next is our series of meeting the riders who follow UKgravelCO here is
Why that bike? I had been looking at gravel bikes for ages, fanaticising over ‘my dream bike’. I had a winter without work so my bike fund was depleted and I finally decided that any bike was better than no bike! My Alpkit Camino ticked all the boxes that I wanted from a gravel bike, great spec, a not too aggressive riding position, good tyre clearance, could get it during lockdown and all for just over £1,000. It may not be my dream bike but boy have I had some fun on it! I have changed the bars to some Salsa Cowchippers (which are amazing!), made my own frame bag and handlebar bags, just about fit 2.2inch 29er tyres/wheels and am planning a spray bike project!
What does gravel riding mean to you? Going further, exploring new places, rattling down bridleways that I should probably be on a mountain bike on, cafe rides with friends and the ability to do such a huge range of riding on one bike.
As a mtb convert, I hated riding my full suspension mtb further than 25km. It’s like riding in treacle. Yes I love the technical descending but it’s hard work to get there. Now I can be in the hills, travel way further and rattle down some single track but not suffer when I hit road sections. I don’t think I will ever get rid of my mountain bike, but my motivation for what I ride has totally changed.
Gravel riding during lockdown has been amazing. To be able to ride from my door, into the hills or towards the sea has been such a sanity saver. I have been able to explore so many new places all without using my car.
where & when was your favourite or best remembered( good or bad) gravel ride ever? I am so lucky to live on the outside of the Lake District, there is such amazing riding around but I think my best ride might have to be a Norfolk one. I grew up in Norwich and have since moved away, but going back with my new gravel bike in July was phenomenal. There is so much cycle network, bridleways and byways that can be connected with quiet country roads in Norfolk, and the best part is that there are no hills! I rode Bikepacking.com’s Norwich overnighter route in a day on my last visit, the ride consisted of disused train line, bridleways, quiet lanes and a mixture of sandy, rocky, fields and single track for 100km. My parents rode some of it with me on their city bikes and I got to the end of the route and decided to ride home. 60km later and I could have kept going. My Lake District legs loved the flat, the views were incredible, I’d had a few cafe and pub stops and a swim in the sea and I’d done my first 100 miler. Most memorable parts were the two wasp stings in a day, the first to my lip 10km in and the second down my top 145km in! My lip swelled so much I almost bailed.
If you could ride one place you’ve never been where would it be? I’m stoked to ride in more places in the UK, I’m keen to ride the Great North Trail, explore Scotland more and explore southern England too! Riding in Slovenia is also on the dream list!
How would you improve the gravel scene in your area? More cycle lanes! The Lake District roads get busy, lots of the access to quieter roads means contending with tourist traffic jams! I’m also keen to see more ladies on bikes! Riding in the lakes doesn’t have to be gnarly, epic or long, I’d love to have more communities of ladies that like bikes to get out locally with!
Thanks Emily, your favourite ride sounds fab, apart from the stings! I 100% agree about riding an MTB that far feels like riding in treacle. Looking forward to seeing the respray project too.