You bought a gravel bike! We would like cordially welcome to this wildly adventurous, often dirty, and always smiling tribe. At this point, you might be thinking ok so what next? Where do I ride this thing? Gravel bikes are a new frontier for much of the bike industry and in some respects a reintroduction to something that has been lost over the years.
One of the things that we have noticed over the past few years is that there has been a steady development of different types of gravel events/rides throughout the country. These events are the real deal and are a come-as-you-are party. They are often the brainchild of dedicated individuals or groups that always in search bringing the stoke to everyone from the new rider to the seasoned vet.
The beauty in these events is that while they are set up in a traditional endurance format, there is also an element of self-sufficiency that is required and these events often challenge the participant in ways that you might not otherwise think of. Often these events explore the vast expanse of gravel and b-roads that spread what seems to be endlessly throughout the country.
For many of these events, riders must carry all they need to survive over the course of one or multiple days, during which the can experience a range of terrain and weather variations. They must carry food, water, repair and medical equipment, and know how to use it.
The idea of mind-numbing exhaustion, potential mechanical issues, and the highly taxing nature of an event like this might leave you thinking, why on earth would I ever what to do something like this? We might argue that the answer lays in the challenge of the event, the solitude you can find, and the front-row views of varying landscapes that make up our country.
Gravel riding/racing is the purest manifestation of the adventurous spirit that has long inhabited cycling and the at its most basic level. The bicycle is a vehicle for exploration, and the gravel race feeds into our desire as humans to explore, survive, and prevail.