Gravel Rides

Coordinator: Rob Joyce

Google Group: FLCC-Gravel

Gravel rides are focused on exploring the gravel, dirt, and otherwise unpaved roads and trails in and around Ithaca. If you like to get away from traffic, occasionally climb a hill just because it’s there, and don’t mind mud, then gravel rides are probably for you! All skill levels are welcome.

Rides during the 2024 season are held on Thursdays at 6:00pm. The starting location, route, and other details will be specified in the ride announcements each week, sent to both the flcc-gravel and fingerlakescycling groups.

Rides typically start from the either:

  • The Shindagin MTB trailhead – map
  • The Danby Park’n’Ride lot – map

with some other starting locations sprinkled in through the season.

Gravel rides are intended to be challenging, social, and, above all, fun! A good attitude and bike handling ability are more important than raw power. Rides are no-drop. Leaders will stop to regroup at the tops of major hills and important turns when the group spreads out, which it always does. We are able to offer multiple pace groups to more comfortably accommodate all riders on weeks where more than one ride leader attends. Early season rides start off at around 13 miles long, with mid-season routes averaging 20-25mi and 2000′ of climbing.

Gravel rides were first offered in 2021. You can review this presentation for a recap of the 2021 season.

A Few Good Questions

Q: Do I need a special bike?

No! There are lots of “gravel” and “adventure” bikes that would be great for these rides, but really you could get by on almost anything.

Q: What equipment do I need?

The main thing to think about is your tire width and pressure. A rough suggestion would be something wider than 700x33c at 60psi or less. If you don’t know what that means, it’s okay! Get in touch and we can help you figure out if your bike would be up to the task (it probably is).

Other than your bike you’ll need blinking lights that fix to you or your bike for safety at dusk, water bottles, a helmet, and tools/parts to fix a flat tire. Multiple gears are recommended, but if you can ride a fixie up Mt. Pleasant then more power to you.

Q: It’s wet out. Is the ride on?

Yup, that just makes it more fun! Rides will be canceled for heavy rain, thunder/lighting, high wind, etc. Otherwise we don’t shy away from getting wet or muddy.

Q: Is this mountain biking?

No. But mountain biking is great and is very complementary to gravel riding, especially when it comes to bike handling.