RideReport - DIY Gravel Event in Box
Erwin Sikkens On
6 July 2020
Shimano Gravel Alliance team rider Erwin Sikkens tries out the DIY approach to riding a gravel event.
It’s been a while now, and we’re all of us getting used to living in times of a pandemic with all its limitations. Luckily in most parts of Europe we’re permitted to ride our bikes again, be it alone or in small groups. Life slowly finds its way back to a new normal again, making room for creative ways to getting back our old lives.
One such creative idea came from fellow Shimano Gravel Alliance member Gijs Bruinsma. Gijs is an organizer of gravel events such as Where the streets have no name and came up with a Covid19-proof solution to all the gravel events we’ve been missing out on.
A do it yourself gravel event in a box, the Gravel Box.
A box delivered to your doorstep filled with everything you need for a do it yourself gravel event. I’m talking about a box filled with a nice bag of coffee beans, some food, a spare inner tube, a coupon for some fries afterwards, a couple of beers, and finally (and most importantly) of course - a couple of great gravel routes to ride yourself via komoot. Three beautiful gravel rides spread throughout the country, so any unnecessary travel is prevented.
One of the routes, closest to my doorstep, leads through the beautiful Veluwe. The Veluwe is a big national park in the center of the Netherlands, known for its rolling terrain, forests and heather fields. This was the ride I was gonna ride!
I set out on this ride as if it was a true event. Me and a friend of mine started the day grinding some coffee beans, before we got to grinding gravel. No gravel event should start without a great cup of coffee beforehand, with the opportunity to have a good conversation about the ride and our expectations on it.
After getting the bikes to the start, we were ready for a beauty of a gravel ride of about 100 kilometers. We knew we were in for a nice ride. From rock-solid gravel roads to hardpack forest tracks, all combined with beautiful scenes of nature. The Veluwe is an area a lot of Dutch people love to go, and I’m lucky enough to be able to call it my backyard.
Taking our time, we brought some gravel bags and stopping along the way for a warm meal. It made the ride all the better. To be fair, that warm meal didn’t came out of any box, but like with any event you’ll also have to bring a bit of the party yourself.
I know the Veluwe quite well, but this ride had some pleasant surprises for me. Also bumping into a couple of wild boars by the side of the road, just going about their business as if we weren’t there, made our day all the better.
Once we got home, some cold ones were sitting waiting for us in the fridge. And once the tunes of the provided Spotify playlist filled the room, and the sweet taste of fries after a great ride hit our mouths, we looked back and realized a couple of things.
Firstly, no box in the world can create the true sensation and fun of being part of a gravel event. We missed the campfire, the excitement of being amongst fellow gravel grinders, looking at the beautiful bikes other riders brought, and the party shared with many after the ride.
But with most of the ingredients there, including a couple of great gravel routes to ride, we can fairly say that a DIY gravel event in a box is a pretty sweet way to get through a rough patch like we are in now.
Gave me a great taste for the real deal, hopefully we’ll soon be gravelling at events together again!