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Gravel cycling

I'm riding my second gravel ride. This time the race course is 50 miles. Any tips on tire pressure, what to carry on my person and or bike, etc. I'd like to be prepared to tackle the longer distance on my Specialized Sequoia.

5 Replies

Hello @davepetr10  & congrats on your second big gravel ride! 

Every tire has a range of pressure- typically printed on the side wall of the tire (something like 30-60 psi), and the terrain will help you dictate what part of the range you'll want to be in. For hard packed dirt roads, or "Gucci gravel", you'll typically want to ride on the higher side of the pressure range to have the least amount of rolling resistance. And on the flip side, if you end up on more rugged, even single-track kind of gravel- you'll want to be on the lower end of the scale to help give you the most amount of traction. On long gravel rides I may do a lot of tweaking of my tire pressure for different parts of the trail/road, so I always bring a good pump so I can adapt easily.

The rules are- don't go above the recommended (the tire could blow off the rim), and don't go below the range as it'll make you susceptible to flats.

Are you running your tires with tubes or tubeless? I'm a big fan of going tubeless for gravel rides so I can get away with a lower pressure on rougher terrain and not have to worry about a pinch flat.If you are not currently running tubeless, but are curious about it, I'd recommend stopping by one of our shops to see if your set up will allow for an easy conversion, this has been a real game changer for me on long gravel rides.

For any long ride I typically have a backup tube (sometimes a few if it's a REALLY long ride), patch kit, tire boot, hand pump, multi-tool, tire lever and my own mini roadside kit (which has  a little bit of grease, small replacement bolts & washers, presta valve/schrader valve adapter..etc).

Hope this helps and have a great ride!

At REI, we believe time outside is fundamental to a life well lived.

Props on doing a 50 miler! Where is it taking place?

- I'm the best at being me when I'm outside
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Since @REI-JacintaH provided a thorough list of what to pack for tools and supplies, I thought I would add what I usually bring for non-bike-related supplies. 

For a gravel ride, I usually use a hydration pack (not bike bottles, which get dusty on gravel rides and usually don't have enough water for a long ride). The water in the hydration pack is usually treated with some sort of electrolyte additive like eLyte (I'm not a fan of the super sugary athletic drinks, but if you are, then use that). Also in my hydration pack is a supply of quick foods: hammergel, clif bloks, clif bars/fig bars, and the like. When you do long rides, you need quick replacements for what your body is losing through sweat, so making sure you have the right combination of salt and sugar really helps. 

Gravel is a ton of fun. Enjoy!

P.S. I also think tubeless is the way to go on gravel. Otherwise, carry lots of tubes and be prepared to change those flats.


Lots of good advice here. Are you racing or riding? These are two very different things and you would want to prepare accordingly. The pointy end of gravel races can get quite fast so make sure you've picked the right tires and pressure for the conditions. Tubeless is almost a necessity. If you are not looking to podium, make sure you look around and even stop for some pictures. Some of the most beautiful sights I've seen have been in the middle of nowhere gravel races. 


Wanted to maybe renew this topic, maybe a new thread would be warranted.

Does anyone have experience with titanium frames? or is sticking with a carbon frame still a good choice? Looking specifically at frames; independent of groupsets, wheels, shocks, decouplers, lasers,  etc.. as that can lead to a wormhole.

I am looking to purchase a gravel bike in the near future, but have always been interested in titanium frames.