Today we’re introducing How To Ride More_________ a series of insights from Velocio ambassadors, athletes and friends on getting the most from all flavors of riding. Ted King takes on How to Ride More Gravel in this first installment with lessons learned off pavement.
By Ted King
1. Take a page out of Yogi Berra’s book and when you come to a fork in the road, take it! The adventure starts somewhere, so what better time than now. Point your bike off road and just start pedaling.
2. Okay okay, you want to put a little more technology into scouting out routes? Gravelmap.com is a terrific and very simple website that shows gravel roads all over the world. Using that and an ever-increasing proficiency with Ride With GPS, Komoot, Strava, and other websites allow you to scout out gravel roads wherever you are, whether you’re seeking out gravel in your backyard or on the other side of the globe.
3. The frankenbike nature of gravel means you can run whatchabrung! So don’t be daunted by the equipment you have thinking you need to “gear up” to be on the appropriate bike. There are gravel roads for all abilities and all types of bikes. The more time you spend off pavement, the more you’ll learn that wider tires, larger gear ranges, and disc brakes might increase the comfort of your ride, but don’t let those things hold you back from taking the initial leap.
4. The days of curmudgeonly bike shops are over, so drop into your local shop and ask what their group ride schedule is. Chances are there’s a gravel group ride to suit your ability and if not, they’ll link you up with the right community members to launch one of your own. From newbie to world class ripper, riding in groups only increases the fun factor.
5. Racing gravel isn't for everyone, but there’s a gravel event for everyone. With the gravitational effect the genre of gravel is having on cycling at large, there are events of all types that cater to the desire of all types of riders. There is the traditional “ready, set, go” race with a start and finish line, but there are also segmented races where you race short sections and ride casually the rest of the time. There are gravel stage races and gravel scavenger hunts, or gravel fondos where it’s not a race at all, but everyone is on a friendly parade to the finish line. I promise you’ll have fun by joining a gravel event near you or across the country.