10 Simple tips to help you gravel ride better. | G R V L Apparel
Gravel riding can be a thrilling and adventurous experience. Whether you're a beginner or have some experience, here are some handy tips to enhance your gravel riding:

  1. Choose the right bike: opt for a gravel-specific bike that can handle rough terrain. Look for wider tires with tread patterns suitable for gravel riding. Think about where you plan to ride and make sure the tyres are suitable and provide the grip required. Your local, quality bike shop should be able to give you some good recommendations based on your riding skills and budget. Remember you get what you pay for, so the bigger the budget, the more capable and higher quality your ride will be.


  1. Tire pressure: Adjust your tire pressure according to the terrain. Lower tyre pressure provides better traction and comfort on rough or muddy surfaces, but be cautious not to go too low, as it may increase the risk of pinch flats. Higher pressures offer less grip but roll faster and are more suited to smooth surfaces or road sections.



  1. Gear selection: Gravel terrain can vary from flat to hilly, so ensure you have a wide range of gears to accommodate different inclines. Experiment with different gear ratios to find the most comfortable and efficient pedalling cadence. A lot of the latest bikes use a very large cassette on the rear wheel with a single 1by cog at the pedals for clearance and ease.


  1. Body position and bike handling: Maintain a balanced and relaxed body position while riding on gravel. Keep your weight slightly back and let the bike move underneath you. Practice bike handling skills such as cornering, braking, and descending on loose surfaces to improve control. Keep your grip as loose as you feel safe and use the drops when descending to give you better control, lower centre of gravity and braking force.



  1. Line selection: Try to select the smoothest line available on gravel trails. Look for compacted gravel or the least loose surface, avoiding deep gravel or areas with excessive debris or divots. Be aware of changing conditions and adjust your line accordingly.


  1. Braking technique: Gravel can be unpredictable, so practice-controlled braking. Use both brakes evenly and modulate your braking force to avoid skidding. Anticipate your braking points and start slowing down early. Brake on the drops allows for more braking force to be applied to the levers.



  1. Bike setup: Consider adding accessories like wider handlebars for improved stability, a dropper seat post for added manoeuvrability on descents, and frame protection to prevent damage from flying gravel. Set your tyres up to be tubeless which will save you a tone on new tubes and hopefully keep you rolling without even knowing you got a puncture.


  1. Navigation and exploration: Gravel riding often takes you to remote areas, so plan your route, carry a map or GPS device, and be prepared for potential detours or getting lost. Embrace the sense of adventure and exploration that comes with gravel riding. Kamootis a great tool to plan routes or see where other people ride in the area.



  1. Maintenance and spares: Gravel riding can be tough on your bike. Regularly inspect and maintain your bike, paying attention to tire wear, drivetrain cleanliness, and brake pad condition. Carry essential tools, spare tubes if you’re not running tubeless, tyre leavers, CO2 or a pump.


  1. Ride with others: Gravel riding can be more enjoyable and safer when done with others. Join group rides or find local gravel riding communities to connect with fellow riders, learn from their experiences, and discover new routes.


Remember, safety is paramount. Always ride wearing a helmet, ride within your limits, and be mindful of pedestrians, wildlife, traffic and road conditions. Enjoy the unique experience of gravel riding and have fun exploring new terrains!