How To Ride Gravel

How To Ride Gravel


Riding gravel can be a great way to add spice to your riding! Simon brings you his top tips on how to get the most out of it.

Subscribe to GCN:
Register your interest in the GCN Club:
Get exclusive GCN gear in the GCN shop!

Riding on gravel can be hard when you’re used to the road. Whether you’re riding on sand, pea gravel, grit or rocks, Simon shares his golden rules to ensure you get the most out of your riding. Look ahead, aim for the fasted lines and be prepared to change your riding technique from the tarmac.

Where is your favourite place to ride on gravel roads? 👇

If you’d like to contribute captions and video info in your language, here’s the link 👍

Watch more on GCN…
Simon’s bikepacking in Morocco: 📹
GCN Tech’s look at Simon’s 3T Exploro 📹

Photos: © Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images & © Bettiniphoto /

Music:
ES_Ain’t Nothing Gonna Bring Us Down (Instrumental Version) – Aldenmark Niklasson.mp3
ES_Choirs Of War 2 (Hybrid Remix Version) – Johannes Bornlöf.mp3
ES_Desert Island – Hosini & Jones.mp3
ES_Heliolingus – Ooyy.mp3
ES_In And Out Of Love (Tigerblood Jewel Remix) (Instrumental Version) – Martin Hall.mp3
ES_JuiceBox – Dylan Sitts.mp3

About GCN:

The Global Cycling Network puts you in the centre of the action: from the iconic climbs of Alpe D’Huez and Mont Ventoux to the cobbles of Flanders, everywhere there is road or pavé, world-class racing and pro riders, we will be there bringing you action, analysis and unparalleled access every week, every month, and every year. We show you how to be a better cyclist with our bike maintenance videos, tips for improving your cycling, cycling top tens, and not forgetting the weekly GCN Show. Join us on YouTube’s biggest and best cycling channel to get closer to the action and improve your riding!

Welcome to the Global Cycling Network | Inside cycling

Thanks to our sponsors:

Alta Badia: // Maratona Dles Dolomites:
Assos of Switzerland:
KASK helmets:
fi’zi:k shoes and saddles: and
Topeak tools:
Canyon bikes:
Quarq:
DT Swiss:
Science in Sport:
Orbea bikes:
Wiggle:
Trek Bicycles:
Vision wheels:
Zipp wheels:
power2max:
Wahoo Fitness:
Park Tool:
Continental tyres:
Camelbak:

The GCN Club –
YouTube Channel –
Facebook –
Instagram –
Google+ –
Twitter –
GMBN Tech –
GCN Tech –
EMBN –

Leave us a comment below!

100 Comments on "How To Ride Gravel"


  1. We have great fun gravel roads here in Southern Missouri. I'm finding my biggest hurdle is going up a steep hill being clipped in. When I get to the place that I can't keep it going, I've got too much pressure on my pedals to get my foot unclipped. Suggestions?

    Reply

  2. I've been thinking about converting my "hybrid" bike (Canyon RoadLite) to gravel, any suggestion ?

    Reply

  3. Oh, thought it said baking. Couldn't quickly understand what that had to do with riding. Must be overtired.

    Reply

  4. That road with all those big rocks is more for mountain bikes in my opinion. I would be constantly worrying about a picture if I was on those tyres.

    Reply

  5. Hey what is going on… Si is riding a 2x system instead of his beloved 1x! No mention of 1x and how amazing it is!😍 This can't be GCN! He he love it and almost feel that gravel for cyclocross riders who don't want to buy a mountain bike but still want to be out in nature away from it all… All the techniques seem so similar. Keep em coming boy!

    Reply

  6. "How to get the most out of gravel riding", or, key skills for riding safely on the UK National Cycle Network. (Though frankly we're lucky to even get gravel sometimes.)

    Reply

  7. We have the same tires 🙂 loving the 42's quiet on the road, great on hardpack,
    not that great when going down a hill with thousands of loose rocks pretty sure i was going to die if i did that hill above 10 kph.

    Reply

  8. How to buy your first gravel bike? What to look for? Disk brakes? Canti? Vbrake? Etc thanks for all the content! Keep it up

    Reply

  9. Nice POC shades. What, no 1x? Compass herringbone tread tires work well on most gravel. Nothing really works on marble-sized pebbles short of dirt bike tires.

    Reply

  10. Recently went from a hardcore enduro rider to a lover of gravel bikes. Perfect time fore gravel bike week! Love the content keep it up!

    Reply

  11. Road kit, road shoes and pedals, road glasses, road gearing, check! Lets go….a mite ridiculous…

    Reply

  12. I got a worried when I found out that I was going 50 km's in the dark on gravel last fall this spring I dented my rear rim on the same stretch during less dimm light😜

    Reply

  13. This is kind of random off-comment, but I just want to give a hats off to your camera and editing people. I love your content but I really love the way it's displayed on the screen. Makes me smile. Thanks!!!

    Reply

  14. Hello Simon, is that the FSA K-Force Light SB32 carbon seatpost? 😀 Thanks!

    Reply

  15. I use a MTB with drops and brifters,and I`m running a triple chainrings,they are the best.

    Reply

  16. I notice I need to pick my line up ahead from a further distance than on my mountain bike. It's even more critical if there are two or three riders in front and you can't see your line.

    Reply

  17. Really enjoying the gravel videos! Would be good to see a video on tyre choice, and what happens when things get muddy (especially in the UK where there is more mud than gravel). Are there any good mixed terrain tyres that can still roll fast, and how much does tyre width affect speed and comfort on different surfaces

    Reply

  18. I enjoy these videos for some reason but I always wonder if anyone actually learns anything from them? Is there anyone who doesn't know all of this intuitively?

    Reply

  19. 1:48 "Always look for the smoothest and firmest gravel to ride over…" Hits the only rock in the path.

    Reply

  20. One thing I missed is the use of protective gear. I never cycle my favourite trails without my knee and elbow protectors. I have learned that the hard way.
    And I have changed my brake balance and almost exclusively use the rear brake. Problem here in Western Australia is that a we have a lot of gravel which are like marbles so round: like riding on ball bearings. Younjust look at your front brake and there you go. But boy, do I love my Silex 400 on these tracks…..

    Reply

  21. Well…. this just makes me want to take my road bike OFF road. BUUUT the sensible voice is saying that will end up in hospital and the bike shop…. hey… excuse for a new bike? seems good to me.

    Reply

  22. Best thing about gravel riding is not worrying about someone running u over cos you can’t get cars down the trials 😂

    Reply

  23. Can we have a presenter bike check where you guys show us all your bikes and then do some tricks/stuff not meant for that bike?

    Reply

  24. Really looking into getting into gravel riding and doing bikepacking. Your videos have been really helpful

    Reply

  25. 2:00 A locked front wheel would in my case mean, quite literally, that I'd be biting the dust.

    Reply

  26. The most important note is "if you get super gnarly, you would probably better of on a mountain bike"

    Reply

  27. One thing I've picked up when descending on loose stuff is to keep on pedalling, even if you've got the brakes on – never freewheel. It seems to help the tyres keep their grip. Which surprised me. Am I weird or is that good advice?

    Reply

  28. If you see an obstacle, like a rock, Don't look at the rock and think you will avoid it . Look where you need to go to avoid the obstacle/rock. On the road I hit a rock doing 35 mph. The reason i hit the rock is I watched it instead of looking at a way to avoid the rock. Looking ahead far enough is only part of it. You need to be deciding on the line of travel also two seconds ahead

    Reply

  29. Great skidding etiquette there Simon! I was doing a bit of that myself on Saturday, always more fun when you're millimetres from complete disaster, but then make the corner!

    Reply

  30. Why you are so funny just your little inflections in your voice you're muted sarcasm brother you are hilarious

    Reply

  31. It's the changes in road conditions that I love with gravel biking. Grass, mud, tarmac, pea, bricks, cake. Different skills, never boring.

    Reply

  32. Clipping/unclipping from pedals is dramatically different. Pointers for noobs would be welcome.

    Reply

  33. would love to have a video about concerns of toe overlap when turning all the way to the left, tire hitting the toe of the shoe. Thanks!

    Reply

  34. Si, you appear to be sitting a little deeper on your gravel bike compared to your road bike. Do you change your setup concerning setback and saddle height for gravel compared to the road? Thanks.

    Reply

  35. I’m thinking Orbea Terra for my next bike. Anyone other than Si have any pros or cons on this bike?

    Reply

  36. Going on with my current project: steel frame, 26" wheels, Schwalbe Marathon 1.5 tires, 38×11-34 ratios with STI levers, maybe a little suspension on the front and that's about it. When it does come to fruition, I wonder if it will replace the proper road bike completely.

    Reply

  37. Thanks for tackling these issues! Iowa has some great gravel if you're ever in the area.

    Reply

  38. How about a GCN Does Science episode where you compare slick vs non-slick gravel specific tires from a major brand. Off the top of my head: Panaracer GravelKing SK vs Smooth or Maxxis ReFuse vs Rambler. I ask this because I've heard that a slick at the right pressure works great on the loose bits but giving you the added benefit of a faster rolling tire on the pavement.

    Reply

  39. Good video! Especially it looks easier to understand. Does it need to change the height of handlebar from road position? Most of gravel bike still look aero more on website. But it doesn’t need that i think. Was this from their own bike setting? Could you compare about the difference of handlebar position? It will be good if other guy would leave comments for my questions

    Reply

  40. I'd like to know, for descending, butt off seat and slightly off toward the back. Been practicing this, in particular, to avoid the rattling of glasses on my face and all that shaking business.

    Reply

  41. When do we see Si ride a Canyon Infinite? And when do we see his review of the bike?

    Reply

  42. I love how well timed this video is lol, I just got my first gravel bike the week this video was released

    Reply

  43. I grew up riding one bike on all the surfaces. The technique just comes naturally now wherever I ride. And owning a bike I don't have to baby has always been a priority. With all my friends riding and buying road bikes I recently upgraded to a cyclocross bike. The geometry works great for me on long rides on pavement, and I'm riding on gravel parking lots and across other terrain where everyone else is walking their skinny tire bikes.

    Reply

  44. "…if it gets super gnarly… you'd probably be better off on a mountain bike.", he says. Seems like a decent XC would do the same for all previously mentioned conditions as well as the "super gnarly" ones. Still not totally convinced that this transitionary bike form is really necessary. Cool, yes. Necessary, probably not.

    Reply

  45. Will I be restricted on what size tyre I can put on my road wheels? Clearance shouldn’t issue as I have a disc bike.
    Thank you

    Reply

  46. The origin of cycling is on gravel. I love gravel bikes to use in long distances, on any surface in the same stage.

    Reply

  47. the local road in Toronto has scattered pot holes is there anything wrong with riding a gravel type bike for road cycling ?

    The seller told me it’s a ideal choice seeing it that road bikes will ware and tear from all the pressure exerted on bumpy uneven concrete/ tarmac

    Reply

  48. Amazing that even GCN, when they present 'gravel' which is 'alternative' if we compare to the classics road, mtb and cx show always big brand as TREK, SPECIALIZED, CANYON, ORBEA etc..but never the brands who initiate the movement as well as bikepacking, I mean brands like Surly, Salsa Cycles, Kona bikes etc…

    Gravels bikes have tyre clearance till a minimum of 42 mm..Gravel tyres begin at 38mm not 33/35 as shown in the video

    Reply

  49. Nothing scars up the landscape and creates more soil erosion is when you ride next to the two track road making it a three track, four track and more. If you can't ride in the established 2 track, you have the wrong bike for the conditions. This applies to motor vehicles as well.

    Reply

  50. How did i miss this one Si? Great presentation and it sure looks like a lot of fun! I do remember my first exposure to carbon wheels, my wife and I were on our tandem on a trip to Montreal, Canada. We were crossing the St. Lawrence when a roadie pulled along side when we are a gravel road. He had 88mm Zipps and the racket they made did not inspire confidence to me! I noticed you had carbon rims on the bike you were riding. Does that really hold up?

    Reply

  51. Awesome gravel bikes .. but I use my mountain bike all places .. I've just put some continental traffic reflex tyres on .. hard in middle .. great tread great all rounder great on road but my riding is pleasure not speed .. love canal towpaths ..

    Reply

  52. The amount of 'best avoid' surfaces points to a light XC mountain bike, with narrow tires – narrow, but still wider than a gravel bike's – being the better option for most adventurers. Racers, sure, go buy those gravel bikes, but regular riders? Get a mountain bike, then go ride the sand roads, the large gravel roads, etc. that the gravel bikes best avoid.

    Reply

  53. I started with a Jamis Trail X Comp mountain bike and switched to a Jamis Allegro Sport because it was lighter and slightly faster on the crushed limestone of the rails-to-trails here in Pennsylvania. It’s still not as fast as I’d like and I’m upgrading this spring to a Jamis Renegade Exile. I love riding the crushed limestone because it’s mostly level and you can really get cruising with minimal effort.

    Reply

  54. This video obviously made for the roadies, mtb people don’t need to “know how to ride on gravel.” Riding a bike isn’t that hard no matter where you are. It’s as easy as riding a bike.

    Reply

  55. Gravel is THE road riding for mountain bikers. I absolutely love 100K+ gravel grinds for literally every reason specified in this video; off the main roads, away from cars, sliding around corners like a big kid.

    Reply

  56. I'm a kid and I skid. I use my brakes so my head don't ake. I sometimes get out of the sattle so can can go to Seattle. I use my big ring so I don't ping. I use treads so I don't hit those peds.

    Reply

  57. I take the less grippiest places of the corner just to hammer my rear brake and try to drift 😂 absolutely worth it

    Reply

  58. I love gravel riding… but have struggled with some urology issues since long summer miles took a toll. Be certain you have a properly fit bike and especially a seat that does not impact your nether regions. More gravel means more vibration.

    Reply

  59. Came here because I was baffled by this 'gravel' craze, turns out I've been riding those suckers ever since I was born.
    Bike + All Terrain Tyres = Aussie Roadster (now gravel bike).
    Hands up from my Aussie pals who live in the country, all our roads suck!✌
    Never thought it would become a sport though, but it's a funny world.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *