Originally Posted by The Bandit Gurl
No unfortunalty all I have is my 250 and I am no so eager to let that go down. Everyone else has big bikes (compared to me anyways). I know that I am just going to have to do it and that the inexperience is part of the problem, but by the end of the summer, that will have to be behind me. I picked up Twist of the wrist and also the sequel of that book last week and it was mostly about track racing and I only took out a little. I will look into getting that- I am eager to do anything (well... not anything) to enhance my skills!!
Twist of the Wrist 1 isn't very helpful for street riding, neither is 2, for that matter. Sport Riding Techniques is a little more useful, but if you really want to get some good street riding knowledge from a book, get Proficient Motorcycling. Then read Sport Riding Techniques, then TOTW (2 is a better read than 1).
I think your inexperience and use of the front brake is the problem with the gravel situation. You don't have much traction on gravel anyway, so it makes no difference what tires are on the bike, unless they are knobbies, as someone already said.
Perhaps you are so apprehensive about dropping it, that you panic every time the bike shifts and slides a little in the gravel, and then make matters worse by jumping on the brakes or making sudden movements & unneeded inputs to the bars?
Try to relax and don't attempt to correct every little deviation that the bike makes. Don't grip the bars too tightly, don't stiffen up, use the rear brake only, and very lightly. Try to keep moving, as the bike will be less likely to fall if it's moving.
When you do have to stop, do it as smoothly and gently as possible. You are probably preventing the bike from getting through the gravel by freaking out b/c you are afraid of it.