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Old 2018-08-23, 03:51 PM   #1
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Lone Butte BC Canada Age 66
Posts: 111
Learning to ride on gravel

Hi all. I just signed up a few minutes ago. A little background would be that, I have no previous uni experience and I am 65 yrs old. I live in the bush on a gravel road and the nearest town is 50 minutes away, so no pavement other than major roads and the Hwy. I bought a 26” Nimbus Muni 14 days ago and have tried to ride it everyday for an hour. I have been able to go to 60 feet at the most on my gravel driveway. I mount by putting the back of the wheel against a board and hold onto a tall sawhorse, then I lean forward and start pedaling. I have lowered the seat a bit so my knees are bent more than what I have read to be optimum for experienced riders. I have lowered the psi in the tire so it is softer than the recommended pressure. I believe my difficulty in learning to ride is as follows. The gravel driveway is uneven and rough, I don’t have a wall or fence to hang onto and that I have chosen a 26” wheel to learn on. Does anyone have any helpful observations out there. Thank you. I will ride my muni
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Old 2018-08-23, 04:59 PM   #2
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Location: Pacific Northwest, USA
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If you can ride 60 feet on gravel you are well on your way to mastering the uni. I ride most of the time on gravel and as long as it is not too loose it is not bad. A suggestion when you can is to ride faster with one hand on a seat handle. When the going gets hard, speed is your friend.

This kind of gravel is kind of a pain:

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Old 2018-08-23, 05:12 PM   #3
Join Date: Aug 2018
Location: Lone Butte BC Canada Age 66
Posts: 111
Learning to ride on gravel

That sounds like a good tip JimT, I’ll give it a try. There is a rough ball diamond a few miles away. The grass is not cut very short along the chain link fence line but I’ll give that a test ride also today. Thanks
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Old 2018-08-23, 09:43 PM   #4
Join Date: Jun 2016
Location: Burns Lake, BC, Canada
Posts: 278
Keep riding, raise your seat up a bit, and learn ambidextrous.
Oh yah... learn to freemount so you're not dependant.

Because we don't have pavement in our neighbourhoods, I too had to learn on gravel and grass.

Learning on the hard stuff will make you a better rider.

Awesome choice of activity!
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Old 2018-08-23, 09:52 PM   #5
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Depends what you mean by "gravel". Strictly speaking, gravel is smooth rounded stones such as you might find in a river bed, bigger than coarse sand and smaller than pebbles. It is often used for driveways and can b a challenging surface to ride on.

However, the word is often used for any loose stones, rounded or otherwise. This is a challenging and tiring surface to ride on. Often the best way is to stand up and feel your way "step by step".

You describe yourself as mounting against a backboard while holding something. If you are not yet freemounting, then riding on any loose unmade surface is ambitious. Freemounting is the first step to slow speed skills, idling, and still standing, and all the various things you need to be able to do without thinking when the surface below your wheel is unreliable.

You clearly have what it takes. Your age is not a factor: there are plenty here who are about the same age and older. What it takes is determination, practice, and the ability to relax in the saddle. Keep the saddle comfortably high for now, and look a few yards/metres ahead rather than down at the ground.

Good luck, and welcome to the forum: the friendliest place on the internet.
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Old 2018-08-24, 03:43 AM   #6
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Location: Between Paris, Grenoble, NY and NC
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Agreed with Mike. Also, on that sort of surface, a pretty big tire would help as it would "float" above the gravel more than a skinny one. But bigger tire are not the easiest thing to handle during the learning process.

Last edited by pierrox; 2018-08-24 at 03:45 AM.
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Old 2018-08-26, 04:59 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by lowerstackmac View Post
I believe my difficulty in learning to ride is as follows. The gravel driveway is uneven and rough, I don’t have a wall or fence to hang onto and that I have chosen a 26” wheel to learn on.
I'm guessing that the gravel driveway should speed up your learning, even though the results don't seem that way. And the 26" is probably a good size for the gravel driveway. If you've ridden 60 feet already, you're probably past the point of needing a fence or wall. Pretty soon you may get tired of dragging around your backstop, so perhaps now's the time to start practicing free mounts (something I really struggled with as a beginner). Sounds like you're off to a good start!
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gravel, learning, ride

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