Top ten reasons to get into gravel
Gravel riding really took if in 2019 and we can see why. The crunch of the dust and rocks beneath your tyres, the fresh air and the proximity to nature are truly liberating. With all that in mind, we’ve compiled our top ten reasons to get into gravel.
Gravel bikes are incredibly versatile and can be used on loads of different types of terrain. Crunching down gritty paths, cutting through mud and even the potholed morning commute, these bikes can do it all. Below are a few models we have featured on our website and in store.
The great thing about gravel riding is the traffic, as in, there’s a chance you won’t see much or any at all. Sticking to towpaths, bridleways and dirt tracks keeps you off the road and away from both bad driving and polluting cars, keeping you and your body fit and active.
Improve your skills
Riding off-road improves your skills and being on a gravel bike is no different. Being aware of how to ride on the changing surface and how to control the bike when it gets loose will dramatically improve your bike handling when you return to the road.
Mix up your ride
Your ride doesn’t have to all be about gravel. The good thing about these bikes is that they’re not as cumbersome as a cyclocross bike is on the road, so can be used effectively anywhere. Gravel routes are a great way of linking two roads, thus avoiding busy areas of traffic. This may even make you feel like you’ve created your very own Spring Classic.
Adventure is out there
Gravel bikes are ideal for touring. These stylish and comfortable machines come with mounts for all sorts of kit and have the performance attributes to take you on an epic journey. Take a look at our extensive on-board bag range to kick start your adventure planning.
Like every cycling discipline, gravel riding comes with its own unique community. You may well already be aware of the ‘groad’ warriors but they’re a friendly bunch focussed on having a good time on beautiful bikes while searching for the perfect adventure.
No dress codes
This new community have taken to introducing new threads to the game as well. There is no dress code, you can do and where what you want, although there is a movement towards baggy shorts and long sleeve lumberjack shirts. Take a look at the sort of stuff you can get away with now you have joined this great community.
As gravel riding grows in the UK, more sportive organisers are creating events to cater for this new group of cyclists. A long off-road sportive is a perfect way to kick start your gravel journey and meet like minded cyclists. These usually have a more relaxed tone, where enjoyment rightfully comes before everything else.
Once you get more competent on a gravel bike, it may well be time to dip your toe into racing. Famous events like the Dirty Kanza may be too far afield for most, but like the ever-growing gravel sportive market, there is increasing hunger for gravel races closer to home, such as Battle in the Bowl. You can also race cyclocross on a gravel bike, though it may be best suited for summer races. That said, pro racer Joris Nieuwenhuis of Team Sunweb has been racing a gravel version of his racing bike all season.
Most importantly, have fun. Find some mates, find some dirt tracks and just have at it. Gravel riding is accessible and enjoyable and that should be at the heart of every ride.
We think 2020 will be the year of gravel riding and if you’re not already part of the revolution, come into our store and check all our gravel options and kit for yourself.
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