Zipping around at 30MPH and suffering with 75 of your closest friends is fun and all. But some rides are meant to be savored rather than suffered through. James Stout and I have been doing our Margarita ride for a while now, it’s become one of our favorite routes. We first attempted it on mountain bikes, and later on drop bar fat tire bikes. Call it a gravel bike, an adventure bike, or an all-road bike, it’s a bike that gives you tons of options during your ride. I love a good fast group ride or a long ride in the mountains, but the business of bike racing hasn’t been doing well lately. But the gravel bike, and gravel race segment is growing while traditional road racing suffers. You just need to throw your leg over one of these bikes to see why. The ability to ride down the road, see a piece of trail and just follow it where it goes is intoxicating.
I’m the type of guy that gets a huge grin from hopping on nearly anything with two wheels, but these bikes are something special. At first I didn’t get it. A gravel bikes appears to be a bike built on compromises. It’s to slow to be a fast road bike, and not off road capable enough to be mountainbike. But you’ll quickly realize that these bikes will actually go pretty fast on pavement, and they add challenge to dirt roads and light singletrack that would be boring on a mountain bike. The ability go (almost) anywhere at any time, make my gravel bike my go to bike for anything other than a hammerfest group ride.
The Margarita Adventure ride starts at the beach, and after a few miles of pavement, hits the dirt. Then follows a mixed surfaces to a destination with Margaritas. This particular ride also featured a dog rescue, a broken down car, and a stop at a local fruit stand that every San Diego rider has passed, but few have actually stopped to examine. It ends with a dip in the ocean and a cold beer. After watching it you might be inclined to skip a weekend of racing and go have an adventure.