Tips for Safe and Carefree Biking to the Beach

We’re at the height of beach season and what better way to get to the waves than on your bicycle. To make your trip safe and carefree, here are some tips to ride smart and ride cool! (For more summer cycling fun and advice, check out our Hamptons Riding Guide.)

Ride Smart

Bring a spare tube and tools to fix a flat — Getting a flat on your way to work is annoying, but getting stuck with one on the way to the beach is just plain cruel. Be prepared by carrying a spare tube, a pump, tire levers, and a wrench to remove your wheel.

Prevent salt-air sabotage — Sand and saltwater for you = beachy fun. Sand and saltwater for your bike = rust and grit. Ride your bike to the beach, not on it. Lock up a decent distance from the shore to avoid sand getting in your chain and gears.  This will help prevent wear and keep you from having a crunchy ride home. Give your bike a quick rinse after you return from the beach to prevent corrosion from the salty air. (Note that some bicycles, with extra-fat tires, are specifically designed for riding on the beach.)

Ride Cool

Use a rear rack or a basket to transport your beach goodies — You just gotta bring your towel, blanket, snacks, umbrella, sunscreen, more snacks, radio, book…you get the idea. Carrying your load on a rack or basket is much safer than hanging bags off your bars. Also, avoid carrying a backpack to keep your back dry, cool, and free of a heavy load.

Hydrate — This is No. 1 for all summertime riding, but it’s especially essential for the beach. You sweat a lot on your ride out and then sweat in the sun and in the water.  Get one or two water bottle cages installed on your bike and carry as much water  as you can. Water or other beverages may not be easily accessible at the beach so bringing what you need is your best bet.

Freezer tip: A tip for hot weather is to fill your plastic water bottle a quarter to half way with water and stick it in the freezer the night before you go. Then top the frosty bottles off with water right before you leave. Put one cold bottle in your cage to sip on the way and stick the other one in your picnic basket to keep food cool.

— Susan Lindell

photo: Taren Maroun flickr

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