Gravel Riding 101: Mastering the Trails

Gravel riding isn't just about biking; it's an adventure that challenges both your skills and your senses. Whether you're new to the gravel trails or a seasoned rider, mastering a few key techniques will help you navigate the terrain safely and with confidence. Let's explore some easy-to-understand tips and tricks to make your gravel riding experience more enjoyable.


1. Look Ahead: When approaching a corner, focus on looking through it rather than staring at what's right in front of you. This helps you anticipate any bumps or turns in the path.

2. Wide Entry: Start your turn by going wide. This gives you more space to maneuver and helps you maintain your speed through the curve.

3. Weight Shift: Lean your bike into the turn by shifting your weight to the outside pedal. This helps keep you balanced and in control.

4. Brake Smoothly: Use your brakes gently before entering the corner to slow down. Avoid slamming on the brakes, as this can cause your wheels to skid on loose gravel.

5. Choose Smooth Lines: Look for the smoothest path around the corner, avoiding any big rocks or bumps that could throw you off course.

6. Practice: Take some time to practice cornering at different speeds and angles. The more you practice, the more comfortable you'll become with this essential skill.


1. Stay Centered: Keep your weight centered on the bike as you ride downhill. This helps you maintain control and stability on uneven terrain.

2. Go with the Flow: Let the bike move beneath you as you descend, rather than trying to fight it. Relax your grip on the handlebars and let gravity do the work.

3. Absorb Bumps: Bend your elbows and knees to absorb any bumps or obstacles in your path. This helps cushion the impact and keeps you from losing control.

4. Brake Early: Start braking before you reach the bottom of the hill or any sharp turns. Use gentle pressure on the brakes to slow down gradually.

5. Communicate: If you're riding with others, make sure to communicate any hazards or obstacles you encounter. This helps keep everyone safe on the trail.

6. Keep Momentum: Try to maintain your speed as you descend by choosing smooth lines and avoiding excessive braking. This will help you carry momentum through the downhill sections.


1. Choose the Right Gear: Shift into an easier gear before you start climbing to make pedaling easier. This will help you maintain your energy and momentum as you ride uphill.

2. Stay Seated: Unless the climb is very steep, try to stay seated on your bike. This gives you more traction and helps conserve your energy.

3. Find a Smooth Path: Look for the smoothest path up the hill, avoiding any loose gravel or big rocks that could cause you to slip.

4. Pace Yourself: Take it slow and steady as you climb, rather than trying to sprint to the top. This will help you conserve your energy and make it easier to reach the summit.

5. Stay Balanced: Keep your weight centered over the bike to maintain traction and stability. This will help prevent you from tipping over or losing control on steep climbs.

6. Breathe and Relax: Remember to breathe deeply and stay relaxed as you climb. Tension in your body can make it harder to pedal and cause you to tire more quickly.

By mastering these basic techniques, you'll be well on your way to becoming a confident gravel rider. Remember to practice regularly and always ride within your skill level. With time and experience, you'll be able to tackle even the toughest gravel trails with ease.

by Angela Naeth

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