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Love your advice. My gravel driveway is slanted from right (highside) to left (low side.) It's like having one leg shorter than the other leg. Problem is, my bike is in my car shed and to get it out the safest way it's all gravel. I have to back it out of the shed starting out straight then start turning front wheel and go backwards down the hill then when I'm out enough, I throttle up the hill while making a sharp turn to right then straighten up. It is such a stressful procedure. Any advice on backing up while going backwards downhill in gravel? Thanks.

Helen
Monterey, TN
Friday, September 1, 2017
Editor Response
Slow and steady. Keep bike in first gear, while pulling in the clutch. Let your front brake ease you down so you can keep both feet on the ground. Then when you're ready to go forward, ease out the clutch while rolling on the throttle. The key is slow and steady though so as not to make any sudden moves. Move your feet slowly to ensure you have solid footing every few inches as you go backward. Keep both feet on the ground. Since you're having success, sounds like you're already doing this. Keep it going!
Genevieve Schmitt, Editor at Large
You forgot the part where you get off and kiss the pavement once you make it (safely) to stable ground!

Cait
Costa Mesa, CA
Wednesday, August 30, 2017
Editor Response
You're right, we did forget that part!
Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
A couple of years ago I hit a 9-mile stretch of construction. It was capped off by about 300 yards of deep pea gravel. I was riding my Gold Wing at the time, normally a very well-behaved street bike that absolutely hates gravel.

I did exactly what you recommend—kept it loose, rode slowly, and didn't make any sudden changes other than the frantic waving at the Harley rider I could see coming up fast in my rear view mirror to slow down! We both got through it OK and immediately both pulled over for a breather after we got back on pavement. We shared one of those "I don't care what you ride, that was ridiculous" moments that knows no brand boundaries. It was one of moments you hated while you were in it and love to talk about afterwards.

Good article; I tagged my wife to read it, since she went down on a dirt road (where the pavement ended with no warning!) a couple of years ago.

Ross E Schacher
Bristol, VT
Monday, August 28, 2017
Editor Response
Glad you made it through that experience in one piece, Ross! Thank you for sharing with your wife. We have lots of other great riding tips in our Riding Right section as well.
Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
I've gotten used to gravel and dirt. And I have found that despite what most people are saying, you can use your front brake. You just can't use it like you normally do. If I don't use my front brake on my steep dirt and gravel driveway, I would end up having to use too much rear brake. That causes the rear wheel to skid a bit on the rocks. Not a good thing. And if you have ABS, you may end up on the ground.

Dee Gutierrez

Monday, August 28, 2017
Editor Response
Thank you for pointing this out, Dee. It's important that everyone understands that the front brake is needed on gravel and dirt as it is on pavement. Never ignore either of your brakes, just learn how to apply them properly.
Tricia Szulewski, Assistant Editor
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