A Surprise Gravel Road

This obviously isn't the gravel road, but it's the same trip...<br>when I was still oblivious to what was to come..haha!

This obviously isn't the gravel road, but it's the same trip...
when I was still oblivious to what was to come..haha!

So, my husband and I rode to the mountains on our Kawasaki Vulcan's for a big family vacation. We rented a big house with the extended family and brought our bikes so we could enjoy some nice rides away from home. We had never been to this particular place before and to my chagrin the last half mile was all loose gravel road. I have been riding for 3 years and feel pretty comfortable but never had to do this before. I was freaking out! Not on the outside..I was holding the bike as steady as possible even though it felt like any second it was going to slip right out from under me. We were supposed to be riding all week but I haven't gotten on it and don't plan on it until we have to leave. My husband has, but he's much more experienced than me. He's disappointed but trying to be understanding. Am I overreacting? I mean, a half mile isn't that big of deal but it really terrifies me. I always thought gravel and bikes don't mix at all but my husband says as long as you are very steady and don't do any quick turns or breaking then it's perfectly fine. He says it feels worse than it is. Any thoughts?

Comments for A Surprise Gravel Road

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Jul 18, 2011
The suggestions are great, Thanks!
by: Linda

Well, I am home from my vacation. Because of all these great suggestions I ventured out and rode the last half of it every day. The area was a great ride, it was just that dumb road getting out and then back in.

One of the things that helped a lot was how I held the handlebars. Normally I lean pretty hard on them. It's just the way I sit on my bike. Well, I sat up really straight, taking the weight off the handlebars and just set my hands on them for guidance and boy, what a difference! It still felt bumpy but I didn't feel it in the handlebars so much. It went from being terrifying to just scary..haha. I stayed in 2nd gear, 10-15 mph and No front brake.

Thanks again everyone! I love this site!

Jul 18, 2011
by: Anonymous

I live down a mile long gravel lane and the only way out to the highway. I've learned to keep it steady, no quick maneuvers, hardly ever go over second gear. Use all your arm strength to keep those handles in control. Watched my son once and he slipped and slid all over in front of me, hahaha.... didn't know how to do it..

Sometimes when it rains this gravel becomes mud and now I can get through that too. We even went thru slush to get out. .... love where I live but hate that lane.

Jul 16, 2011
Speed n Gravel Never Mix
by: Robin_uganda

Here in Africa, we get tons of off road of course, but I never take it for granted. Slowing down & staying super steady is the key, then since our roads are always so rutted, it becomes a fun challenge to look for the smoothest part to take. You get real accurate in where to put your wheels =) With gravel I always look for the flattest part--sloped gravel is far more difficult than flat. Take your time and you'll find it begins to become a fun challenge.

Jul 15, 2011
Gravel Accidents
by: Tina

This stuff is truly scary...you never know when it'll be around the corner, since I live in Colorado and roads here are curvy.

Recently, a guy from another forum that I'm active on had hit a patch of gravel in the road, threw him off and he died instantly. So, so sad and dangerous.

Jul 15, 2011
by: Yvonne - NC

This same thing happened to me recently in southern Illinois. My son was following his GPS, ha, ha. Ended up riding about 15 miles on gravel, took it slow & easy, saw some nice wine country. My husband was more worried for me than I was. It was an experience, but, you never know if you'll drop it or not that is why I always wear long pants and boots. Safety first. Keep the rubber on the road.

Jul 15, 2011
Gravel Roads Grrrr
by: mahnah

I completely understand, I live off the gravel portion of our road and have a very steep yep you guessed it gravel driveway. Do not touch your front brake! I learned that after dumping my new bike twice in 3 days. I am still scared everytime I head down the driveway. I will never conquer it if I don't do it. Keep it steady speed and no front brake and you will be OK. Hopefully it is flat and not a hill. Up isn't as bad as down for me :)

Good luck!

Jul 15, 2011
Surprise Gravel
by: nie

If you don't feel comfortable don't do it...it reminds me of also my husband had ask me to ride with for the past 2 weeks or so (and I been waiting for that day he ask me). I didn't want to, it rains everytime and as much as I would of love to, I didn't feel comfortable riding on slippery roads. He is more experienced and has been riding for a long time. As for me, only a year or so. Do what your gut tells you when it comes to riding your motorcycle..!!

Jul 15, 2011
Go For It
by: Heather

I was riding back from NY when my friend leading the way took a wrong turn. We ended up riding about ten miles on gravel and a rocky road with hills and turns. I prayed the whole way. I was tense the whole time. By the end of it I was over my fear. I'm not looking to do it again but I'm afraid less and less when I encounter things in the road. If you are careful but not overly careful (u don't want to over react to feelings you feel) you will be OK. Go for it. You may get hurt but it won't kill you. You will only have to old your breath for a half a mile. You got in there and even though you hated it you made it. Don't let fear stop your good times. You will become a professional. And have a great time.

Jul 15, 2011
by: Dawn

I am deathly afraid of gravel for all the same reasons as everyone else. Nothing to do with the road, I broke my leg a year ago when some one wasn't paying attention and ran me into the median. Now, the thought of going down on that leg just petrifies me. With that being said, I try to take everything easy, but push myself and my limits knowing I'll never get better unless I practice and try!

Practice. Get out there and DO IT! Soon you'll only be a little afraid! ;) You can do it but not if you don't try.

Jul 15, 2011
He's right...
by: SueZ

...sometimes we hate to say that! You will run into much gravel through your riding career, you need to not freak out every time. Practice, practice!

Jul 15, 2011
by: Anonymous

Practice practice practice! I went out and looked for gravel when I first started riding .. I dont like it and will never like it .. But if you ride you need to know how to do all!! Use you back brake!!! I learned that the hard way! You go girl Ride!!

Jul 15, 2011
Gravel Riding
by: gypsy

I feel the same way. I have learned to use my clutch and not my brakes, try to get in a clear spot. I have ridden for 30 years and still scared of gravel, first and second gear only, remember keep your front wheel straight, your clutch is your best friend on gravel. Ride safe and have a great time, you can do it!

Peggy Hicks

Jul 15, 2011
by: Sharon

You have every right to be concerned. Many accidents happen at lower speeds and because of sand and gravel. My mother lives down just such a road and I have only gone to visit her twice on my bike. I went down parking my bike because I stopped on a tiny bit of sand accumulated in the space. I didn't see it. I managed to get out of the way except for my foot. I had Arlen Ness mirrors and they were pointed on the end. That end dug into my foot just below my toes. IF I had not been wearing riding boots it would have gone slam through my foot. So much for the silly people who wear flip flops.

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