Thirty two degrees. Rainy. Moderate wind. Shades of grey and brown. Definitely not the most inspiring time. Especially those days when that wind pics up speed and just digs down deep into your chest. Winter in Kansas.
I needed gravel this morning. I needed my chance to zone out and think over life. Nothing life changing. Just needed to recharge a bit. I did not need the weather that was given to me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind being cold for awhile. I don’t mind being wet for awhile. I don’t enjoy cold and wet. I definitely don’t enjoy cold and wet on a casual morning ride before I head to work. That’s why people buy Jeeps. Jeeps can handle cold and wet. Jeeps can keep you warm while you get your gravel fix. I have a Jeep. I took a drive. I thought about life. I stayed warm and enjoyed gravel. Problem solved.
Gravel is definitely my happy place. You have yours and I have mine. You have the beach. I have flats with sandy mixed fine gravel. You have the mountains. I have endless rollers with chunky 2 inch gravel. You have the ocean. I have thousands of acres of waving green grass. More of a solitude kind of person? I can ride for hours and not see a single person. We all need a place to go hide for awhile. Mine just happens to be in the middle of nowhere surrounded by rock, cows and grass.
I grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s surrounded by gravel. I learned to drive a car on gravel. My rural high school was on a highway and gravel. The girls I dated were on gravel. I road my ten speed bike with road tires 20 miles to my cousins house…on gravel. I never thought anything about the actual gravel road. It was just a necessary evil to get some place. Eventually computer games became my gravel. I could play for hours. I could get lost in that huge world of bits and bytes. Leading armies, fighting dragons, racing cars, throwing the perfect touchdown pass, computer games had it all. No matter the game though I always finished feeling like I was missing something. I really wanted those experiences to be…real. I missed the physical challenge. Getting enough friends together for a pickup football game or softball was too much work.
Four years ago a friend mentioned riding bikes. Where? On gravel roads. I hadn’t owned a bike in 15 years. I bought a bike. I road 6 miles. It sucked. I road 10 windy miles. I had to have my wife come get me. I think it was ride 5 or 6 before it clicked…I’m on gravel. I’m on a bike. This is hard but…fun. I think I might really like this!!!
I’m not saying you have to run out buy a bike and fall in love with gravel riding. It can be hard at times. It’s not for everyone. It could be for you though, who knows. Find whatever makes you feel happy. Find what ever gives you a chance to hide from the world for a little bit.
Find you own Gravel.
You deserve it.