Riding your bike is a fantastic past time for most families, but it can also be a great way to keep fit in your adulthood too. Whether you are commuting, training or leisurely cycling, this activity can be integrated into your daily routine effortlessly which makes it such a popular way to stay on top of your health. There are many different types of cycling other than the standard way you learnt when you were younger. One of these techniques for cycling is on a gravel terrain, which is what we are going to look into further within this article. But there are also other types of biking too such as track, road, off-road etc.
What is Gravel Cycling?
Before we get into how to get involved with this popular cycling trend, we need to look into what it actually is. Biking off-road has always been popular with cyclists heading to tracks in the woods or mountains for a thrill which general road biking doesn’t give them. However, with the increase of gravel trails on the rise, manufacturers have adapted bikes and components to cope with the rough and rugged terrain.
Choosing the off-road approach to cycling is a great way to bike at your own pace and experiment with new and exciting trails. There are a number of differences between gravel cycling and your everyday road biking. Not only is it the terrain below your tyres, it also differs in the fact that by going off road you cut out the additional obstacles such as other cyclists, pedestrians and drivers and get to relax and enjoy the outdoors. This is one of the most significant reasons why gravel cycling has become an increasingly popular sport for those who love cycling and enjoying the environment outdoors.
Equipment Needed to Gravel Cycle
If you are thinking of taking up gravel cycling you will need to make sure that your equipment is up to scratch and your bike has been modified to cope with the rough terrain. Therefore, to assist you on your journey of discovering a new cycling technique we will look into the gear needed for you to have an enjoyable experience. Here are listed a few modifications you would need to make on your bike and what accessories you would need to purchase:
- Enhanced wheel frame
- Modified tyres
- Tyre sealant
- Bar bag
- Mountain bike pedals
- Cycling safety accessories
Ensuring that you have a smooth ride, you need an expert combination of wheel frames and tyres. Deep carbon fibre inner wheels are essential for absorbing the impact of the tough terrain on the gravel tracks. Along with this, choosing a wheel with a wider sizing increases the power of the bike through its rigidity and stability on the track. Plus, the fact deeper rims have impressive benefits in terms of aerodynamic lines to increase speed. The 40mm depth wheels can sometimes prove to cause a rough ride, however you can also purchase wheels with a smaller width such as 21.6mm which not only increases the width of the tyre, but you can also benefit from the durability of a wider than normal shaping.
Going hand in hand with choosing the right wheels for the bike, you need to pair them with the perfect tyres. When purchasing tyres you would need to pick one with a deeper thread to hold their grip on the gravel terrain. However, you also need to take into account the overall performance of the tyre as you will not only be on the gravel tracks, you may also come into contact with the road too.
As the loose gravel tracks can be harsh on the longevity of your tyres, you may need to pack a tyre sealant into your kit bag when going out cycling. This paste allows you to patch up punctures in the tyre while out on your bike until you can find a long term replacement to the component.
Speakiig of your kit bag, you may want to also invest in a bag which can attach to your handle bars or frame to give you a hands free approach to carrying your essentials. By attaching it to your bike, you are able to ride comfortably without having to carry a backpack.
When customizing or purchasing an off-road bike, you would need to take into consideration the pedals on the bike too. Unlike your everyday road pedals, specially designed mountain bike pedals are the preferred option. This is because these types of pedals have been created to resist clogging up with mud and debris compared to road bikes who are more curated for clear roads rather than tracks.
And don’t forget that you should always ensure that you have the essential cycling safety accessories too when riding on uneven terrains. Therefore, before heading out on your next gravel biking journey, you would need to ensure that you have comfortable cycling shoes, a helmet and protective gear such as gloves.
Get Involved with Gravel Cycling Today!
Throughout this post we have explored the basics and equipment needed for gravel cycling, but what you want to know now is how to get involved. Search for local cycling groups who do the type of biking you prefer, or with the right gear you can head out on a gravel cycle yourself or with your friends for a pace better suited to you. Be sure to have a look online to see what your options are regarding joining the gravel cycling community now.
If we have inspired you to grab your helmet and get back on your bike, then let us know over on our social media pages. Tell us how your experience with cycling on the gravel was, or if you even prefer another way of biking. You can also be sure to stock up on all of the cycling accessories you will ever need by shopping our range of gear on our online store – Sports Fitness.
This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury