As a dirt enthusiast, you already know that the answer to the question “Why dirt?” isn’t singular, but a laundry list of reasons. We love escaping in the trees just beyond the city line, pedaling all morning and realizing the only engine we’ve heard is our own heartbeat, and the feeling of playful freedom that cruising on dirt brings.
You know dirt. You love dirt. Find a whole new way to enjoy your passion for dirt by sharing it with someone else, whether that means taking a coworker on an easy spin on a soft surface path or teaching your road-riding buddies that their road bikes are more dishwasher-safe than they think.
If you haven’t already experienced the scenic beauty and camaraderie of a dirt road race or gravel grinder event, sign up for one to enjoy doing what you love with a whole community that digs it too.
» Wide and low is the way to go. Wider tires with lower pressure offer the grip new riders need and the comfort they want, making the tires found on most hybrids, cruisers and mountain bikes great for dirt.
» Make your ride flexible by creating a route with early bailout options as well as ways to extend the ride.
» Less is more. It doesn’t take much riding before pre-ride nerves and post-ride tenderness are distant memories, but for a new rider these issues are very much in the present. Even if the person you are taking out is extremely fit, keep their first ride short since it’s not just muscles that are getting used to riding.
» The hardest part of being a newcomer is that you don’t know what you don’t know. If you’re introducing someone to dirt, bring extra food and water and suggest taking breaks long before you notice your riding partner looks like they’re about to throw up.
» Start slow. Speed is easier to achieve than control, so start at a moderate pace and gradually increase as the newer rider demonstrates confidence with braking, handling and cornering.
» If the surface is loose, invest a few minutes to practice braking. Dirt newbies have a knack for treating too much speed with a healthy dose of rear brake, so spend a few moments playing around with braking until they are comfortable applying both brakes gradually.