Gravel riding is fantastic. Whether you're just getting started or have been on the gravel for years, I'm sure you've learned a few tricks along the way. Here are a few of mine.
1. Lower Your Tire Pressure
Not only will lower tire pressure give you a more comfortable ride, it will also provide additional traction and confidence in both climbing and descending. With a tubeless wheel/tire combination, you'll be able to run significantly lower pressure than you think, so go out and experiment. Tire pressure depends on rider weight and terrain, so start around 35 psi and work down from there (I typically run <30 psi). A few psi can make a big difference in the handling of your bike and the feel of your bike.
2. Try Seated Climbing
Staying seated while climbing on dirt, gravel, or sand will keep your weight centered over the bike and give your rear wheel additional traction, which is increasingly important as the pitch tilts skyward and the riding surface loosens. This, coupled with the correct tire choice and pressure, will help you climb like a billy goat!
3. Groadside Repair
Carry a well-stocked repair kit. Gravel riding leads to awesome, off-the-beaten-path adventures, which means having the tools for simple (g)road side repairs is critical, as well as knowing how to use them.
Here's a list of essentials to include in your repair kit:
• Spare tube (or two)
• Tire levers
• Pump and/or Co2 inflator
• Tire plugs/tire boot (a dollar bill or Clif Bar wrapper also works)
• Chain tool and quick links
• Map (paper or on your phone or Garmin)
I'd love to hear your tips and advice for gravel riding! Comment below or tag me on Instagram to tell me what you've learned.
About the Author
A lover of wild spaces, fresh air, and covering distance on two wheels, Serena lives and trains in Bend, Oregon, and races for for Liv Racing | Giant Factory Off-Road Team with a focus on endurance mountain bike, gravel, and cyclocross racing. She's been on UCI podiums across a number of disciplines. Read more about Serena here.