Are you ready to embark on a cycling journey like no other? Gravel riding, with its blend of excitement, exploration, and off-road challenges, awaits you in the breathtaking landscapes of Malaysia. If you’re a beginner gravel cyclist seeking to conquer gravel roads with confidence, you’ve come to the right place. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll equip you with the essential skills and tips to navigate the world of gravel riding like a pro. From mastering tire pressure to perfecting your cornering technique, we’ll cover it all. So before grab your gravel bike, let’s dive into the must-know gravel riding skills and tips that will set you up for unforgettable adventures.
1. Knowing the Right Tire Pressure
Tire pressure isn’t a skill, but it plays a crucial role in your gravel riding experience. The correct tire pressure will make your future rides a lot more enjoyable. When it comes to gravel riding in Malaysia, the type of surface you ride on determines the optimal tire pressure. If you’re on fine gravel, you can get away with slightly higher tire pressure for better rolling efficiency. However, when facing rough and bumpy terrain, it’s recommended to lower the tire pressure to provide more cushioning and improve comfort. Find the right tire pressure boundaries on each tyre wall.
Also read: 5 Tips To Never Get Tire Puncture
2. Position for Success
If you’ve previously done a lot of road riding, you’ll notice that gravel biking requires more movement and flexibility. Imagine going down some technically challenging bumpy sections on your gravel bike. In such situations, it’s beneficial to get out of the saddle, place your hands on the handlebars, and position your pedals at the three and nine o’clock positions. By doing so, you allow your body to act as a suspension, letting the bike move beneath you. It’s crucial to stay relaxed while riding, as tension and a tight grip on the handlebars can lead to fatigue and a rougher ride. Embrace a more dynamic riding style and let the bike flow beneath you.
3. Cornering Techniques
Gravel roads in Malaysia can vary significantly in terrain, from solid gravel to loose gravel and even sandy sections. Adjusting your cornering technique based on the terrain is vital. On a typical road, you have more freedom to choose your path. However, on gravel, it’s essential to adapt your angle for each type of terrain. Take the opportunity to practice on a good gravel road, experimenting with different angles and techniques. This will enhance your cornering skills and give you more control when your bike slides out. Embrace the learning process and enjoy the thrill of cornering on gravel.
What about tackling rough terrains with your bike? Gravel riding often presents challenging and uneven ground, where bumps and vibrations become inevitable. When encountering these bumpy sections, you might feel your hands and arms shaking, and perhaps even sense the vibrations resonating through your teeth. It’s natural to have an instinctive reaction to tense up and grip the handlebars tightly, but it’s actually more beneficial to resist that impulse. Instead, aim for a more relaxed approach by maintaining a slightly softer grip. Be mindful that gripping too tightly can cause your hands to slip off the handlebars, which can compromise your control.
5. Riding Over Obstacles
You’ll come across all sorts of things on your rides that you might not realize you can easily roll over, like bumps or obstacles. But don’t worry, there’s a fun way to practice and improve your skills! All you need is a piece of wood, something you can easily find. Place it on the ground and get ready to bounce your bike over it. Start by putting your bike’s front wheel on the wood and then lift your back wheel. It’s easier than you think! You can even try doing a little wheelie, where both your feet and the back wheel go up together, giving you a little jump. It’s a thrilling feeling!
Once you’re feeling more confident with smaller logs or dowels, you can level up and challenge yourself with larger obstacles. Find bigger logs or even large bricks to jump over. You’ll be amazed at how your skills improve with practice. So, hop on your bike, find some obstacles to conquer, and have a blast while honing your gravel bike handling skills. Remember, practice makes perfect, and soon you’ll be rolling over anything that comes your way like a pro!
6. Riding in the Sand
Riding on sandy sections can present a unique challenge for gravel cyclists. While driving through firm sand is similar to riding on soft gravel, loose sand requires a different approach. Maintaining a good pace is crucial in sandy conditions, giving you the best chance of successfully crossing the sand. If you approach the sand at a low speed, your bike will likely lose control, wobbling from side to side. To overcome this, relax on the bike and let it find its path through the sand. Keep pedaling steadily and allow the bike to float on the surface. Enjoy the adventure of riding through sand and embrace the unpredictable nature of the terrain.
7. Practice Makes Perfect
The more time you spend on your gravel bike, the more comfortable and skilled you’ll become. Embrace the opportunity to explore different terrains and have fun playing around with your bike. Dedicate time to practice and improve your gravel riding skills. Try out new techniques, challenge yourself on various surfaces, and enjoy the freedom and excitement that gravel riding offers. Remember, the more you ride, the more confident you’ll feel. So hop on your bike, ride wherever your heart desires, and savor every moment of your gravel adventures.
Congratulations on completing this essential guide to gravel riding skills and tips for beginner gravel cyclists in Malaysia. By understanding the importance of tire pressure, mastering your position, cornering with confidence, navigating bumpy terrain, riding through sand, and dedicating time to practice, you’re well on your way to becoming a skilled gravel cyclist.
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