I improved my gravel handling with this guidance from a national champ - and you can too

Experience on the road is a great foundation. Here's how to sharpen it for the trails

Andy riding down a trail with a coach cheering on
(Image credit: Future)

Having stopped racing at UCI level, I did what most riders do and bought a gravel bike. I used to ride my road bike off road a fair bit, but with 23mm tyres and headsets getting replaced every 2 months. I also haven’t raced since September 2021 so my bike handling skills are probably not quite what they were, and they weren’t a skill I was that renowned for in the first place! 

There are many benefits of riding off-road for road riders, including improved resilience, whole-body strength, and improved bike-handling.

Ian Field

Ian Field is the Director of VELD Coaching, as well as five times British Cyclocross Champion, six times British Series Winner and a cyclocross commentator.

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Andy Turner

Andy is a Sport & Exercise Scientist, fully qualified and experienced cycling coach, personal trainer and gym instructor. He spent 3 years on the road riding for a UCI cycling team and 7 years as a BC Elite rider. 


After graduating in 2020 with first-class honours in his Sport & Exercise Sciences BSc, he continued to pursue his interest in research in the field of sport science alongside setting up his coaching business, ATP Performance, and working for USA-based firm, Wahoo Sports Science. He balanced this with racing at international level, competing in prestigious events such as the Tour of Britain and the Volta a Portugal.