Off-road Biking: What You Need to Get Started
By Rebecca Rusch
Starting a new sport can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. What attracted me most to the world of gravel riding was being able to explore so many different terrains by bike. It combines the best of road and mountain biking, allowing you to explore and discover what both worlds offer. To really enjoy gravel cycling, you must be prepared with the essentials.
Here are the things you need to get started:
First and foremost, you need a plan. Know where you want to go and have the correct tools to get there. Prepare and know your route ahead of time by using the Garmin Connect™ app, then load the route to your navigation device.
Edge® 1030 Plus
This is my main training partner and essential tool for mountain, gravel, fat biking and training. I don’t get on my bike without my Edge. It has a large screen, so I can see my data while riding. It records that data for me and links to my training plan, and it has great navigation.
Now that you know where you are going, let’s make sure you have what you need to get there. You need a reliable bike that fits your needs. The Liv Devote Advanced is my bike of choice for so many reasons. It allows me to go anywhere: gravel roads, adventure cycling, even single track, and the lightweight frame design is created specifically for women to maximize our muscle makeup and performance.
Safety is a huge component of biking, which is why I never get on my bike without first putting on my helmet. Find one that fits you, sits level and low on your forehead and is comfortable when strapped.
Outdoor endurance activity requires layering so you’re prepared for anything. Gloves and arm warmers can make or break a cold gravel ride. Don’t forget sunglasses, either. The Velocio Women’s Ultralight hooded jacket is my new absolute favorite, take-on-every-ride summer/winter jacket. Ultralight, flyweight and a little stretchy with a trail-focused fit that covers your back end from any splashing mud and rain. And arguably the most important piece of clothing for keeping you in the saddle is bib shorts with a great chamois (padding) that fit you. I choose Velocio bibs for my gravel rides. They have thermal to lightweight options and a chamois designed specifically for women that allows for maximum comfort where it matters most.
Hydration and Nutrition
You can’t keep going if you aren’t fueling your body the right way. Know what works for you and what keeps your body happy and energized. I always include a few bottles of my GU Roctane Energy drink to go along with my GU Energy chews and gels. You must keep your calories in and your energy up to have a good ride and make it to your goal.
There you have it — now get out there and start riding!