gravel ride

The Shift Towards Gravel

As we head into year three of Bicycle Across South Carolina, we’ve started asking ourselves, who are we? Where do we see ourselves in 5 years? What’s our ultimate goal? The first two years were a chance for us to learn, observe, evolve, and transition.

Now that we’re upperclassmen heading into our Junior year, we can finally start focusing on what the core values of this event are and how we can continue to grow this into a successful, signature cycling event in the South.

And so we began the shift towards gravel…

The Industry

The gravel bike industry is a new and fast-growing part of the cycling world. The desire to get off the grid and space out from public spaces and roadways has pushed riders to pursue this up-and-coming type of riding. Although it requires some new equipment, gravel bikes are seen as more universal and the happy medium between road and mountain bikes. The slightly wider, knobby tires make it a perfect “all-terrain” style bicycle. Think of a gravel bike like a small SUV, it’s not a massive Ford Explorer with three rows of seats but it’s also not a 4 door sedan. Gravel bikes are the perfect in-between! 

“Gravel is largest gross segment this year. Despite the financial, time, and equipment barriers, this is a growing group and it will not die out, this trend is here to stay.”USA Cycling

The Community

In other research, I learned that gravel rides have a reputation of being more inclusive of all cycling levels. There are less competitive qualities and focus more on the experience and the adventure (both of which happen to be words we like to structure BASC around). 

“They aren’t looking to beat Time Trials, aren’t always looking for the lightest carbon bike for aerodynamic and weight purposes, nor are they interested in thin wheels for pavement racing – these gravel bikers are likely to turn this niche into what the cross-biking movement became – a lifelong member of the world of cycling.”  – RoadBike.io

Equipment and community aside, our team has collaborated with experts in the field and decided to start shifting BASC from an off-road ride to more of a gravel ride. We’re relying on the 80/20 rule to guide our future routes: 80% gravel and 20% pavement – the perfect ratio.

Although we are still evolving and learning each day, the BASC team is excited to start looking more into this exciting chapter while keeping our rider’s thoughts and opinions in mind as well. 

Join the Adventure

As the event continues to evolve over the next few months, we want to hear what you’d like to see at BASC. Post-ride yoga? Football on a big screen? Email me here and we’ll see what we can do!

Interested in being a sponsor? Email Alison at awarburton@postandcourier.com.

Registration opens April 16 and routes will be announced May 14.

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