2011 Nimbus 26" with a 2.5" hookworm tire on it. I am thinking about taking that one for the trip. I am new to riding by about 5 months, but I am pretty comfortable on my 24 and now this 26, and though I plan to put 137 cranks on it, it has 165 on there now and may keep them on for the trip they give me good control and and an easy freemount. That will depend on how I like the 137s. Anyways, I don’t need to do many miles, I just want the experience. So looking for advice on mostly on how the tire will do on semi-wet sand (presuming there is the right conditions of wetness etc for any tire), and what not to do to avoid damaging anything and what to clean and when etc. It’s old, but not a beater, only lightly used, and I can skip the whole experience if there is any consensus that it causes trouble and is not worth it. Of course I would carry it across the dry sand to the surf! I’m also curious if a shell is likely to pop the tire. I currently mostly street ride here in my area with fully inflated tires (my pref for the things I am working on), but of course I would know to deflate it somewhat to maybe considerably. I suppose I could use some advice on that too. I have a general idea of what parts are closed in the unicycle and things like that, but I still would like the benefit of different thoughts and and views. The advice may also apply to other off-beach riding I may do bc the whole place is generally windy and salty. Thanks a bunch! Kathryn

Salt will be the biggest concern. You should be fine as long as it doesn’t get dunked. I would also rinse it with fresh water afterwards, even if it didn’t appear to get wet.

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I’ve rode my old torker unistar dx at the beach though the sand and surf multiple times over the last 10 years or so that I’ve had it (I live in Florida so there’s a lot of beach days) and it still works as good today as it did when I got. It’s been taken apart and cleaned a few times but never had to replace any bearings or anything. It has the maxxis 20x2.5 tire on it which works fine for damp sand but I have never had any luck what so ever on ANY unicycle with getting through sugar sand, which sucks because almost ALL “MTB” trails in Florida have spurts or sugar sand throughout, but unicycling at the beach is a blast don’t miss the opportunity

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Unicycles don’t like sand. It’s coarse and rough and irritating and it gets everywhere.

Just kidding. Have fun at the beach. Avoid dunking it and maybe try running a lower tyre pressure. No worries about the a Hookworm taking damage from seashells or… anything.

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Family loves the beach, I hate it. All that changed after taking a unicycle to the beach. While they’re sun bathing, I’m doing everything and anything including deep sea riding. Now I won’t go to the beach without it. They float.


If necessary, I replace the bearings after some heavy duty ocean going.

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Salt and sand get into bearings and moving parts. On a unicycle you really only have the ones on your cranks and your pedals.

If you have a nice bike I’d advise you to keep it away from saltwater. With a unicycle I’d say, “wash it off afterwards, but go for it!”, just be willing to replace the bearings or pedals latter if necessary.

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Thanks everybody for the replies; I really appreciate it. Seems like roughly a consensus to proceed with caution and/or caveats. Makes sense. I think I could get away with the 26 and staying on wet sand only, no dunks (the floating is cool though, ha!), rinsing after. Not sure I want to mess with it though. I am going mull it a little. Taking my compact suv on the ferry so I can actually have a uni and a little playboat kayak inside just for the option to use either if I remain mixed on the idea, which I might, lol. If I do it though, I’ll report back my adventure.

Wow!

Go for it. Its all about having an adventure, on what ever scale big or small . Hose it down when your done and you will be fine. I plan on doing the same this summer., Although I plan on alot if early morning board walk riding also.

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I think I will, thanks…still coming out from under my pandemic rock in steps generally, lol. I like the adventure large or small approach a lot. I still remember some excellent solo (free toy) frisbee to the wind sessions I had last year in Florida in the surf, a uni will etch even more. It’s slowly morphing into a must do, must bring.

You said “Muni” and “new sneaker status” in the same sentence. A clean, pristine Muni is a sad Muni. Take some glamor shots of it (see below) while it’s still pristine, then go get it dirty, that’s what it’s made for!

Beach: Sand and salt will do damage if not rinsed off afterwards. Try not to spray water hard, directly on the bearings. Otherwise, a good rinse should do. If you choose to go riding down soft sand dunes, be prepared to replace bearings and pedals! Example:
http://unicycling.com/things/index.htm
Of course, that was a very large sand dune and a 20" Freestyle uni…

Riding on sand:
You are correct to head for the surf line for the firmest sand. From there, it depends on how fine or coarse the sand is. Fine sand makes for a harder surface, and easier to ride on. Try to ride as straight as possible, with no sudden twists as you pedal. This will cause the tire to dig in. Don’t be afraid to experiment. Have fun!

Example: Glamor shots of my Wilder Muni, just before its first ride in January 2003. Yes! Handmade aluminum frame, Profile/Poznanter unicycle hub and Profile Racing cranks, thick cushy Kris Holm saddle, heavy but indestructable wheel with Gazzalodi tire. :slight_smile:

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I can’t believe no one is commenting on your muni, it’s awsome to see how far things have come. Personally I love it. I have to ask a few questions if you don’t mind. What is the diameter of that seat post? Did it survive your adventures And do you still own it today? And last but not least I’m curious what did that cost to have custom made in 2003 compared to what you can buy off the rack today. Thanks for showing it.

I just saw the last two posts-thanks. I can’t comment on the muni posted by johnfoss (it is really interesting to see uni’s and brands like that though that I have not seen before), but if you were asking about my beach adventure, that doesn’t happen until mid-May…

  • Seat post: 1" (25.4mm) The original seat post was a basic UDC version with a “Schwinn mount” on top (same as KH hole pattern). The top part bent on an early ride where I made a very bad hop. Then I put a rail adapter on a more sturdy post
  • Frame is fully intact, though the ones that did have problems mostly happened around the seat tube weld. It still hangs proudly in the “ridden” side of the garage, as my backup or a ride for someone who arrives without a uni
  • Scott Bridgeman of New Jersey, if I remember correctly, was making these in small batches. I ordered mine in 2002, and because I requested a red one, I had to wait for a later production run; it took about a year to get it. I really like red! I can’t remember the cost, but I think it was around $1000+ for the whole package, which came as you see it in the photos (I added my own pedals). That’s a fair price for something hand-built, as a complete unicycle

At the time, the Wilder was the only Muni being made with an aluminum frame. Very light, very rigid frame! Though not as light as my Roger Davies carbon fiber frame from 1999, which was possibly half the weight of the Wilder. The drawback with the carbon frame (reason why I had to upgrade) was that it was made before the “discovery” of fat tires. It only fit a “normal width” MTB tire of the time; around 2" or so.

The light frame was offset by the bombproof wheel; the Sun DoubleWide rim was extremely burly, and the Gazzalodi tire were made for high speed downhilling on rocks; designed to survive that at 70 kph or more; not light! That wheel barely ever needed truing after all the riding (and air travel) I did with it. I’m not a big dropper or hopper but I bashed into plenty of bumps with it!

It came with 170mm Profile cranks, which are very long by today’s standards. Generally we rode longer cranks at the time, in part because were were challenging the hardest terrain we could get over, and also because hardly anyone was using brakes yet, so you needed leverage on the downhills as well. The Wilder wasn’t designed to support any form of brake, and people would have to modify their frames to mount one. Some did, but I didn’t want to risk damaging it.

I didn’t get a replacement Muni until the bearings were completely shot. In 2016 I learned that Roger Davies was going to drive to Spain for Unicon 18, so I arranged to buy a new KH 26" from him there. Little did I know it was one of the last of those; Kris and others were already transitioning to 27.5"? My next Muni will probably be in that size. :slight_smile:

I did by shorter cranks for it, first 160s, and not long later, 145s. Those remained on it until today. A little short (especially for no brakes) but they provided some speed. You can see a very nice picture of my Wilder in Kris Holm’s Essential Guide to Mountain and Trials Unicycling, on page 167. That was taken while it still had the 170s, but I had upgraded to a Scott Wallis Death Grip handle!

It was my first 3" tire. The wider the tire, generally the better it will ride on sand or other gushy stuff. :slight_smile:

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Thank you so much, that was very interesting. I enjoyed that so much.

Soooo, the beaches at Martha’s Vineyard were indeed unicycled upon and by me! It was terrific! No problems or injuries to self or muni. I ended up taking my 26" older (used) Nimbus muni with a hookworm tire and my still somewhat brand new first muni ever, my Nimbus 24" with wildlife leopards I got in Nov2020 with a recent and consequential upgrade to a CHfusion seat (with cover) with the intention of using the former to spare the latter any possible damage. But a few weeks before the trip I got very very monogamous with and bonded to my 24" so I ended up riding it all the time and the 26er none at all (I also left a very brand new 32" custom Oracle at home which I am super in love with and just getting to know). I mainly rode on mixed surface trails, and the easier/flatter/wider ones that you find in the center south section of the island around the great ponds versus the hillier moraine sections of the rest of the island. I found an endless supply of preserves and other areas with trails that were just a little hard for me, with good challenges, but not so much that I would get hurt all away from home and out of network and everything! This doing what is just a little hard is making me enjoy this much more and learn faster than troubling myself with ridiculously rocky PA single track or whatever things that I am not quite ready for (though I am hitting and somewhat enjoying the few “easy” rated ones). I bookended the trip with camping a few nights in Connecticut’s Pachuag State Forest which also had a lot of so-perfect-for me-for-now trails as well. I rode about 2-5 hours each day (with breaks ands dismounts etc), as I also like to “look at plants,” hike, bird a little, and in a few rare random moments relax and vegetate. Oh, and eat abd sleep! When I did ride the beach, I was surprised at how well I did in both directions, I thought I would favor the higher on right direction, but I like them equally, yay! I am stoked about how I got better, and did not get hurt. Every time I rode I wore my new CH leg guards (I find them VERY comfortable), and a helmet, and never fell (not incl/upright UPDs). But one time I was riding without either on the long paved neck below Oak Bluffs well beyond tired where my mind got very drifty and euphoric–a wonderful feeling…and I swerved a little and went into a forward UPD onto very rocky asphalt, and I had a really bad unexpected noodle-soft left leg and didn’t I go into a kind of pathetic crumple, lol!! Down I went though I managed a sort side roll which can spare the knees and shoulders if down with a little aplomb, lol! Amazing I got a small left knee abrasion without skinning my super awesome marmot pants and an underlayer under them; my technical garments came to my rescue and it also shows how mean that rough kind of asphalt can be, lol, it also takes hungry bites of seat guard as opposed to just a layer like smoother asphalt, haha. But no harm no foul. One esp cool thing happened, even though I can hardly even officially muni yet and that is: I suddenly realized that I was no longer needing or wanting to put so much weight on the saddle and I realized wow, this is how I have been able to ride longer and so much more is possible and pleasurable now! So I could go on and on about the little aha’s, but suffice to say I am taking off to the New Jersey Pine Barrens for this weekend for more of the same-- easy but stunning and challenging-enough trails and amazing plants and more seafood before the pre-season is over and the people and mosquitos come out in droves. THANKS TO ALL for indulging my initial question “to ride on the beach or not.” I learned more about my muni and its parts and functioning by the responses even though given the way I carried the muni to the surf-line and rode pretty carefully, it turned out little damage was going to happen. I generally followed the edge of the foam to avoid the saltwater which itself was a fun little game. And I did rinse it at the end of everyday. It is soo nice n easy to throw two (or more lol) unis/munis into a vehicle and take off. What a cool thing I have stumbled upon here at (what I hope is) midlife. I hope to get a lot better, but what is even more pleasing to me is the idea that when I am well beyond 55, like 60, 70, beyond?, I may be able to ride like I do now. That would be very cool.

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do you have a ‘one-wheel cycle’?