Webmaster Blue Knights RI1
posted on July 11, 2011 10:58
It's summertime. Hoter'n heck in many places.
But now is when the adventurous Blue Knight rides to places that require the sometimes dreaded "Riding On Gravel"
Quite often we hear folks say - what is the best technique for riding on gravel roads.
One post I read the rider says - "I have a long gravel driveway with a long down hill slope and a 90 degree turn at the bottom, I've dropped my Harley 3 times in the past month going both up and down the driveway no matter how slow I try to go, what should I do?" Why gravel appears to be such a problem on a heavy road bike is often because the tires tend to sink into the gravel. The deeper the gravel, the more you can sink. The first defense is a little more movement. In other words, rather than following your instincts, drive just a little bit faster. This will keep the tires from sinking into the gravel and have the bike more or less float above it on the surface. Keep handlebars as straight as possible, and TURN as little as possible, since a sharp turn of the front tire will have a definite plowing effect and will cause a quick tip over. Not fun on a bike road bike!
Next, rely on the rear brake for stopping as well as control. We can't say exactly how fast to go but if you're having a problem on a particular road, or your own driveway, pick up the speed a very little bit at a time until you find the bike easier to control. Gravel is NOT something to fear nor necessary to absolutely avoid (unless the gravel is really really pitted and potholed, then you might consider a. a dirt bike, or b. a route around that area). Simply, keep it straight, keep it going without crawling, and use the REAR brake. All it takes for any of us is a little practice.
Good Luck! Good Summer Travels.
Ride safe and Ride with pride.
VP/SO BKRI 1