03 Mar How to Manage a Gravel Road on Your Bike
When you hop onto a motorcycle for the first time, it can feel like an impossible task to keep the thing moving in one direction. The thought of throwing some gravel into the mix seems to go beyond the ridiculous.
Once you get the hang of riding a bike on concrete, the next natural step is to figure out how to do the same thing on gravel.
Although it will take a little time to manage, you’ll discover that gravel roads are enjoyable to explore. Not only do you wonder where they’ll go, but you can also find new sights that you might not have ever considered before.
Best Riding Tips for Dealing with a Gravel Road
Since you never know when you might encounter gravel, here are some tips to help you get started on your learning process.
1. Read the Terrain
When you transition from pavement to gravel, you’ll have less traction. That means you need to alter how you ride. The best option is to slow down, looking about 20 feet in front of you to avoid obstacles. Be careful about leaning when you’re on this slippery medium because it only takes a few degrees to make the tires slip.
2. Choose the Line
When you’re on a street bike, you’d want to avoid gas spills, painted lines, and other potential obstacles to avoid experiencing an accident. The same principles apply when you’re taking your motorcycle along a gravel road. You’ll want to look for the best traction zones as you progress forward, looking for the places where you have a hard surface to use. There’s usually one area that’s better than the others to use.
3. Execute Your Plan
If you’re dealing with a loose surface, you’ll find that the road can be softer than expected. That means you’ll want to keep your weight in the back to prevent your front wheel from digging into the dirt. If you need extra support, you can stand on the pegs, although adventure bikes sometimes handle better when taking that step. By putting your weight there instead of in the saddle, your center of gravity gets significantly lower.
4. Take a Deep Breath
Most riders get nervous when they’re riding on gravel for the first time. When you encounter these roads, it’s not unusual for people to start holding their breath. If you do that unconsciously, you’ll lose some of your focus as you pick out the right path to follow. It helps to perform conscious breathing instead, keeping a count in your head so that you’re always pushing air through your body.
When you see an unpaved road stretching out before you, an entirely new set of adventurous possibilities awaits. Even if you’ve never tried to ride on gravel before, you’ll discover that it only takes a little practice to become familiar with this surface. When the journey is what matters more than the destination, slowing down is always your best choice.