The premise: exploring scenic paved and gravel roads surrounding Dufur, Oregon. Then add camping, music, and socializing. It doesn’t sound so bad really. Two days of riding, organized and put together by the folks at Cycle Oregon. Each day offers two routes: a shorter 30-something mile route or a route closer to 65 miles with almost double the climbing.
Combining bits of road and mountain biking, it’ll be our first go at participating in a gravel event, a category that’s been emerging in popularity thanks to its easy accessibility and routes significantly less populated with cars.
To be honest, as a die-hard mountain biker, I have yet to get into riding gravel. Riding a gravel road is generally what I do on the way back to the car or on the way to a trailhead, and less an activity in itself. Of course the same could be said for my road bike. The bulk of my time riding road bikes is for getting to work as opposed to the experience. (though I’ve been known to do a few longer events here and there) Although Inga has become a dedicated part-time roadie, and even leads a weekly women’s road ride, I have yet to fully embrace riding road bikes all day – sharing roads with much larger vehicles full of often distracted drivers doesn’t sound like my idea of fun. That said, I’m always up for trying out new experiences on bikes, and emerging myself into new aspects of cycling culture. And the best part of riding gravel is you can simply get on your bike and ride all day from your door while experiencing new places under your own power.
The folks at Cycle Oregon have invited team Bermstyle to come out and experience Gravel first hand, and we’ve accepted. As I love geeking out on bikes, bike setup, tires, and parts, this comes as a fun new challenge — plus, if we’re driving to Dufur, you can bet your ass we’re doing the long routes. Now comes the hard part — what bikes do we ride? Time to start logging some extra miles.
Cycle Oregon Gravel takes place May 17-19th. Learn more about the event at CycleOregon.com