It's official, it's a thing. Gravel riding that is, the loose stuff, dirt, unpaved yet clearly a track, trail or path. And perhaps a trap for the unready. With the growth in CX riding and racing (which is awesome by the way), the rise of the gravel rider and the gravel grinder was inevitable really.
It is also to be welcomed as another addition to the panoply of ways to enjoy riding a bike. Most of all, it is huge fun. We have the good fortune to be mates with the local maestro's at Curve Cycling, who not only are perhaps seen as custodians of the famous Belgie ride, but are also gravel nuts and are designing bikes accordingly. Pretty things they are too.
Gravel grinders (races that is) seem to be popping up everywhere now to serve the demand, and fun they are. Gravel grinders as bikes are also on the rise. A combination of a road bike and cyclocross bike, the gravel bike is perhaps the best of both worlds. Ideal for the person who wants to do some off-road exploring it allows one to ride to the trail rather than drive without a dead feel on the road. Gravel bikes are intended for dirt and gravel roads as well as trails that aren’t too technical and rocky that would require a mountain bike. With it a door opens to adventures and the left fork in the road never taken.
Designed to accommodate wider tyres, they are comfortable, reduce the chance of flats and increase control. The geometry is also more relaxed than a road bike, often with a longer wheelbase, lower BB and longer head tube. And of course, disc brakes seem to be de rigueur these days. Super for stopping power!
So, if you have the chance, give it a go, it's a blast!
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