Discovering Gravel Cycling: An Easy and Approachable Introduction

Hey there, if you're new to cycling and wondering about this thing called gravel cycling, let me break it down for you.

So, at its core, gravel cycling is essentially riding a bike on unpaved roads. You might be thinking, "Can't I do that with my road bike or mountain bike?" Absolutely! But what sets gravel cycling apart is a combination of three things: community, culture, and equipment.


Gravel bike with an orange helmet on a gravel road


Let's talk community first. The gravel cycling community is like a big, welcoming tent. It's more accessible than mountain biking and friendlier than road riding. When you're out on those rural farm roads, old mining paths, or converted railroad tracks, people tend to stick together. The routes are less straightforward, and since there's so much to see, riders share the experience. Instead of a competitive vibe, the gravel community celebrates diversity and inclusion.

Now, onto culture. Gravel culture is a blend of the occasional teamwork of road cycling, the occasional solitude of mountain trails, and an overall "no-drop" attitude. Unlike roadies pushing for speed at any cost or mountain bikers embracing risk and injury, gravel cyclists appreciate the quiet, beautiful views on open, traffic-free roads. It's a culture built on shared experiences.

A mountain bike on a gravel road descending down a gravel trail

And let's not forget equipment. In the early days, gravel races were won by riders on cyclocross or rigid mountain bikes. You can even try it out on your old cyclocross bike with some slicker wheels or your hardtail mountain bike with semi-slicks. As you spend more time on gravel, you might find yourself tweaking your ride. Tubeless wheels, wider tires, a single chainring drivetrain – these mods can make your gravel experience smoother.

Beautiful scenic trail of a gravel road and mountains in the background that gravel bicycle riders would love to ride.

Now, if you're new to cycling and thinking about your first bike, consider a gravel bike. They offer a wider gear range for tackling tough climbs, a more comfortable upright position, wider handlebars for better steering, and they're adventure-ready with space for racks and fenders. Plus, those wider tires provide a more comfortable ride.  

GoGrava is bringing some amazing Gravel and BikePacking bikes to our store in 2024.  Stay tuned for more news and sign up for our email to be notified. 

One last thing – gravel riding isn't a one-size-fits-all experience. Some riders load up with gear for all-day adventures, while others keep it minimal, racing through the countryside. Whatever your style, there's no wrong way to explore the world of gravel cycling.

So, grab a bike, hit those gravel roads, and enjoy the ride!

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