© Robion. C / OT Valberg

All you need to know about the Gravel Bike

From cycling enthusiasts who are looking for new sensations to the daring but not too intrepid and those who don’t like having to make a choice, you’ll all love it: the Gravel Bike is the ultimate multipurpose bike. On stony trails, paths along the seaside or slight height differences, it’s your ideal companion for riding around the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region.

Gravel bike basics

The bike to suit (almost) all your whims

Gravel bike or mountain bike, what’s the difference? The Gravel bike came to us straight from the States and appeared not long ago in France and seems to be the new favourite plaything for cyclists. The word ‘gravel’ just means that you can go anywhere with it. Electric gravel bikes, gravel biking on roads… It adapts to different types of use, for leisure riding or for the more seasoned cyclists and you can ride on a variety of terrains: gravel, trail and muddy or stony paths. A perfect blend of the athletic aspect of the mountain bike and the comfort of a hybrid bike. With its tyres that are 10 mm wider than a classic road bike, the gravel bike is mainly for sports use, but be careful all the same on dangerous paths and keep to your good mountain biking habits. Practically speaking, it’s a multipurpose bike which combines the pleasure of a road bile and the adventurous spirit of mountain biking, to satisfy all your discovery wishes!

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A selection of itineraries to tame your Gravel Bike

The Château de Berne, circuits to start

 For an initiation to Gravel bike, we recommend the courses of the Château de Berne. It’s a good way of discovering the estate, its vineyard and the surrounding landscape. On the programme: 4 groomed and signposted courses of distances between 4 to 10 10 km. Circuits suitable for the whole family will guide you on the trails, through the forest and the vines or on the wooden walkways around the château. And for the braver who want to climb the hills, there’s a splendid view over the sea!

 

Go one level higher in the Vallée de la Blanche with Gravel No 15

Let’s head for Gravel No15, a simple course with alternating roads and paths through the heart of the Vallée de la Blanche, near Serre-Ponçon. A 26-km loop you can do with the family for a 2½ hour ride! Lush green in summer or snow-covered in winter, you can follow this itinerary and discover three typical villages of the southern French Alps. And as a reward you’ll find on your way the Brasserie de l’Aubrée or chez Zézette, the local food truck, for a welcome break!

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Gravel No 28, a circuit where you can excel in the Pays Dignois

For more experienced riders, Gravel No 28 takes you on a ride through the lands and villages of the Durance Valley for an unforgettable adventure. An escapade of 35 km to be completed in 2½ hours for the fastest riders, but you can of course take your time and enjoy the landscape! Ride along the Durance River and then go to the villages perched on the side of the mountain to discover the fountains and old wash-houses in the streets. And for the more curious, stop off to visit the magnificent Chapelle Saint-Jean or the charming village of Château-Arnoux.

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Rise to the challenge of bike-tours

A cycling rendezvous: the Gravel Bikes of Roc d’Azur

Let’s head for the famous race Roc d’Azur, a must among the events for cycling enthusiasts who are looking for thrills! The first mountain bike event in the world that brings together cyclists fro all walks of life. Every year in October, ride off with the 20,000 participants to discover of the Massif des Maures and the Esterel, on the heights of Roquebrune-sur-Argens. There’s a race for everyone! Adapted courses, for young and old alike, for professionals and beginners, on mountain bikes, electric bikes and of course on gravel bikes. There’s room for everyone at the Roc d’Azur!

 

The famous Ventoux Gravel Classic 

The mythical Mont Ventoux by bike… Don’t miss the Ventoux Gravel Classic, a cycling event for all levels who come to compete in the Massif du Ventoux and the Dentelles de Montmirail. Don’t waste time, save the date for 24th to 25th October 2021. On the programme, an intense two-day competition for a memorable stay and a wide choice of courses from 80 km to 170 km. Pedal at your own pace for the best time or just admire the breath-taking landscapes.

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The Maurin des Maures as a family race!

A race for all ages to pedal as fast as you can in the footsteps of the Provencal Maurin des Maures. A cycling event organised by the Union Cycliste et Pédestre Londaise which takes place on Sunday 5th April 2021. Four courses from 8 to 45 km to ride between the vineyards and the hills and admire the most gorgeous Mediterranean landscapes. Children, parents or seasoned mountain bikers, all biking enthusiasts are welcome!

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Push your limits in the La Baroudeuse Unpaved RACE

More than just a race, a real adventure

Barou-what ? La Baroudeuse Unpaved RACE, a unique cycle course from the little village of Peille in the Alpes-Maritimes. When the wam weather arrives, from 3rd to 11th July 2021, set off on a sporting adventure through the breath-taking settings of the Gorges du Verdon, the Mercantour National Park, or even the Mont Ventoux. The principle? An ultra-cycling back-packing race  with 3 distances to choose from: the 317-km Maximus  Race, to go beyond your limits and escape for a weekend, the 650-km Quitus Race, for an intense adventure in natural surroundings and the 1000-km Augustus Race, for seasoned cyclists eager to rise to the challenge !

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