Yep, I would see the gravel begin underneath my wheels and I would promptly grab for the brakes. The problem with gravel and uneven road surfaces is impaired traction. By braking, I was making the problem worse. So, learn from my mistakes.
When you see the gravel begin, remember these tips:
So off we went. The road narrowed further, and began an incline - we were confronted with curve after curve, pot holes filled with mud, and eventually, pure pea-sized rocks. Great.
The road widened, but the gravel surface persisted. I was concentrating and cursing, and then I spied a sign that made me want to cry: Caution: Gravel road for the next 56 miles.
56 miles of hell ahead.
It wasn't fun, but I got through it. What were my options? I could stop, have a little meltdown, and then ride on. I could stop and refuse to go further. I could turn around. OR, I could just take a deep breath and ride.
The road was truly memorable, and proved to me that gravel - while not fun - can be safely traveled by motorcycles. There were parts of the road where the gravel was thick, as if freshly laid. On this part of the road, the back wheel was frequently wobbly - but I just pushed on, knowing that to slow down - or brake - was not a good idea.
We learned later that most of our group had also taken this route, and that there were quite a few flat tires. So, in that respect, I was lucky. No one when down, and we all earned our cocktails at the end of the day.
Sometimes gravel roads take you to wonderful places that you would miss out on but for the gravel road.
In Europe, most castles are found at the end of a little gravel road. Some are even at the TOP of a narrow gravel road. But, seeing an ancient castle up close, as opposed to off in the distance is certainly worth the climb to the top of a little stone road. As least I'm not climbing the road on foot!
I remember being cheered on by other members of our group, when in Spain, I very carefully made my way up a steep, and curvy road to an old castle. Going down was also challenging, but I did it.
So, go for the gravel - do it slowly, carefully. Remember no abrupt braking. If you are really timid, put your feet down a bit until you get some confidence. Each road that you traverse will give you a sense of accomplishment, and you, too, will come to accept those bumpy gravel roads.