Riding off the Beaten Path.
Rides that incorporate quiet roads, gravel roads, rail trails and community trails are often called gravel grinders. However, the term gravel grinder doesn’t really tell you much. This type of riding isn’t so much about the gravel as it is about finding the routes less travelled. We look for variety; a ride that gives some exercise, but is still relaxing.
To allow for maximum exploration, a little wider tire is recommended. 30mm and up should be fine in the summer months. If you are really stable on 28mm, that would work too. More traction and width is needed in the winter. There is really no limit on the top end: hybrids, mountain bikes, and plus sizes would all be fun.
You must be a member of the club to join our rides. See Membership for details.
For all rides, check the Waterloo Cycling Club Event Planner for information and updates leading up to the ride each week.
You may also be interested in CX (Cyclocross) rides.
Over time different styles of gravel rides have emerged. Rides will normally include the style in order to help you find the right ride for you.
These rides seek to find quieter routes, but all typically are firm surfaces that resemble maintained roads: graded, surfaced (firm gravel, rock dust, asphalt), at least two bikes wide, etc. In many cases these surfaces are better than most of the asphalt roads in the region. With slightly wider tires these rides offer a comfortable excursion into the wonderful natural environment we are lucky to have.
Because the gravel in the region continues to be paved over or is made less accessible, it is hard for shorter routes to contain more than 50%. We are hoping the term crossroad will communicate that although the surfaces may vary, if you are comfortable on a bike and looking to get away from some of the normal road traffic, these are rides you should consider.
Less used trail
This style includes all of Crossroad, but adds an element of exploration. It leaves no trail unexplored. This requires higher level of fitness and bicycle skill. You may encounter single track trails with rocks, roots, and mud. There can be steep climbs and descents. You may encounter loose surfaces like sand and pine needles. This is not a mountain bike trail ride, but is more advanced than our the a Gravel Crossroad ride. Most riders use a CX (cyclocross) bike for these rides.
Single track with structure
Ford a creek