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Getting into Gravel

Looking for adventure? Curious about gravel riding? If you're looking for where to ride, what to ride, and when to ride, you've come to the right place. The gravel scene is alive, well, and growing--especially in North Carolina.

As gravel riding increases in popularity, it gives cyclists another option in addition to road and mountain. Gravel roads, dirt paths, wherever the road ends and you keep riding; it's a fun way to enjoy the ride, avoid cars, and take in some otherwise unexplored scenery.

Local Gravel Rides and Races

Swamp Fox Gravel Fondo

Race Date: Saturday, February 29th 2020

About the Route: The Swamp Fox Gravel Fondo (SFGF) will take place on the gravel roads in and around the Francis Marion National Forest just outside of Charleston, South Carolina.

There will be a minimum of one aid station along the course.  Riders should be prepared to fix anything that may come their way (flats, mechanicals, etc).  The forest is remote and cell phone reception is not guaranteed.  Please plan accordingly.  Post race food (included) will be provided by Backdraft BBQ. Custom T-shirt is included in your registration (must register by January 31st to be guaranteed a T-shirt).

Monthly Gravel Ride

Each month our sister shop in Statesville, First Flight Bikes, hosts a gravel fun ride.

Ride Date: Generally the 4th Sunday of the month except for September and March.

About the Route: The route changes every month but can always be found on Strava.

Love Valley Roubaix

Race Date: Friday, March 20th - Sunday, March 22nd 2020

About the Route: Stepping foot in Love Valley, NC is like traveling back in time to an old western movie. Nestled at the base of the Brushy Mountains is the quaint old cowboy town of Love Valley, home to the Love Valley Roubaix.

Here you'll find 50+ miles of winding dirt-packed roads and gravel. There are two courses, both of which are approximately 60/40 dirt packed road/paved. And be sure to bring your climbing'll need them!

Where to Ride

What to Ride

Somewhere along the way, road, gravel, and backpacking all became intertwined and now you’re getting three-in-one, do-it-all bikes; and they do it well.

Each of the bikes below has all of these capabilities, some just have certain qualities that make them the better tool for the job, or rather, bike for the ride.

Salsa Journeyman

Salsa eats, sleeps, and breathes adventure and the Journeyman by no means is any exception. When it comes to touring, adventure riding, or gravel grinding, the Journeyman is prepared to take you there.

The Journeyman is compatible with 650b and 700c wheels with clearance for 42mm tires but what’s unique about the Journeyman is that it's available as drop or flat bar options. 

Prepared to haul it all, the Journeyman is perfect for bikepacking or commuting as its frame is made to fit all different sized bags and offers plenty of mounts for carrying gear, tools, and Salsa’s Anything Cages. 

Salsa Warbird

Gravel racing? Bike packing? Why not both! The Warbird got its start as a gravel race bike, designed to help its rider survive grueling endurance races. It’s light and nimble, able to handle technical bits of single track but it also climbs like a champ and can be outfitted for touring when adventure calls your name.

The Warbird is compatible with 650b and 700c wheels with up to a 45cc tire. It offers plenty of mounting options for bags, racks, fenders, and more. 

Whether you intend to race or ride gravel or are considering a bikepacking adventure, the Salsa Warbird is the original gravel bike.

Salsa Warroad

“The road bike without limits” as Salsa puts it. The Warroad is the road bike that’s built to also go off road. It's an endurance road bike by nature, keeping you comfortable for long days in the saddle but when the road ends, the Warroad doesn't.

While the Salsa Warbird is a gravel bike with road riding endurance, the Salsa Warroad is quick and responsive on the road but can still grind gravel like it’s nothin’.

This is a bike that is meant to feel aggressive and fast on the road but still provides confidence and capability when it comes to off road riding. The Warroad is compatible with 650b and 700c wheels.

Specialized Diverge

Enjoy smooth sailing over even the roughest of roads. The Specialized Diverge is designed to provide maximum comfort for long days in the saddle. With its endurance-focused geometry and Future Shock suspension, it eats up bumpy dirt roads and uneven jarring gravel paths. 

And for the days you’re looking to take to the road and join in on a group ride or participate in a charity ride, you’re in luck because the Diverge shares similar geometry with its road counterpart, the renowned Specialized Roubaix.

The Diverge is compatible with 650b and 700C wheels and offers clearance for up to 42mm tires. It also includes three water bottle mounts and is ready for fenders if you are. 

Cannondale Topstone

Where are you trying to go, because this bike will get you there. All new by Cannondale, the Topstone has a full range of capabilities be it backcountry riding, gravel, or commuting to work. The geometry of the Topstone puts the rider in a comfortable and confident position, sharing similar geometry to that of the Synapse, Cannondale’s endurance road bike.

Like the competitors within its category, the Topstone too is compatible with 650b and 700c wheels. Whether it’s a short weekend trip or long distance bikepacking you’re looking to do, the Topstone offers plenty of mounting options for accessories, racks, and fenders. Also, be sure to check out the Topstone Apex 1 (pictured above), it features a 1X drivetrain and is equipped with a dropper seatpost!