With a growing gravel collection, it’s a good question to ask and a complicated one to answer. Or should we say, the definition of gravel cycling is wide. Gravel is all things to all riders, it can be what you want it to be. Gravel riding is like the flying fish itself – it spans worlds.
Gravel cycling is off-road and on-road. It is off-road for adventure and to escape into more remote parts of the world. It is on-road for being able to start from home, commute to the off-road, connect the sectors, to cover distance on longer rides or multi-day tours. The principle being that gravel is all road. See the Torino-Nice Rally for reference.
Gravel cycling is double-track and single-track. Or in other words it's whatever your tyres, your bike and your bike handling skills will permit. The principle being that you are challenged by the new surface, which can be a nice distraction from the physical effort. See Grinduro for reference.
Gravel cycling is riding and not riding. Hike-a-bike is what they call it when the riding stops and the over-the-shoulder walking with bicycle begins. The principle being that gravel takes you further. See, obviously, Further as the holy grail reference.
Gravel cycling is racing and not racing. Whatever your background, your objective, your need, there are competitive races, free forest tracks, old roads hidden in the mountains, flat out one day hammerfests and point to point adventure rallies. The principle being that it is your choice. See Dirty Kanza and the Torino-Nice Rally for reference.
Gravel cycling is an old bike or a new bike. Cyclocross, rigid MTB, new age carbon fully adjustable lightweight 5,000€ do-it-all machine. Assess your budget, pick your poison. The principle being that gravel is an excuse for another bike. See Rémi’s custom Victoire Cycles for reference.
Gravel cycling is fat tyres and even fatter tyres. Road tyre standard widths have increased. Gravel tyres are yet to find their standard. They probably never will. One rider once said ‘fat tyres make me happy’. The principle being that they are fatter than road tyres and that will indeed enhance your experience. See Benedict Campbell for reference.
Gravel cycling is Type 1 fun and Type 2 fun. It’s that fast and flowy single-track beside the railway line with the surprise drop after the bridge. It’s also that sufferfest to the top of the mountain with a loaded bike on your shoulders and the ensuing descent over the boulders of an old roman road that shakes your teeth out and pumps your forearms. The principle being that there are endorphins and adrenaline to be had in whatever proportional serving fits your need. See the Urban Dictionnary for reference.
Gravel cycling is everywhere and nowhere. It’s the tow path on the way to work it’s a normal road in Iceland, it’s a forest road in Scotland, it’s a military road in the Alpes-Maritimes, it’s an old smugglers' border crossing in the Pyrenees. The principle being that if you look you will find it and you will lose yourself either in the moment or in the mountains or in your head. See yourself for reference.
In a nutshell gravel is freedom, adventure and diversity in whatever form you choose to make it. Gravel riding is a moving object and maybe a state of mind.
Whatever your gravel riding choices might be, hopefully there is something for everyone in the Gravel Collection.