Gravel bikes make up the fastest growing segment of the bike industry right and you are probably asking yourself...
What is a gravel bike?
Do I really need another bike?
Perhaps I am getting ahead of myself. Maybe a better question is WHY is gravel so popular?
My theory... I come from New England where there was a dyed in the wool hard core roadie scene. But what was really thriving in recent years, as road races went away, was Cyclocross. And despite being wicked hard the cross scene was fun, fresh and challenging. Racing in mixed terrain sharpened your bike handling skills and each course added a new twist and adventure.
In the fall and winter we always trained on the quiet hilly dirt farm roads either on a road bike with fatter tires or on a cyclocross bike. As gravel races started (such as D2R2 in Massachusetts) they immediately filled up, got a buzz and this started a cult following. Cults eventually becomes mainstream and here we are...
THERE IS GRAVEL / DIRT ROADS / TRAILS / SAND in FLORIDA!
Gravel bikes are fun and open up your cycling possibilities! Think of riding 10 miles on the road to a park, then hopping on a gravel path, riding through pine needles, a little single-track and then on a beach, and then back home on the road. I did exactly this in the video below!
Getting off road is a welcome diversion from riding on a bike lane with cars flying by at 70 mph inches away. This ride (video) was in SW Florida but there is over 100 miles of gravel roads on top of the South Florida Water Management District Levee System. And I just started to explore some of the vast network of dirt roads and levee's that cross the everglades. Perhaps one day we can organize a gravel race across the everglades!
I hope I've peaked your intersted and answered "why gravel".
Here is the "what": A gravel bike is a do anything road bike. It has a drop handlebar a frame with tire clearance up to 45mm tires, disk brakes, wide gear ratio and lots of options for water bottle, rack and fender mounts. Generally the wheelbase is longer with a lower bottom bracket for increased stability for fast and bumpy descents.
Check out Trek's new Checkpoint gravel bikes. The SL 5 and SL 6 models feature carbon fiber frames and an IsoSpeed decoupler rear suspension. The ALR configurations start at $1789 and feature a light aluminum frame and a carbon fiber fork.
Visit one of our eight stores today and take a Checkpoint out on a test ride!