Kirby and I made plans for the week we were going to try it. We called CBB to reserve a gravel bike rental and showed up around 6 pm last Thursday to get our bikes fitted. Then we were ready to take off with the group at 6:15 pm.
What we first learned was that this was not the ordinary route the group takes. With the riverfront trail flooded, we were unable to pedal our way to the Kokopelli Trail System, so we were doing the “winter route.” This meant that the gravel group was heading out to McInnis Canyon, but first, we were going to loop around a gravelly path in the James Robb State Park. The route didn’t really matter to us, we were up for an adventure!
Neither Kirby nor myself are avid road riders. We prefer the comfort of the flat bike bars that we are used to from our mountain and commuter bikes and “normal” brakes and shifters. Even though it wasn’t normal for us, we adjusted quickly to drop bars and the brakes with shifters attached to them. The group was friendly and ready to ride! As we pedaled on our own leisurely pace, we soon realized we would have to put in a little effort to keep up with the group – even though they would have waited at intervals so we knew where we were going.
The combination of pavement riding and gravel riding was a nice change! Just when you might get lulled into comfort, it gets switched up and you’re in a whole new world. The wider tires on the gravel bike made so much sense as we pedaled around Snooks Bottom. The extra cushion gives you enough control and comfort to get over the few rocks, and through the softer gravel sections that were thrown our way.
When we all made it back to the shop, the rest of the evening was spent with beverages on the patio of CBB at The Cooler talking about, what else, bikes! What rides people have recently completed, what was coming up, and what trails we all need to put on our bucket lists.
This was an entirely new experience, but we both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves! We can’t wait for the Riverfront Trail to re-open to try the regular gravel grind route. If you’re looking to get out of your old biking routine, come try a gravel grind ride with CBB! The shop wants people to experience this even if you don’t own a gravel bike. This is why they make it so easy to rent a bike for this (or any of their other shop rides). You just show up around 6 pm, and they’ll have the bike ready for you. When you get back from the ride, you just leave the bike with them. Easy. So, if you would like to give this a try, just call the shop and reserve your gravel bike for the next ride you can make it to. We will hopefully see you tonight!