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Riding and Survival Skills Tips for improving your riding skills and your survival on the road.

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Old 08-19-2008, 04:37 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Riding on a gravel road.... with a street bike

I have never had the need nor the desire to go anywhere that wasn't paved.

So, any tips for riding a gravel road?
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Old 08-19-2008, 05:17 PM   #2 (permalink)
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I have a sloping kilometre long gravel driveway with a bend and I occasionally ride on metal roads (loose chip), I maintain a steady pace under acceleration, pick my lines carefully, avoid braking and steer dirt bike style. I can't really explain the steering part any other way, maybe more flexible than on the road.


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Old 08-19-2008, 06:22 PM   #3 (permalink)
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"Keep it loose" was the best advice given to me.

The bike will try to follow ruts and groves in the road and probably feel a little wobble underneath you, but don't fight it. Give yourself extra margin of safety and let the bike do it's thing.

I treat choppy side winds with identical care/technique.
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Old 08-19-2008, 10:10 PM   #4 (permalink)
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You nailed it Brian, "Keep it loose !" that's explains it.



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Old 08-20-2008, 01:52 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Skittles,

This IS good stuff to know and share.

You'll notice it most when you go directly from hard pavement to a soft gravel road. Best advice is as from posters above - relax, don't panic, and don't fight it. You sort of "smoosh" into the gravel, and the feeling at first is much different.

Find some old gravel parking lot factories on a Sunday when they are closed, and practice a bit.

Sand is another one that'll surpise you, ut basically the same advice - stay loose, go with the flow.

Make sure your riding buddy isn't directly behind you though, as stones will be a' flyin'.
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Old 08-21-2008, 01:04 AM   #6 (permalink)
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This is one of the reasons old dirt riders can often handle road bikes better, especially when the surface is less than brilliant.

"Soft Hands" is what I was always taught, plus keep the weight back a little if you can, and respect the throttle and brake. No sudden movements. You can still use the front brake to slow you down, but gently and only in a straight line. If you must brake in a turn, always use the back, but try to avoid it altogether by getting your corner speed set before you turn.

Practice is the best way to figure it out.

Dirt bike steering is kind of where you stay upright in your body, but turn the bike under you at a lean. As John said, hard to describe here, but go have a look at a few motocross vids and you'll get the picture.

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