Riding on Gravel

Staying in Control

Consider a gravel road to be like any other slippery surface, but with the added dimension of acting like a thousand miniature obstacles that can deflect your tires in random and competing directions. Sounds treacherous, but you can take control with a few simple steps.

Choose a path of “firmest” gravel, beaten down somewhat by other traffic. Keep speeds low so the gravel won’t be kicked up by the tires and damage your bike or hit you or any vehicle/rider following you. Don’t focus only on the ground directly in front of you or you’ll lose sight of your intended path; keep your eyes moving near and far along your path as you navigate the loose surface.

Don’t make any sudden changes of direction; keep your motorcycle as vertical as possible. Put more weight on the footrests to allow quicker upper body responses to maintain balance. To prevent arm fatigue from the continuous front-end deflections, don’t tense up on the handgrips. If you have to turn, rise off the seat slightly and allow the bike to lean beneath you as you turn gradually. Keep weight balanced front to back so you don’t “plow” into the gravel and push up a pile in front of you.

If you frequently ride on gravel roads, consider taking an MSF DirtBike School course to improve low-speed control on unpaved surfaces.

Copied from MSF News, October 2012, https://www.retsorg.org/NewsAndEvents/MSFeNews.aspx?ar=c90ed580-c1d1-4677-8d64-1a06ca989cc4