At HotChillee we don’t think cycling has to end where the road does so we’ve embraced gravel riding to see where the path leads us. We’ve explored the leafy trails in Surrey, the canal paths of Amsterdam, coral tracks on Barbados and the stunning trails in the Atlas Mountains in our search for gravel Nirvana.
You can’t help but notice the rise in adventure and gravel Instagram posts, freedom to ride over almost any terrain, true exploration. There’s been a huge rise in popularity for good reason, it’s extremely fun.
In April, we made our way into Morocco to experience the unknown. Marrakesh is already known for it’s awe-inspiring Atlas Mountains, popular with road cyclists for a while, but what about the lesser ridden gravel tracks? It was HotChillee’s first time visiting Morocco, some of us equipped with road bikes, some with gravel machines. After a thoroughly enjoyable road experience on day one, it was time to really explore and take on the road less traveled.
We tackled four seasons, gravel, mud, boulders, Jedi, football games in the street and dangerously poured tea – that was it, we were addicted to gravel, addicted to the adventure. See things from a different perspective, views only seen from gravel or towpaths, we think this is a natural evolution from road cycling, whats not to like?! (maybe bike cleaning). We loved it so much we’ve launched the HotChillee Atlas Mountains. We’re also organising free monthly gravel rides – keep an eye on our monthly rides page for information about 2018 rides.
A gravel bike (or adventure bike as it’s also known), compared to a standard road bike, generally has a longer wheelbase, with a taller head tube and slacker head tube angle. They are strong, comfortable and handle well on a variety of surfaces. Gravel bikes have clearance for a variety of tyre types and widths, allowing you to tailor your bike to ride on the road, off road or both. We’re big fans of the Cervelo C5 which we test rode out in the Atlas Mountains earlier this year.
If you have a road bike with good tyre clearance and could fit a 30mm tyre then this would also be suitable. You could also use a mountain bike with less aggressive knobbly tyres.