Gravel biking, a growing discipline in the cycling world, has gained immense popularity in recent years. Offering a refreshing break from the rigidity of road cycling, gravel riding provides a more relaxed and adventurous way to explore the great outdoors. In this informative guide, we will delve into the reasons behind the surge in gravel biking's popularity, essential gear for a successful gravel bike adventure, and valuable tips to enhance your gravel riding technique.


Why is gravel riding so popular?

The appeal of gravel biking lies in its freedom and versatility. Unlike road cycling, gravel riding is not bound by strict rules, and riders can choose their own style and pace. It allows cyclists to explore lesser-known routes without the worries of sharing roads with heavy traffic. Moreover, gravel riding offers an opportunity to improve bike handling skills, as negotiating rough terrain enhances confidence and adaptability on any surface. The sense of adventure and exploration attracts cyclists to discover hidden gems and previously unexplored areas, even on familiar local routes.

Appropriate Attire for Gravel Biking

To fully enjoy gravel biking, it's essential to be prepared for various weather conditions and potential hours away from civilization. Gravel-specific cycling kit, designed to be both streamlined and durable, becomes beneficial for longer rides or multi-day adventures. The attire should prioritise functionality, weatherproofing, breathability, and extra pockets for convenient access to snacks and essentials.


Gravel Biking Technique Tips

Mastering gravel biking techniques will enhance your overall experience and performance on the trails. Here are some valuable tips from gravel guru Bruce Dalton:


  1. Maintain a Balanced Riding Position:

Gravel riding demands stability and control. Keep your weight balanced over the bike and maintain a relaxed grip on the handlebars.


  1. Learn to Read the Terrain:

Understanding the surface you're riding on is crucial. Gravel trails can be unpredictable, so anticipate changes in terrain and adapt your speed accordingly.


  1. Perfect Your Cornering:

Cornering on gravel requires finesse. Focus on weight distribution and lean into turns while maintaining control and avoiding skidding.


  1. Brake Thoughtfully:

Gravel surfaces demand smooth braking techniques. Avoid sudden stops to prevent skidding or losing control.


Essential Gear for Gravel Biking Adventure

  1. Gravel Bike Tyres:

Upgrading your bike's semi-slick tyres to ones with better grip is crucial for tackling loose or muddy terrain. Additionally, adjusting the tyre pressure is essential for optimal performance. Lower pressure provides more grip but increases the risk of punctures. Many gravel enthusiasts opt for a tubeless setup to maintain comfortable pressure without worrying about pinch flats.


  1. Gravel Bike Bags:

When embarking on extended rides, carrying essentials such as tools, spare parts, clothes, and food becomes vital. Gravel bikes offer various luggage options, such as oversized saddle bags, handlebar bags, and top tube bags, providing convenient storage without hindering comfort.


  1. Navigation Tools:

A reliable GPS cycle computer like the Garmin Edge Explore offers turn-by-turn navigation, ensuring you stay on track during your exploration. Live tracking and incident detection features provide safety and peace of mind, especially when riding solo.

Where's Your Next Gravel Adventure?

With your gravel bike equipped and technique refined, the possibilities for exploration become limitless. Gravel bikes, designed with luggage mounts, make them ideal for multi-day adventures. Whether it's a day-long off-road trip or an epic bike-packing journey, gravel biking promises unforgettable experiences in the great unknown.