By Brian Weiss, TE Board and Bicycle Attorney with a big contribution from Ben Welnak
Gravel riding has been around for a long time, but is becoming more popular with the advent of new local and national events. Some of the well-known Gravel Grinders are the Dirty Kanza, Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee (D2R2, not to be confused with R2D2) and Rebecca’s Private Idaho. Most Gravel Grinders are grassroots self-supported events in rural areas that are a hybrid between a mountain bike event and a road race.
I first learned about Gravel Grinders from a former client named Jim Clere who was looking for off road cycling options with less vehicle traffic. Jim introduced me to Ben Welnak and his www.ridinggravel.com website. Ben Welnak has done a great job mobilizing cyclists and organizing gravel riding rides/races based in Monument, Colorado.
In April of this year, TE Board Members Bob Campbell, Rob Layman and I rode Ben’s Anti-Epic 50. That ride opened my eyes to riding gravel roads in a rural area. Bob and I rode cyclocross bikes and Rob rode a mountain bike over the 50 mile course. We all had a good time and enjoyed some brews at the Pikes Peak Brewery after the ride.
I encourage all TE Members and Colorado cyclists to look at Ben’s website and consider trying one of his events for a change to your riding routine. I think you will like the grassroots vibe and spirit that comes with grinding out the miles on gravel.
Here’s an introduction to Ben and RidingGravel.com
Riding Gravel is a worldwide community based around the idea that there are more options beyond conventional mountain biking and road cycling. There is a large grey area between the two disciplines, which is filled with commuters, racers, riders, “gentlemen” riding groups, social rides, endurance, bikepacking, touring, and a variety of styles in between.
wonderful views of all three Front Range 14ers – Pikes Peak, Mt. Evans, and Longs Peak. You can ride whatever bike you’d like – gravel-specific, mountain bike, or road (you’ll be rattled and risk multiple flats with a road bike!). Go fast, go social, go however you’d like. It’s your chance to ride something different in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains!
About me, Ben Welnak
I’m married to a wonderful woman, with two great little kids (a 2.5yr old boy and 1 yr old girl), so my days are filled with the chaos that you’d expect. I am the creator of Mountain Bike Radio (mountainbikeradio.com) and spend a lot of my days tracking down ideas, creating new content, and building the site to be a bigger and better experience everyday.