Gravel riding, that’s just riding a bike along gravel? Yep, it sure is.
Whats special about then? Nowt, but check out these events over the water and it could well be the next niche endurance events, not quite road and not quite cyclo-cross either!
Anyhoo, after reading a lot about these events, I thought it would be cool to ride something similar, only problem being, that in little England, we don’t have gravel roads that go on for 200km….
We do however have an excellent range of Ordnance Survey maps and old laws that allow cyclists to use bridleways. Keeping to the theme of doorstep adventures, I studied the local maps and took an interest of the local marsh land. I’d never been these before, so I set off and found a brilliant network of gravel roads.
Despite having a map on me, I decided that I was carrying enough water (and some change in my back pocket) not to care how long I was out for. Many of the roads went to dead ends, but the sun was out and I didn’t mind. I just enjoyed riding locally and not knowing where I was heading.
Its a funny place, within a stone throw of ride there is an Oil Refinery, a glass factory, one of Europe’s largest shopping centres but on a Sunday morning, no-one was about. After an hours worth of riding, I saw a lot of aircraft flying in the distance, an unusually high amount of aircraft activity for this area. As I came closer, I realised that the aircraft weren’t far away but close up (beginning to sound like Father Ted now…), I had bumped into the local model aircraft flying club.
More riding followed, more getting lost ensued with my reluctance to look at my map. I followed one road down a dead end. I had been following it for 10 about minutes, so I was a little disappointed that my efforts were wasted but, I did get a pretty cool photograph to capture the occasion (possibly one of my favourites as of late)
I still cant believe how good my local area is for riding bikes. Ok, its not steep, nor technical but it does make for some good riding. Maybe I’ve hit lucky with the weather but its making me enjoy riding for its simplicity and accessibility.