Although gravel biking has been exploding in popularity in other parts of the US and the world, it’s slowly making it’s way to the Southeast. As seasoned triathletes are looking for new adventures and a bike the provides versatility, many are discovering the benefits of choosing to add a gravel bike to their collection.

Santa Cruz and Parlee Gravel Bikes

So what is a gravel bike?
Most people confuse gravel bikes with road bikes or cross bikes. It looks like a road bike but with wider tires that might be used for cross.

As you begin to look closely, you’ll see some other differences. The wheelbase tends to be longer than a normal road bike, the position slightly more upright, the bottom brackets are lower to provide additional stability and clearance for wider tires.

Gravel is a misleading name because it’s really an all-terrain or adventure bike. You can ride it on the road, on dirt/gravel roads, smooth trails and even to cut across your neighbor’s yard (this is not recommended but possible).

For the athlete who wants a bike to do a little of everything, a gravel bike is a great choice. You can ride in the mountains and finally explore that dirt road that you’ve always wondered where it might lead. You can take it to a cyclocross event and ride it to compete (read Karen’s story) or even hop on it to bike down to the neighborhood brewery.

Benefits for triathletes

Many professional triathletes are choosing to spend time gravel biking in the off-season because they’re finding it to be a fun way to build their aerobic base. The adventurous element of gravel biking can help the miles fly by as you look for the next adventure to explore.

In addition, gravel biking often includes exploring roads where you’ll find steep climbs making a great way to build strength on the bike.

Navigating unknown terrain helps hone in those bike handling skills which benefit triathletes as they navigate the race course.

And if you’re ready for the next adventure in triathlon, keep an eye on the newly announced raced series, Road Optional. These mid-distance races will navigate a variety of terrain on a single bike.

Getting Started

As with any new bike, we recommend you start with a bike fit. If you can get to one of our two Atlanta stores, your bike fit will be included in the purchase of your bike.

We order most gravel bikes directly from the manufacturer after we talk more about what adventures you want to chase with your new bike!


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