If your motorcycle instinct inspires you to undertake great adventures on your two wheels, with true off-road sections, you might be lucky and be forced to face some sandy stretches.
The first thing to check in these situations is your tires pressure. It can’t be too high, but instead it must be lowered. If your ideal pressure on pavement is around 2.2 bar in the front and 2.5 bar in the rear, in case of sand they can go all the way down to 1 bar or even 0.9.
Just remember to bring them back up as soon as you get back on the pavement.
If you don’t want to get stuck right when you take off, you must be very smooth, because sand gives up a lot and every movement becomes extreme. One technique you need to master is throttle control: try to be smooth and progressive, so the rear wheel won’t spin and dig a big hole instead of pushing you forward.
Your body position is very important, too. On the sand try to keep your body in a neutral position, slightly leaning towards the back of the seat. That puts less pressure on the front wheel that can now float freely. Try to keep a speed that will help you keep your direction: if you are too slow the front wheel will tend to sink and tuck.
Standing while riding off-road is always advisable, but on the sand it becomes a must!
Remember to use your feet and knees to give direction, not your arms. Stand on the pegs, squeeze the lower frame with your ankles and the tank with your knees, that way you can steer the bike by simply pushing on the peg on the side of the direction you want to go.
Keep your arm relaxed and not fully extended, otherwise in case of a swerve you won’t have any room to save it. Be smooth and don’t panic if the motorcycle under you seems to be all over the place, it’s a sensation you will have to get used to.
In tight turns you can sit down but make sure you keep your balance and some momentum, or the bike will sink and lowside. On a big Adventure bike, especially when fully loaded, NEVER stick your leg out like the Motocross guys do: if you fall your foot will get trapped and the risk of injury is extremely high.
Last but not least: your bike goes where your eyes look. Don’t get target fixated on any obstacle or you will run right into it. Instead, keep your head up and scan the terrain way ahead of you.
All the above suggestions, good fitness and a lot of seat time will help you be more efficient and feel more comfortable next time you ride on sand.