Curious about gravel riding? Here are some tips for preparing for a gravel ride:
- Get the right bike: Gravel bikes are designed specifically for off-road terrain, so it’s important to have the right equipment for the job. A gravel bike typically has wider tires, a more relaxed geometry, and more stable handling than a road bike. If you don’t have a gravel bike, you can use a mountain bike instead.
- Find multi-use paths in your area: If you’re new to off-road cycling, try to find multi-use, multi-surface paths so you can get used to riding on rough surfaces. This will give you a better idea of what to expect and help you develop the skills you’ll need.
- Check your bike: Before the ride, make sure your bike is in good working order. Check the tires, brakes, and gears, and make any necessary adjustments.
- Wear the right gear: Make sure you wear appropriate clothing for the weather conditions and that your shoes are suitable for the terrain. A helmet is also a must.
- Bring enough water and snacks: Gravel rides can be long and demanding, so it’s important to stay hydrated and fuelled. Make sure you bring enough water and snacks to keep your energy levels up.
- Plan your route: Plan your route ahead of time and make sure you know where you’re going. If possible, ride with a group or a partner so you have someone to navigate with. Also be aware of any active logging in the area should you head out on the logging roads, and obey any posted road closures.
- Pace yourself: Gravel rides can be challenging, so pace yourself accordingly. Don’t go all out at the beginning and burn out before the end. Take breaks when you need to and listen to your body.
- Be prepared for the unexpected: Gravel rides can be unpredictable, so be prepared for anything. Bring a tool kit and extra tubes in case of a flat tire, and a first aid kit for any mishaps you may have.
- Let someone know where you’re going: Gravel roads in my area often take me out of cell service. Give your ride plan and expected return time to a trusted friend or family member in case of emergency.
When you’re comfortable riding on gravel roads, you can start planning longer rides and overnight adventures. If you need help ramping up the mileage and getting your nutrition dialled in, contact me!