In the USA... "For those not familiar with the growing gravel racing scene, let me explain what it is like in the Midwest. In Minnesota, passionate event promoters put on the Almanzo Gravel Race Series, a series of free gravel racing events. These events are generally 100 to 300 miles in length! "
And over here in the UK... its just charging around the lesser travelled, car free dirt roads on a cross bike. But there is a lot more to it than that:
* My neighbourhood has three tarmac roads and miles and miles of gravel (see map below... the orange bits are all traffic free and legal on a bike)
* My friend and mechanic was killed on one of these main roads several year ago.
* Cars suck, they are driven by idiots, its just not safe.
* Many of the gravel roads are in better condition than the tarmac roads.
* Gravel is fun, drift the corners.
* Gravel is tranquil... get away from the herd
* Gravel is adventure... what is around the next corner, over the next hill?
* Gravel specific bikes are close to cross bikes, but more like a road bike with room for 40mm+ tyres and maybe disc brakes too.
* They also make great lightweight tourers, commuters and posh pub bikes.
* Its not really a new bike industry scam to make you buy another bike. Its a wonderful new niche where you can use a stout road bike, a cross bike, a tourer... or one specifically for the job. Don't get paranoid, just be thankful that there are like-minded folk who are willing to develope cool bikes for us.
* Gravel events are growing in the uk. Search cyclocross sportive, gravel race etc in google. and keep in touch / watch this space. I am planning a 90 mile one stage event in June 2014, Dorset, UK.
Below I have gathered together the handy gravel products I use, and sell. The gel inserts are ace. The MSO tyres are rather tasty. And the Titanium Warbird is an ultra indulgence (but I'm worth it... no I'm not... but I wont be riding bikes much in 25 years, so I want to enjoy the good stuff while I can)