Road Cycling Skills

How to cycle over gravel safely on a road bike

Ways to navigate gravel successfully to avoid your road bike outing from going awry!

One situation that a road cyclist dreads is being confronted with a pathway that is full of awkward gravel ready to bring mayhem to their ride. Running the gravel gauntlet on road bike can be nerve-racking and dangerous. In an ideal world, all our road bike outings would be filled with smooth, flat and non-slippery road surfaces but sometimes you can’t avoid a patch of pesky gravel.

Here are a few tips to help you navigate those tricky patches of road as safely as possible.

Stick to a line more trodden

Keep your eyes ahead of you and find that line that has been forged before, if there is one. By following, you’ll be able to ride those gravel grooves as best you can without having to cycle on uncharted surface that is more likely to catch your front wheel.

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Try not to tense up

Yes, this is one of the most annoying pieces of advice when you’re faced with a white knuckle ride but as clichéd as it is, being a tense rider won’t get you across that gravel any easier. Try and remain relaxed and responsive. If you do get caught off-guard and pulled to one side, go with it until you can return to your original line of direction without having to do any jerky manoeuvres.

Maintain momentum

The general advice is to get into a small gear and then try and maintain a good speed so that you float over the gravel rather than getting stuck into it, having to grind your way through.

Be prepared

Road bikes aren’t designed for this more intrepid terrain and therefore embark on your ride with the appropriate tools for all road-surface eventualities. Ensure you have a couple of inner tubes and a gas canister or pump so that if the gravel should cause you a puncture you won’t be stranded on a rocky road in the middle of nowhere. It might also be an idea to jump off and check your tyres once you’re clear of the gravel and remove any sharp bits wedged into your tyre to prevent any further punctures.

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