Gravel Riding. What is it, and where can I go to do it?



Unless you have been hiding under a rock, you can't of missed the new buzz word in the world of cycling. Gravel. The last issue of Cyclist magazine had more gravel bikes than road bikes in!  So, what is gravel riding? How did it come about? And where can you go on holiday to do it?

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By Chris Smith

Monday 20th March 2018


What bike do I use?

There are now specific gravel bikes. These are generally built a bit tougher, with specific tyres, geometry, and all come with disc brakes. The early bikes were either modified road bikes with larger tyres or CX bikes. Gravel bikes are designed to be fast on road, yet able to go off-road with ease. All the big players in the market now have a gravel bike or sometimes called an adventure bike in their range.

How did it come about?

It started in America, and spread quickly to the UK and Europe. Road bikes were already getting comfier with the introduction of endurance road bikes, aimed at comfort, rather than out and out speed, and gravel riding took this to the next logical level. The idea that you can explore more places, but still at a decent speed, has really caught on!  A gravel section is even featuring in the Tour de France this year!

Where can I go on gravel bike holiday?

Our top three destinations for a gravel bike or adventure bike holiday are:

1. Bourg de Oisans - Explore the badly maintained climb of La Sarrenne, or take in the climb up through the tunnels to the Col de Ornon opposite Alpe D'Huez. There are lots of options in this beautiful valley.

2. Sierra Nevada - The whole Sierra Nevada Mountain range is crossed with an excellent network of forest paths and gravel trails.

3. New Forest - The new forest is a great location to mix up road riding and gravel riding. Lots of trails criss- cross this national park.

If you would like to talk to us about taking a gravel bike holiday, don't hesitate to contact us. We can tailor all our destinations and routes to take in some gravel riding so that you can explore the road less ridden.


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