Quite often I’m asked what is the best technique for riding on gravel roads. In fact, just today, I received an email from a Sherry Nealson, she states, “I have a long gravel driveway with a long down hill slope and a 90 degree turn at the bottom, I’ve dropped my Harley 3 times in the past month going both up and down the driveway no matter how slow I try to go, what should I do?”
I must admit, I am tempted to reply, “how about paving the driveway”, but since this question comes up so often, here goes. Why gravel appears to be such a problem on a heavy bike is because the tires tend to sink into the gravel. The deeper the gravel, the more you can sink. The best defense is a little momentum. In other words, rather than following your instincts, pick up the speed a little. This will keep the tires from sinking into the gravel and have the bike more or less float above it on the surface. Turn your handlebars as little as possible since a sharp turn of the front tire will have a plow effect and will cause a tip over. Also, rely on the rear brake for stopping as well as control. I can’t say exactly how fast to go but if you’re having a problem on a particular road or your own driveway, pick up the speed a little at a time until you find the bike easier to control. Oh, and whenever possible, pave that driveway.
Remember, all it takes is a little practice. Good Luck!
By Jerry “Motorman” Palladino, ridelikeapro.com