Fat-biking: the miracle solution to cycling on sand

Peter Kimpton ascertains a bike thats perfect for riding on the beach and explores the Glamorgan coast near Porthcawl

Smooth tarmac to rough, potholed roads, gravel lines to mountain paths, cyclists encounter good and bad surfaces, but rarely do we ride on sand. Most motorcycles would get stuck and confiscate up in seconds. Beaches may be free of traffic, but they are the last residence “youre thinking about” for a bicycle travel. Yet a fat-bike flouts the laws of traction and ache, and allows you to explore thousands of miles of seashore in a fraction of the time it would take to do so on foot. But where excellent to try it?

Porthcawl, near Bridgend station on the coast between Cardiff and Swansea, is a surprisingly underused and beautiful beach. It’s the nearest lengthy channel-surf beach to London and various other metropolitans, lies near world-class mountain bike trails, is home to the rarest flower in Britain, and was a cinema place for Lawrence of Arabia. And for one weekend a year, it’s the surreal dwelling to 35,000 Elvis devotees.

But here I strove other ways to be all shook up. Porthcawl is ideal for exploring miles of unpopulated seashore on two wheels. Hire a fat-bike and feel like you are journeying a tractor. With their massive wheels and tyres, “youre feeling” you should be wearing a gold chain- they’re the badboy gangster of the big, showy bike category. And for a regular superhighway cyclist, they are also strangely counterintuitive. Tyre pressure is good placed low-pitched: sometimes as low-toned as 6psi( most road bicycles are run to at least 80 psi ), and with very low gearing, the experience is a bit like rolling on a cushiony balloon across all sorts of rough surfaces.

Fat-biking along beaches near Porthcawl in Wales allows you to tackle various categories of surfaces with relative simplicity. Ascribe: Peter Kimpton

This felt strange at first, but once I obtained a comfy low gear, apart from stopping on some exceedingly steep slice on fine-sand dunes, the wheeling fight on sand and stone genuinely toils. Disappearing above 15 mph is difficult, but with so much unspoilt coast, it’s a great space to explore. Merthyr Mawr sand dunes, lying just behind the beach, are also known as the South Wales Sahara due to the Lawrence film, and plows a bumpier 800 acres. Proceeding up some of its gradients was less easy, and expected a little bit of moving, but a plow was in store at the top.

Peter Peter Kimpton, fat-bike in hand, on top of the’ Big Dipper’ Merthyr Mawr sand dune Photograph: Peter Kimpton

Our guide, Corum Champion from Porthcawl Bike Hire, took us up to its highest point, and second largest dune in Europe, known as the Big Dipper, from which you can try a slippery but enjoyable drop-off 😛 TAGEND

Fat-biking down the’ Big Dipper’ on Merthyr Mawr dunes near Porthcawl, Wales, a location for the 1962 movie Lawrence of Arabia. Credit: Peter Kimpton

Unless “youre planning to” journey on beaches daily, bicycle hire( from PS10 an hour or PS35 for four hours) is the best option, as fat-bikes requirement regular upkeep to keep their chains and paraphernaliums clean and oiled. Punctures weren’t a number of problems. The Fat-bikes’ thick-witted tyres, at least in one afternoon, seem impervious to sharp-witted stones, shale and pebbles.

Gliding along the coast on various categories of faces with a sea breeze surely offers a refreshing alternative to impediment metropolitan streets or sharing country roads with cars. If you’re lucky, your steer might help you find specimens of the rare fen orchid. We recognise it.

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