Are you new to gravel biking? Whether coming from the world of road cycling or completely new to cycling, we put together this gear guide to help get you started. This overview should help give you an introduction of what you should bring on your first gravel ride.
If you are also interested in exploring different routes to ride, we have that covered too, hop on over to our routes pages or even our official ‘Ride with GPS’ page so you can enjoy some tested routes. Looking for more details about tips and what to expect check out our “Getting Started” page.
Additionally feel free to reach out to us on Facebook page and join our community to ask us any questions you may have not covered here or in our blog.
What is a gravel bike and do I have to purchase one?
It goes without saying you’ll need some type of bike for gravel cycling, but lets review what types of bikes are common. Does it have to be a specific “gravel only” bike by name? No, not necessarily, though there may be some advantages to a trendy gravel bike depending on your terrain. The name “gravel bike” is more encompassing of an all terrain bike or adventure bike additionally, a mountain bike is perfectly suited as a “gravel bike” and some people even prefer a hard tail mountain bike to a drop bar gravel bike. Additionally if you are just dipping your toe in the water on very hard packed dirt roads a hybrid bike fitted with larger tires(32mm and up) could also work great, you can even blaze light paths with a single gear beach cruiser if you so desired. The most important factor here is you need a bike that you are comfortable on that has large enough tires and gearing that you can manage on your chosen paths.
Some bike specifications to consider
Tire size – depending on where you are riding you may want larger tires but for most terrain a 35mm – 47mm tire is the most common among gravel bikes(and typically what you will receive standard on a new “gravel” bike). I currently use 38’s as my all around Florida tire that work great in most places.
Saddle and Bar positioning – You want to make sure your bike is setup for a comfortable ride for a long adventure outing. Doing some short rides around the neighborhood to really dial in your positioning of everything with your pedals as well is likely a good idea so you can focus on enjoying your adventure.
A more detailed blog post about bike specifications with a much deep dive is in the works and will be linked here.
If you are coming from the road OR are a complete beginner one thing to keep in mind is you need to be self sufficient. Whether exploring a new route in the middle of nowhere or one closer to the city you will likely be pretty far from any support. This means you need to be ready to handle whatever is thrown your way to get your bike up and running again. From fixing a flat to something rattling loose and even keeping yourself fueled, it’s a good idea to be prepared.
Things you should carry include:
- Plenty of water
- Snacks/Food (eating each hour of riding is typically a good idea)
- C02 or micro bike pump (or both, I carry both)
- Navigation (Example: bike computer)
- Cell Phone
- Spare tire tubes ( a good idea even if you have tubeless tires)
- Tire patch kit (if tubeless)
- Multi-tool (there are some junky ones out there, make sure yours has relevant tools)
Where does all of this stuff go? Well, you have a couple options. You can either fit most of this stuff into a saddle bag, a bike keg container (pictured left at top of image), your jersey or a fanny pack. Just somewhere you know it will be handy when/if you need it.
LEGAL DISCLAIMER - RIDE AT YOUR OWN RISK
Florida Gravel Biking website (www.floridagravelbiking.com) and other platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Ride with GPS – RWGPS, STRAVA) provide information for the public on bicycling opportunities in or out of the state of Florida. Bicycling can be a dangerous activity and regardless of what is presented on this website, users always engage in recreational activities at their own risk.
User assumes all risk and liability for any action in relation to the usage of information and routes on this website and floridagravelbiking.com, including if actions result in injury, death, loss or damage of personal property or other complications. Florida Gravel Biking, its partners, volunteers, associates, and contributors accept no liability. Route information and advice is provided as a planning resource only and is not guaranteed to be accurate or complete, and in no way should replace your own due diligence, research, and safety precautions.
All users are advised to check current conditions before embarking on any route, including weather, surface conditions, closures and safety precautions. Riders should obey all laws including public and private land usage restrictions and guidelines and carry adequate safety and navigational equipment. Read our Terms & Disclaimer below.