It’s not long to go until the cyclists descend on Fox Valley for the Steel Gravel Tour! With only a few weeks to go, riders will be starting to think about how best to prepare for the event, here’s some tips and information that should help you make the most of the event.

Which bike to bring?

You really can use nearly any type of bike to tackle the Steel Gravel Tour route. If you’re going to use a road bike then it may be worth fitting some slightly wider tyres, perhaps with some tread and puncture protection to give you extra grip and confidence on the ‘off- road’ sections.

GCN have made this useful video, which has some great tips on how to ride gravel on a standard road bike

Don’t leave it until the last minute to get your bike ready

We’ve all done it, waited until the day before an event to get our bikes ready to take on a challenging ride or race. Make sure you get your bike working well and replace those worn and broken parts if needed. If you don’t have the knowledge yourself, head down to a friendly bike shop like Full Gas Bikes who will be happy to get your bike running smoothly. It’s a busy time for bike shops now with people getting their bikes out of winter hibernation for the warmer weather, so don’t leave it until the last minute to book your bike in for a service.

Get your body ready too

The Steel Gravel Tour route may only be 44 miles, but it packs in some serious climbing in that time, including 3 of the categorised climbs the Tour de Yorkshire is tackling on Stage 3. Get your body used to the demands of riding up steep climbs. If you don’t have any hills near you then try riding when there’s a headwind and ride into it!

Fuelling right

Eating and drinking enough to keep you fuelled before and during the event can certainly make the difference between having a great day out in the saddle and feeling pretty horrific! We will have plenty of food and drink at our ‘woodland tea party’ feed station at around 16 miles on the route. It’s also worth bring some of your own food and drink too to keep you topped up just in case.

Mechanical issues

We’ve all had the occasional puncture and more serious mechanical issues when we’re out for a ride, it’s just part of cycling. Full Gas Bikes will be on hand with their team car, so that if you get a mechanical while on course, they’ll do their best to get you rolling again. It’s also a good idea to take some spares and basic tools with you too, so if something minor goes wrong, you can get going quickly again.

Staying on track

It’s always a concern when you’re riding a route you don’t know, have I missed a turn? The Steel Gravel Tour route will be clearly marked with arrows and marshals will be on hand at the trickier junctions. The route is available for you to download from Ride With GPS, so if you have a GPS device it’ll be easy to follow. We’ll also give you a map of the route on the day.

What about parking?

Tata Steel have kindly arranged for us to use their car park and it’s right next to the event HQ at Full Gas Bikes.

More information

The event itself will start at 9.30 am, but we’ll be sending out detailed information about arrangements for the event around 1 week ahead of the event, so keep an eye on your emails for that.

If you’ve not entered yet there’s still time but entries close on Sunday 16th April, so don’t leave it until the last minute- https://www.britishcycling.org.uk/events/details/160235/Steel-Gravel-Tour

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