Top 10 Tips Getting Into Gravel Riding
This is my second season coming into Gravel and have to say I’m absolutely loving it. Getting out in the countryside, off the roads, being able to clear my head and have lots of fun on the bike.
Here are my top tips if you’re looking to get into gravel riding.
1: Plan and prepare - Komoot offers a great way of planning routes, check road surface and distance . You can then download these into your bike computer so you always have a good sense of direction and where you should be heading.
2: Tyres - road surface - 40 mm and above , better control and less prone to puncture . The wider the tyre the better the handling but there's always a trade off between handling and rolling resistance.
I personally use 42mm and tend to run them around 35-38 psi depending on the track and roads I’m riding. This will offer you correct tyre pressure and will the best comfort, traction and stability.
3: Fuelling- remember if you’re really off road your not going to have a corner shop or cafe. Do take your own snacks and drinks. I always try and aim for 80-90 grams of carbs per hour.
4: Bike handling - gravel riding will really help with your bike handling but starting out just learn the process of controlling your bike. Going into corners you're going to have less grip. So get to know you ability and work on control.
Key ways push on the climb, kick the heels back on the descents to give you more control over the back wheel and try to relax. Don’t slam on the brakes, guide them on!
5: Enjoyment - enjoyment is key with gravel riding that’s what I love about it. Taking in all the views and the sounds around you.
6: Clothing - layer up! The weather can change a lot do make sure you have layers of clothing. Also advise you wear track mitts or gloves so you have much more control on the bike.
7: Phone - be prepared for no signal. So let friends and family know where you are. It’s also worth carrying a small first aid kit with you just in case you do get into any trouble.
8: Bottle cages - invest into a good set of bottle cages so you don’t lose your bottles.
9: Bike - you can use a cross bike or a mountain bike or a bike with good clearance so starting out you don’t have to make the full investment into a gravel bike.
10: Core strength is going to be a key area with gravel riding so make sure you keep on top of your core strength and hip mobility. I’ve found that doing 10 mins a day is better than doing once a week.
If you’re looking for cycling coaching or bike fitting for gravel get in touch with us at www.mattbottrillperformancecoaching.com