Celebrating a Year of Gravel Rides — and Happy Holidays!

Gravel bike on dirt road

Hi Folks,

I want to wish everyone in the GrNY group a happy holiday season! My personal end-of-year thoughts and observations are below.

A Year of Rides:
Since April of this year, GrNY has hosted at least 24 group rides. Probably more. That’s a lot of group rides! Particularly, given that two people account for most of the rides that are posted (i.e. Jay and I). The count increases if I include gravel rides where I invited members of GrNY via email or text, but didn’t post a Strava event. These gravel rides spanned a wide range of distances and elevations, from 35-40 miles on rolling terrain to a gravel century (100 miles) with over 10,000 feet of climbing.

The General Spirit of GrNY Rides:
GrNY rides are informal, there are no membership fees, and folks are welcome to show up on any kind of bike, in any kind of clothes. Stopping to enjoy the scenery, snap a photo, and/or refuel with a snack, is an expected part of the experience, rather than something that immediately gets you dropped from the rest of the ride. That’s not to say that you should ignore the expected ride speeds that get posted! Some of us like challenging rides, or riding hard, but we are out to enjoy the day, rather than to race or achieve particular speeds/times/power numbers. I want to thank Jay for starting GrNY. I’ve grown to appreciate what he was aiming for.

Do GrNY rides count as “Gravel Events”?
Some of you have told me you treat the longer rides that I post (e.g. 60 – 80+ miles with lots of climbing) as if they are gravel events, which I’ll take as a compliment! They are certainly fun adventures and the courses certainly rival many events in terms of challenge and scenic beauty. Unlike typical events, our rides aren’t declared months in advance and don’t run out of spaces within a few hours of posting. We expect riders to be self-sufficient on the road, rather than have aid stations. We certainly don’t have plans to charge money for rides, despite some of you joking that it would boost turnout by 100-fold — ha! And our rides are typically small. Sometimes it is just a few riders and a single pace group and distance. For rides with three pace groups and three ride leaders, like our Spring Gravel Series, we tend to get a larger number of riders (15-35 riders).

Whether these rides are true “gravel events” or not, I appreciate the folks who wake up early or travel some distance to join them!

Winter Rides?
I can’t speak for Jay and others, but I tend to ride year round. I’ll probably continue to post some rides in cold weather. That said, riding in cold weather on closed-for-the-season dirt roads, in areas without cell reception, requires being especially well-prepared. Please be sure that you are ready for winter conditions if you join these rides.

Thanks for a great year everyone! I look forward to riding with many of you in 2022.

Email: track.smart@gmail.com

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