header

GRAVEL CYCLING 101

Gravel is the new coolest thing in cycling, and summer is a great time to give it a go!

Mixed-terrain adventure riding offers the long rides and high speeds of road cycling with the skills and escape into nature you can achieve on a mountain bike.

Gravel cycling is an awesome way to explore new territory and take on a new type of challenge. A typical ride could see you take on tarmac, bridleways, dirt roads, grassy fields and stoney trails – the world’s your oyster!

If you’re looking to dab a toe into the wild world of gravel, summer is the time to do it. The tracks are dry and hard and this time of year, and so if you’re used to riding road, it will make an easier introductory experience than the mud and slippery leaves of winter.

Here’s PRO BIKE TOOL’s key things to consider before you GO GRAVEL!

THE BIKE

Do I need a special bicycle to ride on gravel?

It’s a little yes and no here. You can get by on some beginner rides with a bike you may already own, but if you’re going to go all-in you may want to invest in a dedicated bike… and it’s a perfect excuse to indulge in that N+1!

Riding gravel tends to need a bike with the geometry and dropped bars of a relaxed road bike with the big tyres and wide clearances of a mountain or ‘cross bike.

Nearly all major manufacturers now sell a specific ‘gravel’ or ‘adventure’ bike. They typical allow you to maintain the sense of speed and agility of a road bike, but give a relaxed geometry for all-day riding and provide large clearances, beefy tyres and disc brakes like most off-road cycles.

Before you invest in a specific bike, using a cyclocross bike to ride off-road can be a good option if you or a friend has one. The high bottom bracket of a ‘cross bike may make it a little uncomfortable for an all-day gravel adventure, but for a short blast, it’s a great stand-in!

THE ROUTES

Gravel is all about adventure, exploration and finding new tracks and trails. However, until you’ve figured out a few local paths to base your rides from, it can be tricky to know where to start.

The best option of course, is to take advice from an experienced graveller. If you don’t know anyone to ride with or seek advice from, apps such as Ride With GPS, Komoot and Strava have mapping tools that are coming to include more and more off-road sections. Strava also has a ‘heatmap’ feature that shows you the most-commonly used paths, so you can follow in the tracks of those in the know!

credit - arriere du peloton

THE GEAR

A gravel ride could see you traveling far away from towns, villages and gas stations – so remember, you need to be self-sufficient!

Make sure you carry enough food and water if you’re planning on riding far. There’s never a better excuse to eat cake than on a bike ride, so load up your jersey pockets with sweet treats and get stuck in. For fluids, we recommend you drink at least 500ml per hour, and more if it’s hot. For a full 101 on hydration, check out our blog all about it here.

The need to be self-sufficient is equally important when it comes to mechanical fixes. Just like you would on a road ride, make sure you have couple of spare tubes, a CO2 Inflator and Mini Bike Pump, and either an 8-in-1 or 17-in-1 Multi Tool. Of course, if you’re riding tubeless, you also want to add a Tubeless Tyre Repair kit in as well.

And some final tips for a first-timer!

PRO BIKE TOOL SUGGESTED READING

If you thought "GRAVEL CYCLING 101" was a Here are some related articles for you.

Like this PRO BIKE TOOL article about GRAVEL CYCLING 101! Why not Share it with your fellow cyclists!

Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on Linkedin
Share on pinterest
Share on Pinterest
BOTTLE CAGES
VIEW
CO2 INFLATORS
VIEW
TOOLS & MAINTENANCE
VIEW
BIKE PUMPS
VIEW

HOW TO BUILD YOUR HOME BIKE WORKSHOP

No matter what size space you have to work on your bike, there are a few items that you need to have in there to make your fettling easier and more enjoyable. Check out our guide to building your home bicycle workshop!

Read More

HOW TO BUILD YOUR HOME BIKE WORKSHOP

No matter what size space you have to work on your bike, there are a few items that you need to have in there to make your fettling easier and more enjoyable. Check out our guide to building your home bicycle workshop!

Read More

New Year’s Resolutions for Riders

New Year’s Resolutions can last for a week or they can form the habit of a lifetime. Even though the New Year has passed, there’s still time to make a resolution, so check out our guide how to make an effective resolution along with our favourite bike-related goals from past years!

Read More

Road Bike Tyre Pressure: What should I use?

Too high and it feels like you’re riding on huge rocks all day, and corners feel like ice rinks. Too low and you risk getting pinch flats, you wear your tyres out, and it feels like riding through mud. But if you get the perfect pressure in your bike tyres you’ll be faster, smoother, and have better grip!

Read More

C02 INFLATOR 101

Always been wondering what a CO2 inflator is, how it works, and whether it will be appropriate for you and your bike? Let us guide you through this essential cycling gadget!

Read More

Pump or CO2? What’s for you?

Should you buy a CO2 inflator or a bike pump. While either of these tools are going to be great buddies to have in your pocket or backpack on a bike ride, each one has its own benefits.

Read More

Why You Should Cycle to Work

If you’re not a regular cyclist, then even the thought of riding your bike to work can seem daunting. However, it’s something that will improve your day – and general life – no end!

Read More

Bike Fit: Why it matters

Bike fit is an essential part of your cycling. Having your bicycle correctly set up for you will keep you injury free, comfortable, and make you stronger and faster.

Read More

Ryan's Hour

On 29th July 2017, Ryan Davies set a new age group world record for the UCI Masters World Hour event. An ordinary guy with a full-time job, riding a second-hand bike frame sourced on Gumtree, Ryan rode 48.234 kilometers (29.971miles) in one hour.

Read More

Basile's Paris to Shanghai

I could spend the rest of my life in a bubble of expectations. Or I can take a leap of faith and discover the unexpected, the disillusioning, the marvellous. – Basile Verhulst

Read More
0
YOUR ITEMS
REVIEW
5
Please select a valid form.

WE'RE HERE TO HELP

CONTACT ON DARK

become a pro bike tool vip

VIP

WARRANTY REGISTRATION

WARRANTY REGISTRATION
0% Complete
1 of 3