What Is The Enjoyment of Gravel Biking
A gravel bike gives you the best of all worlds. It is a combination of a road bike for going out with your road riding friends, or a sportive bike, for those who want to enter and compete in any of the sportive competitions are now throughout the year.
My gravel bike has a fairly smooth tire fitted of 34mm. I know this size is great for the tracks I use through the forests, but also gives me the capability of hammering along on the road at around 30 kph on the flat.
I still ride on the road, but nowhere near as often as I used to. The UK where I am from has many road riders. I feel sorry for them as the conditions for road cycling in the UK are poor, really poor. The roads are dangerous with hundreds of potholes, and the manner of driving in many areas is negative towards cyclists.
Should you have a wad load of cash you can buy a top of the market gravel bike that will be designed for both gravel riding and road riding.
You will have a choice of 700 or 650b wheels to match your bike, with different tyres fitted for either off-road riding, or road riding. If you are combining both, then you can use your gravel wheels.
It is a bike that can be fitted with quality and mile crunching 30mm road tyres for a smooth and enjoyable ride with friends from the bike club on their 6k road bikes, or up to 42 mm gravel riding tyres for a super-smooth feeling when travelling on dirt tracks or forest roads, my preferred riding these days.
This is great for having one bike that allows you to enjoy the off-road feeling of riding through the trees and across the farm tracks and forest roads and also allows you to enjoy the road rides with your club and mates on a Sunday.
Top of the range bikes do not come cheap (actually some do), but if you think about what you are paying for you are actually getting two bikes in one, so can really look at them both costing 50% of what two bikes would have cost you.
Then there is a cyclocross bike for those who want to ride on the fire tracks in the hills or the canal tracks along the river, or if you are feeling strong, enter a cyclocross competition famous in Belgium with their own UCI Competitions, and now available in the UK. It is a bike that can be fitted with quality and mile crunching 30mm tires, or a slightly wider and smoother on the rough terrain 42 mm smoother feeling tires for off-road and on road use.
A gravel bike is not a mountain bike. It is great for fire roads and rough single track trails, but it is not designed to do any kind of jumps. If you want to hit the rocks then stick to mountain bikes for this.
It will be much quicker than a mountain bike on single track roads that are not too technical. If your type of riding is single tracks and gnarly tree feet, then you should stick to mountain bikes.
Gravel riding is also a great way to get out into the fresh air and exercise to burn some fat. You can go flat out if you like or just ride through the hills, forests or on the road and get the benefits of being outside in the fresh air and losing weight at the same time.
Don’t forget about the all important heart rate monitor. I cannot do without this as it makes your riding so much more enjoyable when you can see the figures you are achieving and the miles ticking away.
I was always a roady, up and down the silky smooth roads in Switzerland all day long, covering around 100 km each time I went out. I now do around 70 km on my gravel bike, but mainly through the forest tracks and paths designed for tires that are around 30 mm or more. The difference it makes to your ride is amazing and not to be missed.