Tips and resources
Riding on gravel: it isn’t rocket science, but there are a few things that are worth knowing before you get started.
On the road, you’re likely to alternate between climbing seated and standing. On gravel, it’s a bit different. You have less traction, so you should keep your weight over the back wheel by staying seated.
On very steep climbs, you’ll need to balance this by lowering your centre of gravity through the upper body to weight the front wheel so you don’t pop a wheelie.
Rather than a death-grip on the handlebars, try to keep your upper body relaxed. Not only will this mean that your shoulders and arms don’t get as tired, but it will also reduce the likelihood of crashing from overcorrection.
Your bike has a magical ability to stay upright and self-correct; rather than trying to exert your will, go with the flow and let it guide you.
You have less grip on gravel so you should anticipate your braking to give yourself time to slow down. Look down the road so you have time to react to any obstacles, rather than just in front of your wheel.
Avoid applying hard pressure to the front brake in corners to avoid sliding out. Rather, gently feather your front and rear bikes to slow yourself down.
The key is smoothness. Almost subconsciously, you’ll steer more with the back of the bike rather than the front – rather than sudden changes of direction through the handlebars, practice weighting your outside foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke to carve around the corner.
Aim to avoid leaning over into a corner – instead keep yourself relatively upright to minimise the risk of sliding out.