Exploring the World of Barn Gravel

In the world of cycling, there is a growing trend of gravel riding, which combines the thrill of off-road adventures with the joy of being in nature. One such event that has gained attention is Barn Gravel, an annual ride organized by Jared, a passionate cyclist with a deep love for his local cycling community. In this interview, we dive into Jared's journey of creating and organizing the Barn Gravel event, a unique experience that has been captivating cyclists in Berks County, Pennsylvania.

Getting to Know Jared:
Jared is not your typical event organizer. He's a regular guy who fell in love with cycling about eight years ago. What drew him to the world of cycling was the sense of community, the joy of outdoor adventures, and the beauty of the surrounding landscapes. He lives in Berks County, Pennsylvania, a place that he believes offers some of the best cycling experiences in the United States.

The Diversity of Berks County Cycling:
Berks County is known for its diverse cycling terrain. While it may lack towering mountains like Colorado, it compensates with a rich mix of landscapes. You can find everything from quiet roads amidst farmland to mountain biking trails and gravel paths, making it a haven for cyclists. The region's diversity offers a unique experience that many riders have come to appreciate.

The Inspiration for Barn Gravel:
Jared's journey into event organizing began with a simple idea: to create a cycling event in his area. He felt a strong desire to share the joy of cycling with others. While he had harbored this idea for years, he never found the time to bring it to life. Jared's passion for cycling and the urge to create a memorable experience for the local cycling community were the driving forces behind the birth of Barn Gravel.

Understanding Barn Gravel:
Barn Gravel is not a race, and Jared emphasizes that point. It's a celebration of cycling, an opportunity for cyclists to come together, enjoy various terrains, and revel in the beauty of their surroundings. The event starts and ends at Jared's barn, offering riders a unique setting to gather, socialize, and enjoy the experience.

Planning and Execution:
The path to creating Barn Gravel was not without its challenges. Jared started small, with an informal event where he invited friends and acquaintances via Facebook. The first year, around 40 people joined the ride. As the event gained popularity, Jared decided to make it more official, and in the second year, he opened registration on BikeReg.

The Importance of Capping Registrations:
One key lesson from Jared's journey is the importance of capping the number of participants. While it's tempting to have as many people as possible, there's a fine balance. Jared decided that a cap of 100 riders was ideal, as it allowed for a manageable event that still retained its community feel. Going beyond the cap would have introduced logistical challenges, such as increased costs, parking, and rest stops.

Understanding Costs and Pricing:
Determining the right registration fee is crucial. Jared started with a modest $15 fee for the first year, mainly to cover the basic expenses like food and drinks. As the event grew, costs increased. Aid stations became more elaborate, and riders got a full meal rather than simple snacks. It's essential to find a balance between making the event accessible and covering costs. Jared emphasized that he's not in it for profit, but to create an enjoyable experience.

The Role of BikeReg:
Jared's decision to use BikeReg for registration made it easier for participants to find and join the event. It also helped him manage registrations and communicate with riders effectively. BikeReg is a valuable platform for event organizers, making it easier to reach the cycling community.

The Joy of Gravel Riding:
Barn Gravel's route covers approximately 60 miles, with 40% off-road trails. This mix of terrains, including gravel, dirt, and single-track, creates a dynamic experience for riders. The route also offers diversity in scenery, from quiet farmlands to thrilling mountain biking trails.

The Beauty of the Community:
One of the most remarkable aspects of Barn Gravel is the sense of community it fosters. Jared's event encourages riders to enjoy each other's company, emphasizing that the real fun begins after the ride. It's about coming together, sharing stories, and appreciating the social aspect of cycling.

Jared's journey into event organizing with Barn Gravel is a testament to the power of community, the joy of cycling, and the love of the outdoors. His commitment to creating an accessible and enjoyable experience for riders is commendable. As we look forward to participating in the next Barn Gravel event, it's clear that the cycling community is thriving in Burks County, thanks to passionate organizers like Jared.

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