Gravel this. Gravel that. It seems everywhere I look on Strava and social media these days, all I see are perfectly respectable roadies and trackies suddenly singing the praises of gravel, and often abandoning – or at the very least neglecting – their first cycling loves in the process.
Fatter tyres. Lower pressures. Dropper posts. Single chainrings. MTB pedals. Hydration backpacks. Fire and rail trails. Seriously, is anyone out there not getting off the tarmac and on to the dirt these days?
Well, let me just say I won’t be joining them any time soon, primarily for reasons of self-preservation. You see, I know if I was to try gravel riding, I’d love it too.
Just like I’ve loved every other two-wheeled pursuit I’ve ever tried in my life. BMX. Road. Track. Fixies. Motorbikes.
Everything I hear and see about gravel riding looksfantastic. That’s why I’m so wary this time around. Bikes already consume a sizeable chunk of my waking hours and, being a committed roadie who’s only recently dipped his toes back into the world of track riding, I simply don’t have the time to add another cycling bow to my life’s quiver right now.
With 10+ bikes of varying types already under my roof, I don’t have the space for it. Nor, if I’m being honest, do I have the money to fund it without causing a few serious financial reverberations elsewhere.
These are the brutal realities that need to be confronted well before succumbing to yet another form of cycling addiction. Do I ever want to see my kids or partner again on weekends?
Do I really want yet more bikes and parts strewn around my garage? Do I want to have at least some money left in my bank account?‘Life is short so buy the bloody bike’, they say. Under different circumstances, at a different time, I very well may.
But for now, I’ll respectfully, albeit somewhat regrettably, decline the abundant opportunity you continue to present to me dear Bicycle Industry.
The road and I aren’t finished with each other just yet…