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Riding on Sand & Other Offroad Tips?

Discussion in 'Adventure/Enduro' started by DeeCubed, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. For reasons I’m no longer able to explain :? I’ve signed up for a two week offroad riding expedition of the Canning Stock Route. Now I haven’t ridden offroad for over twenty years and the trip crosses four deserts: the Gibson, Great Sandy, Little Sandy & the Tanam :shock: I reckon I need some pointers for offroad riding :) Any and all advice appreciated :!:

    For those unfamiliar with the Canning Stock Route, this is what Wikipedia says about it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canning_Stock_Route
  2. What are you going to be riding?

    I used to do lots of sand riding and I loved it. Got bitten badly at 90kph and broke an ankle and clavicle so I haven't been game to go back.

    You can't ride sand safely at low speed. In fact, riding in deep desert sand between about 30kph and 60kph is positively dangerous because the bike keeps swapping between ploughing through and surfing on the top. Things smooth out above 70kph.

    You need the power on most of the time, even when slowing down else the front digs in. You steer with the throttle, and if you try to resist the bike moving around beneath you you'll get very tired very quickly. It is terrifying the first time you do it, but just let the bike move around as it wants to.

    You'll either love it or hate it!
  3. TTR250 I think but maybe something bigger, not sure yet.
    Oooh, don't fancy that :cry: ...
    Great advice thanx. If I hate it from day one I get to hate it for two weeks :!: :shock:

    I need to get some moto-X boots as well. With a bit of luck I'll find something 'dual-discipline' that I can use on my 1200 Bandit as well.
  4. Quite possible, as is a DRZ400. Both are long lived things that are or were popular with the tour operators. Both good jiggers.

    I recommend not doing whatever I did, but I never managed to work out the ankle bit since when I stopped moving my feet were not touching the ground.

    I SERIOUSLY recommend buying good boots. Don't think you can skimp, because there's every likelihood that you'll be coming off more than once. However, I would have thought that the tour operators would have hire boots available, or be able to point you to someone who does if you didn't want to buy. They couldn't operate with people turning up in Blundstones.

    If you end up hating it you're doing it wrong - amazing country I'd love to see. I've only gone exploring up in NW Victoria.
  5. D3, have you got "Long way round"?
  6. No Rob, is that the Ewan Macgregor thing?
  7. Yeh mate. They do quite a bit of sand training and riding... actually in both vids... but longway round is a better watch.
  8. MacManMike has pretty much covered it for you. A couple of comments though.

    First, if you ride too slow it feels like you are surfing with a rudder on the front of the board, and the front is too heavy and wants to dog into every wave you hit.

    When you get up to speed, with the power on, the front skims over the sand, and you steer with the rear wheel, power, and your body movements.

    Try to avoid taking a line through the sand that rises and falls, such as through "woop de doos", as the front wheel often digs in and pulls sideways, or off-line. Then you fall over. So steer around the side of holes in the sand so that you are travelling at the same level all the time. Unless of course the path you are taking is deliberately up or down hill, like when you are riding over sand dunes.

    Also, try to take a line that avoids travelling too close to anything that would hurt when you hit it, like rocks and trees. You will fall off, and you want to land on sand. When you do, think quick, tuck and roll. Avoid at all cost falling forward on your hands, because that's how you break a wrist. It can also really hurt if you fall into a sand bank and therefore stop suddenly. Roll if you can.

    It is still lots of fun, but very tiring. I did more riding on loose medium courseness gravel in creek beds, which rides similar to sand, but gives you a slightly firmer surface with an unpredictable base. (Sometimes you just sink in.) Some of the most fun riding I ever did. Wrecked the chain and spockets though. :roll:

    Actually on the CSR I suspect that you will find plenty of mud as well as sand. These has been some rain in central WA recently. The sand you see will probably be mostly following well worn tracks criss crossed by many other well worn tracks. In this case, your front wheel will want to track in previous vehicle's (probably 4WD) tracks. This can make steering interesting. :eek:

    Finally, we expect to see photos of you on the bike with large sand rooster tails. :LOL:
  9. Ah, I thought it was a book. Will check out Borders tomorrow for the vid. Thx for that.
    I’m a last minute entrant so there’s nothing in my size. Besides, the long-haired General has given permission for me to spend some dough on some motoX boots! :LOL:
    Rod’ your additional stuff’s gold thanks v much. Good call with the mud glorious mud I hadn’t even thought of that.
    Yeah, I hope you don’t get to sign my plaster cast! :!:
  10. Nicely put, and pretty close to the sensation. The TTR with 20L of fuel was always a challenge to get up on the surface, but once it was humming it was brilliant.

    Another worthwhile thing is making sure the bars and levers are adjusted to suit YOU. It wouldn't matter if you were only cruising along the bitumen, but you'll need things within reach, and a standing riding position that you can maintain without tiring too much.
  11. I picked up the Long Way Round DVD today as per Rob's advice and I'll start on that tonight.

    I also got a pair of O'Neal Element motocross boots and they appear very sturdy. There are two main issues I have with the boots. Firstly, every time I put the boots on I have an inexplicable and almost uncontrollable desire to invade Poland. The second and less serious issue is that of controlling the brake and gear levers on the Bandit. Coming back from the shop I found that I had to ‘claw’ the gear lever (with varied success) to change gear, and I could hardly depress the rear brake at all. I want to wear the boots whilst riding around town on the Bandit before wearing them on the TTR which I haven’t yet seen, so I’ll need to adjust the levers a bit à la Hornet 600.
  12. Raise the gear lever, lower the brake lever. But not knowing mx boots, i would feel safer with none. either get used to them first or leave them at home.

    have fun mate.
  13. They will take a lot of breaking in to make them even slightly flexible, and until then doing anything, including invading Poland will be hard work.

    I dunno if you have grass to mow or dogs to walk, but getting them wet and then doing either of the above (except invading Poland) will go a long way to helping.

    They will never feel like road boots, and because of my height I have difficulty setting up the levers for both standing or sitting. I've settled for having to shift with the edge of the sole when standing.
  14. What everyone said about sand, DC...plus be sure to weight the bike well to the rear...stick your arsk back over the rear wheel, and be light in the saddle so the bike can ooze around underneath you.
    You'll need to be on the gas a lot harder than normal, but at least slowing down is pretty quick.
    Warning...be careful no to try and turn too much in the sand...you want to try and think of it as "veering" this way or that....even a shallow turn can bog the front wheel in, and down you'll go. :LOL:
    The good news is that it won't hurt as much as gravel. :grin:

    As for mud...beware wheel ruts if they are about...they are'nt inherently dangerous, but if you slip into one you'll could get crossed up. Ride in them, if you are worried...and careful with that front brake.

    One thing about off-roading that you will probably remember is body language...you will be using it alot more than a road bike, so expect to be up out of the saddle and very active in the rougher spots.
    As you've done it before, alot of it will come back to you, and you'll be right by the end of the first day, I reckon mate. :)

    While the boots feel like straight jackets for feet and ankles, that's ok. There is'nt alot of finesse with bush riding, coz you can be bouncing around alot...so subtle little gear snicks etc....usually are'nt possible like we manage when road riding..

  15. When I got stuck on sand, i was told to keep the power up, stand up and let the bike move underneath you, and shift your weight back.
  16. Gents, thanks very much for the advice so far. Please keep it coming. I'm about a third of the way through Long Way Round now. I've just watched the bit were Ewan and Charlie are bitching about how exhausting their 40 miles on sand was...I've got a 1,000 miles to do :shock:
  17. Don't watch Claudio...although since he's the camera man you only get to see him after he's fallen off again in the 'sand'. :)
  18. That doesn't really narrow it down. ;-)

    Adding anything else would be redundant as MMM (and others) have pretty much covered it all.
  19. We’re about two-thirds of the way through it now and Claudio’s trashed two bikes already. :shock:
    You’re right about the bitching; I only hope I can maintain an equal level of moral fortitude. :cool:

    Ps. Hey Snowy, I put a book over here for you. :!: https://netrider.net.au/forums/viewtopic.php?t=55311&start=0
  20. Even when it goes badly, you'll be able to enjoy it once you realise what you are doing.

    I spent hours sitting in the desert by myself while my riding partner went out to get help. I was minding my own business hiding from the weather (started to rain!) and along came some local kids with an old Landcruiser and a few bikes (not all of them would go at once). They'd met Colin on the way out and he told them I'd be there on the side of the track somewhere. They stopped, offered to hang about to keep me company, offered me a beer or two, and some bad musical accompaniment. In the end I told them I'll be fine and they took off, leaving me with a Picture magazine. I had to laugh...