Winter Gravel Riding: A “How To”

If read my previous post about winter gravel riding, you probably thought — great, good for this crazy lady.  She gets out and rides her bike in questionable weather on sketchy surfaces, but I would NEVER.  Well, maybe I can convince you otherwise.  Here’s a quick list of things to consider should you want to venture out on gravel, snow covered or otherwise —

 

Find a bike.

You’d be surprised at what types of bikes you can ride on gravel. Commuters with wider tires, your mountain bike, a cyclocross bike, maybe even your road bike with wider tires on it.

Find some cold weather gear.

It doesn’t have to be fancy, cycling specific gear. If you’re a Moxie aficionado and live in a colder climate, you probably have cold weather gear for playing outdoors.  Throw on your regular snow boots, some thick socks, a base layer (a Moxie jersey and cycling shorts?), and cover with winter outerwear.  Voila!  You’re ready to hit the road.

Just get going.

Riding outside in the winter is scary, I get it.  Give yourself permission to bail.  Let yourself ride around the block and if you hate it, go home.  It’s okay.

Find a destination.

Bike to the coffee shop down the street or to a nearby friend’s house, or heck, maybe even to your local fast food joint.  Have a destination in mind and you’re more likely to stay on your bike a bit longer!

Meet some friends.

If you’re intimidated by combining multiple new things at once (cold weather? gravel?) wait until spring to get out.  Around my neck of the woods in Minnesota, there are newbie-friendly rides specifically to introduce women cyclists to gravel!

 


 

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Despite the lack of snow, this picture was taken on a blustery winter day!

If you end up loving winter riding and heading out for longer rides, here are a few more things to consider.

Hazards.

Ice, unexpected weather conditions, and even friendly dogs that dodge in front of your wheel can mess up your ride.  Winter riding often brings out the unexpected.  I’ve also found that I’m more likely to get flats during my offroad adventures. Be prepared to use your flat kit or have a friend on speed dial to come pick you up!

Find a way to get motivated.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve biked to my favorite donut shop to get my rear out the door in the winter.  Sign up for a challenge or find other like-minded individuals to go along.

You may need extra gear at this point…

I tend to pack extra chemical warmers if I have my head on straight, as well as a vest or windbreaker to pull out if the weather conditions change.  I also own studded tires – tires with knobby metal bits on them, made to grip ice – and pull these out when conditions are poor.

 

Photo credits: Melissa Hunter


 

I hope this list makes you more inclined to try either winter biking, gravel biking, or both!  If you have questions please post in the comments below and I’ll reply!PrintMelissa is a Moxie Cycling Ambassador and blog contributor. Check out her bio here!

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About Melissa Hunter

I’m a newer cyclist who gravitates towards non-pavement rides of absurd distances. I find peace when I’m in the woods or out and away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I tend to be tenacious, driven, and maybe a little stubborn too.

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