Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gravel Grinders: The New Black

Image credit: C. Matthias
It is the time of the year where I ask for new dates on Gravel Grinder News for the 2013 Events Calendar. I am constantly amazed by the new events that keep cropping up every year. Already this calendar is filling up with new events that will happen for the first time in 2013.

(By the way, if you know of any, or have an event not listed, let me know. I'll put it up on the Calendar.)

Last season I was also floored by all the new events I got wind of. It seems that the grassroots nature of gravel events, and the relative ease with which they can be put on is attractive to folks wanting to organize a bicycle race or ride. Of course, part of the appeal is just the nature of the beast, so to speak. The other part is the low key attitudes found on these rides. (All that is well documented in the comments section of this post I did a while back.)

Then there is all the media coverage that I am hearing about, or have been a part of. And let me tell ya- that part is still cranking away! You will see more coverage in print media on gravel grinders soon, as well as from other media sources. Then add in the attention that manufacturers are giving this category. Components and complete bikes geared specifically at gravel/back road riding will be introduced soon. If these items seem to fly out of the bike shops, this will only increase the amount of attention given to gravel road riding.

It makes me wonder: is gravel grinding the new black? What I mean by that is- Has gravel grinding become a fashionable trend in cycling?  Hmm.....maybe that's overstating things.

But just when I think gravel road riding is as big as it'll ever get, I hear about five more new events, another product idea, and hear about more media attention. I see ideas being floated that I never imagined before, and even I get amazed by what I conjure up in my muddled brain.

Must be breathing in too much limestone dust or something. Whatever it is, I am enjoying seeing it all go down around me.


ritchie said...

I live in Monroe, NC. My complaint is around here we have no gravel left! I have to head down to the Pageland, SC area to ride any amount of "sand" roads! I wish we had the back roads like you show on your blog. Sand dosen't ride like gravel....... But we still have fun.....

Tony Burnett said...

I would agree with the idea that gravel riding is growing rapidly and could be viewed as a fad or new fashionable idea. I kind of look at it like the explosion of adventure running events like the tough mudders and the warrior dashes. but those things are better related to cyclocross I suppose. I've never raced, and have no desire to race. I'm a touring rider by nature, but when I started hearing about gravel and randonneur events, it caught my attention. I ride gravel a lot anyway, and now that there are other people who enjoy the road less traveled; I'm in. But if I know me, if gravel racing turns into something massive and not so much of a honor system type event, then I'll probably find something else that's not so rave.
Tony B - Cedar Rapids, IA