A gravel bike bridges the gap between smooth tarmac road cycling and all but the gnarliest mountain biking trails. It has drop handlebars, disc brakes, chunky tyres and a robust frame.
Electric or e-gravel bikes are also available for those that want to go further or make things a bit easier.
Gravel biking is a fantastic way to discover parts of Scotland you might not otherwise visit, reconnect with nature, and keep your body and mind in tip-top condition.
Gravel biking routes
A route might typically start from a railway station or directly from your holiday lodgings and take you along quiet country roads, before heading off-road for hinterland adventures.
Bikepacking Scotland offers a great selection of gravel biking and bike-packing routes if you’re looking for more two-wheeled Scottish gravel biking adventures.
How to get started
As you’re likely to be heading along quieter routes, gravel biking is more suited to experienced and self-dependent bikers.
But if you’re just starting out or don’t feel confident going it alone though, don’t worry! Companies such as Trailbrakes, Wilderness Scotland, Galloway Cycling Holidays, Bikepacking Scotland, Backcountry.Scot and Trossachs Biking & Bushcraft, who will happily take you on guided trips. Guides usually offer riding tips and stories from the area as you go along too.
What to expect
You’ll be travelling through wilder scenery, so you need a decent level of fitness and good bike handling skills.
You might not go as fast or as far on a gravel trail, but you’ll absorb a lot more. If you’re a ‘gravity junkie’, the route might be less rocky than you’re used to, but you’ll still have lots of fun!
What to take with you
- Take waterproofs and a warm layer.
- Gloves are a must, whether it’s cold or not as they help with grip and protect hands if you take a tumble.
- Take plenty of food and drink, and plan food stops at local eateries along your route.
- Take a GPS, multi-tool, spare inner tyre tubes, pump, puncture repair kit, lights and a fully charged phone.