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How To Crush Your Gravel Ride

How To Crush Your Gravel Ride

– Riding gravel is fun. Crashing on gravel is not so much fun. Earlier this year, I got
a stone in my kneecap, and I had to get it removed surgically, like I had to be put under, and they had to take it out of my kneecap. If that’s not the most
hardcore thing out there, then I’m not sure what is. I feel like tattoos, piercings,
all that does not compare to having a rock
literally under your skin. So I think rocks are the next big thing, if you want to be a hardcore gravel rider. I’ve thrown together some tips that I think are going to help
you crush your next gravel ride, that I have learned from over the years of riding much skinnier tires, and it wasn’t on a gravel bike, hopefully to help you not crash, and keep rocks out of your knee. (rhythmic techno music) All right, now I want you to use your imagination a little bit. Imagine you’re riding on a smooth, practically perfect pavement road. You’re enjoying the rivers that you pass, the wildlife you’re among, and in a split-second, it’s boom! Loose, crazy gravel. Rocky stuff all underneath your tires. The first thing you
got to do, don’t panic. Do not tense up, be loose, float, letting the bike absorb the rocks, and go where it needs to be. Today, I’m running Continental
Cyclocross Speed 35c Tires, which is more than enough tire, especially with a little bit of finesse. It rolls fast, it covers
bumps like these with ease, but if you’re going to crush the gravel, you need to know about tire pressure. Now imagine an ice rink
with marbles all over it, and then try to ride your bike on it. That is what too much pressure
on gravel like this would be, and I would say anything over 50 pounds of pressure is going to
give you that effect, where your tire is not moving at all, and it’s just getting
shot all over the place. Just deflect, deflect, bleah. You want to have more like
30, 35 pounds of pressure, where your tire is acting like
a little bit of suspension, it’s moving with the ground so that you don’t slice or pinch flat. (humorous music) (rhythmic techno music) So we’re talking about cornering. Now, especially on gravel like this, but really on any gravel,
but this smooth stuff like this, you never want to be turning your front tire
(bike skidding) because it is a great way
to get a rock in your knee. Instead, when you’re riding
gravel, you want to be thinking about how you’re going
to set up for the turn. For this I want to be as long as possible, so I make the least amount of turn. Lean with the bike,
and go through the turn without making any sharp turns, where I’ll lose my contact patch. If I just do a long line,
and I lean the bike, I’m going to have a nice shot to go right through the apex of the turn, and there’ll be no crashes. So what do you do if things get bad? Well, a tip of the hat
to my good, old friend, actually I don’t know
him at all, John Tomac, but he is my childhood idol. I always credit John with being the guy that taught me about how to tripod, meaning getting your
leg out in front of you. Basically, if it’s a oh boy moment, you’ve got to get a leg out,
because it’ll protect you when you’re going to go down. It’ll keep you up and you can kind of kick your way through something. In all seriousness,
beginners should even try to master the technique
of tripoding because, in a situation like
gravel, or an off-camber, or another thing that you’ll come into with off-road, or gravel,
cyclocross riding, learning how to tripod
is one of the essentials. Riding in the drops on any bike, but really on your
gravel bike, is awesome. It’s a beautiful thing, I
mean, all of your friends that are riding mountain bikes
that have the wide stance and the suspension forks, that’s cool, but (bike skidding) being able to modulate
your speed in the drops. I always hear, “Oh, I
never use the drops.” Having that lower center of gravity, allowing you to get your
bum way behind the back of the bike, keeps your bike
stable and in full control. Obviously, being on the hoods,
great for just riding along. Being on the tops is awesome
for when you’re climbing, especially on gravel,
or really on anything, but being in the drops
is for full crush mode. Do you think you are ready
to crush some gravel now, after all those tips? If you like the video,
leave us a comment below. If you want to see more
awesome gravel videos, check out over here on the right, and if you want to subscribe to GCN, click right in the center.

100 comments on “How To Crush Your Gravel Ride

  1. You should have just drank a little whiskey and bit on a bullet instead of being put under for the rock extraction.

  2. awesome. on my route to work i have to go past a few trees where the branches are quite low. its annoying cos i have to duck down. is there any special bike i can buy for this type of ride? or is there a low branch tyre pressure that i could use please? im medium weight, thanks. oh and my faveourite colour is green.

  3. Thanks for the weight / psi chart 👍 Shame you only cater for riders upto 185lbs but useful all the same…

  4. Question for you GCN I have 33c tires on my Merida cyclocross that I use to gravel (very much) can I fit a 35C or more in my MERIDA Comp, 22 mm wheels? I know I have room in the fork but how do I know my wheels will fit bigger tires?

  5. Are those psi numbers for tubless tires? What if you ride with tubes? What's a good pressure for wide tires?

  6. Jeremy ur my new man crush bumping Si to standby 😂🤪 how timely I turned on a gravel road on my road bike with skinny Pirelli tires and bam fresh gravel how I didn’t go down I can’t fathom but I certainly peed my bibs a little 😂😂🤪

  7. Could someone explain why riding trails like this on that cx road bike combination with stiff fork, narrow tires and bars is more fun than riding the same route on proper xc bike with 2.3 tires, wide bars and smooth suspension fork? That crazy something looks like made by marketing and now people trying to fight for make gravel bikes rideable in that conditions by endless improvements like wider and wider tires, bars, better forks etc. Its just a trend for sucking the rest of coins from Smiths pocket.
    20 years ago the main goal was to make one bike for everything. Now they talking to us: you need to have 5 bikes in your garage for different occasions. Thats funny.

  8. Can I just check, unclipping for the tripod – does it mean unclipping at the top of the stroke AND stopping pedalling at the same time, or do you stop pedalling in advance? Do you ever unclip not at the top?

  9. A lot of theories around tyre pressure. Maybe a bit more in depth explanation with theory supporting recommendation. I ride 650B surely different tyre pressure rules apply. This is our connection to the gravel/road so can't be to thorough on the subject.

  10. 🤘 rocks… Sorry 😅✌️ just kidding 🤭. Sorry to hear about what happened to your knee. Glad to see you back on two wheels

  11. Yes!!! Thanks for all of that. I just finished a 100km gravel bikepacking ride! How do you deal with snapping turtle nests on gravel trails?

  12. Would you make a video on how to motivate ourselves when riding solo? Few days ago I did over 50 miles in Yorkshire Dales. Physically I was fine but found this ride mentally challenging. Not only I was climbing for good few miles, but at the same time there was nothing on both sides of the road but fields. Thanks

  13. One thing to add about riding loose, coming from a guy who does a lot of gravel in the driftless region of Iowa: When it gets really bumpy, get off of the saddle! Let the bike work and you won't waste a bunch of energy getting pounded in the butt

  14. 35C tires are "more than enough tire"? Crazy talk! Who let the threshold junkie with a pit crew opine on tire width for gravel?

  15. Great first solo video. I have zero interest in gravel as a split brian roadie / mountain biker but i really enjoyed the presenting style.

  16. First: excelent tips!
    Second: I love Jeremy for the little time he is with GCN. The guy is so fun, interesting and great in front of the camera!
    Stoked to see more content with him!

  17. Interesting that the tires are called cyclocross, but are 35mm. I thought UCI limited tire width to 33mm for CX?

  18. Great video. Perhaps future videos could include a look at light weight knee and elbow pads, tire width, and going tubeless to avoid pinch flats, and also the use of dropper posts on gravel bikes. With 1X drivetrains, some people have managed to use the spare shift lever to control the dropper post. How easy is that to do? Also, companies like Fox Racing do seem to provide jerseys and shorts made of heavier protective material. Could that kind of kit be useful in preventing excessive "gravel-rash?"

  19. Cool stuff! A 'tripoding' for beginners video would be nice…I have been riding bikes all my life and do all the things you recommend kind of naturally…apart from the tripoding…

  20. Is gravel riding a American invention?…..or have we brits been doing it all the time?. Just love what you guys do for us!!

  21. This is my first year riding gravel. A couple of months ago, I switched to 38mm tubeless and run about 35 – 40 psi. I never looked back! I ride the Specialized Diverge Comp. Attempted the DK 200 this year with it and it handled beautifully. I'll be riding in Gravel Wolds, too.

  22. Bro, i want to buy a cycle, but i don't know which one is better.
    Please tell me which one is better cycle for offroad under 10,000.

  23. Excuse me, but what does "crush" mean? What information are you trying to convey to us when you offer to tell us "how to crush [a] gravel ride"?

  24. Looking forward to getting a gravel bike someday. Great tips for when I do. And as a viewer from the USA, it's neat to see plants and scenery that look a little more familiar than the British countryside (no offense to the British countryside of course!)

  25. Well if I ever get the chance to try gravel I hope that my experience riding motocross when a young man will help. What do you think? All the corners were tripoding as far as I recall.

  26. Lol ive always ridden gravel with 28mm tires at 80psi and im lightweight. Feels terrible but I dont want to ding my rims 🙂

  27. How are you maintaining the production value with J-Pows videos? Not like you fly the GCN film crew over once a month for his content…or do you?

  28. Stoked to scroll down the comments and see how well JPow's being received on GCN. Such a good vibe from him, deffo looking forward to more.

  29. this video actually came in handy (well, footwise) when i almost crashed today – on what we can all agree is the worst kind of gravel, gravel on a turn on a road that made me slide off. though i doubt that i actually "tripoded" consciously and because of the good advice here…

  30. Could not agree more that tyre (or tire ;-)) pressure is extremely important, but please explain how it relates to different tire widths, and whether you ride tubeless or not

  31. Jeez that's some bike you got there, £3,800 is a bit steep for me though. Gonna give this gravel thing a go and purchase a Marin Gestalt x10…! Anyone out there recommend the Gestalt x10…..?

  32. I'll give one more tip: know the limits of yourself and your bike. Recently I did an 80km gravel ride with 32mm Gatorskins (slicks) as my tyres, and while there were some hairy moments I got through it just fine by observing the riding surface and being careful with my line and especially cornering.

  33. Is there any way to make fist sized gravel tracks comfortable on 'cross tyres? Is there a knack to descending on a surface like that where you don't trust your traction but can't see far enough to be confident just rolling over it anyway?

  34. I ride more single track like gravel and find it better to be on the hoods as I can maneuver the bike better. It is just to stable on drops.

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