Gravel cycling holidays

Gravel riding is definitely à la mode this year. For cyclists of a certain age though, thrashing round conifer plantations on forestry tracks and ranging over hills on bridleways is nothing new. It’s what we all did, on rigid mountain bikes, in the era before front suspension forks and seriously fat tyres. But, as Rod Stewart almost said, if you stick around long enough, you will come back into fashion.

The Borders

Scottish Borders. In the years leading up to 2020, I had slightly eschewed bikepacking in the UK, making trips to Montenegro, Slovakia, the Pindus Mountains in Greece and the Lesser Caucasus mountains in Georgia, instead. The pandemic taught us to reappraise what is local, though. Kielder was great. It feels wild, even though you are riding through England’s largest manmade forest. There are hundreds of miles of tracks that criss-cross a huge area around Kielder Water, before spilling over the border into fells and windswept heather moors. The tracks are well maintained so you clip along, and the hospitality, often in ancient, wayside hostelries, is very good. A la mode or not, a gravel outing in the Borders should be on everyone’s list.

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