Gravel, Hardpack, Dirt, Chip Seal, Rail Trail, Groad- whatever you want to call it - riding a bike off the pavement opens you up to a whole new world of that many never thought was a possible on a bike. Riding gravel has been a long-time favourite of ours here at Wild Rock - here is why we love it so much.
The reality of cycling for many of us means we are competing for real estate with cars, trucks, buses, scooters - a world of mechanized monsters that can be downright scary at times. The beauty of venturing off the beaten path of our tried and true paved routes is that quite often the vehicle traffic (save for some farm equipment) is much lower. Part of the fun of many gravel rides is actually counting the number of cars you see. I doubt it will hit double digits.
Typically we ride the routes we know and are comfortable with. But often this leads to rides becoming, well a bit stagnant (how many trips have you made up River Road?). As soon as you point your wheels down a dirt road that sense of adventure stirs up inside you. There is something just plain fun about riding a bike on gravel, and we love the break from those sometimes monotonous rides and routes we have hammered along too many times. Gravel roads open you up to new rides, great views, and quite often destinations you didn't even know existed.
This one isn't backed by any measure of science. Gravel riding offers some pretty unique challenges, sometimes those hills are a little bit tougher, you need to pay more attention to the road that lies ahead, and it takes a little bit more umph to turn those pedals. Hey, that's all part of what we love about it. At the end of a good gravel ride that cold can of Coke, double scoop of Kawartha Dairy ice cream, or the pint of Flying Monkeys Hoptical Illusion is just a little bit better. No science, but I will let you make your own conclusion on this one.
REALLY GOOD STORIES
Looking to jazz up your Instagram feed? Need better stories for Monday mornings at the office? Well how about riding your road bike on dirt - "that's crazy!", "you did what?!?", "there was a porcupine?!?" - see you can thank gravel riding for that. The road less travelled has always told a better tale, why not write a new story on what you can do on a bike. We love gravel and hope you take the leap and give it a go, or if you happen to be a regular gravel grinder - ride it more and bring a friend.
See ya on the dirt!