Once upon a time there were MTBers and Road Riders. Culturally distinct, only meeting when trails crossed tar. Road riders went for sleek aerodynamic foil tubing and MTBers went for bigger wheels and more suspension travel.
Then along comes gravel. Essentially what looks like a road bike with disc brakes and wider tyres. In 2015 we organized our first gravel event and what an eye opener it was. In fact there were really not a lot of gravel bikes around, so many riders just opted for wider tyres on a regular road bike. That didn’t stop us smashing the MTB Strava segments!
Today I ride a Cervélo C5 with 30mm tyres. I have covered many dusty miles and ridden some lovely single track. The common thread is that I’ve covered more “explorer” miles than I ever did on a road bike and along with that a desire to explore new frontiers and ride in new locations that would not normally be accessible to me. Ironically, I have discovered some amazing paths on my own doorstep and now realize that I can ride down to the south coast from London on what is essentially gravel and hard packed sand. This weekend I’m off to Marrakech in Morocco to do some more exploring (ok it really is work 😉 ) to check out what the Atlas Mountains offer. With amazing scenery and over 2,000m of ascent I think I’m going to enjoy it!
One thing is for certain – in time nearly every road rider will have a gravel bike and be exploring new frontiers!
Sven Thiele, HotChillee Founder