There’s nothing quite like uneven terrain, slick mud and the occasional tree branch to hone your handling skills
There’s nothing quite like riding a fully rigid bike with skinny tyres and drop bars off-road on grass, gravel and mud to really hone your bike handling skills. While cyclocross or gravel tyres aren’t quite as grippy as mountain bike tyres, you’ll certainly notice the improved traction over skinny and slick road rubber. So take yourself off into the woods on a gravel adventure, or try a little cyclocross! And if you are unlucky enough to take a spill, trail rash is generally less painful than road rash.
If you were looking for an excuse to buy a new bike, here’s a good one. If you want to really get adventuring, you’ll need a bike with a frame that can accommodate fatter tyres and wheels with corresponding wider rims. Now, while many modern road bikes are versatile beasts, if you have a thoroughbred race bike you might want to get something a little more suited to gravel, mud and wild times.
3. It’s a whole heap of fun!
Riding in the rain on roads can be more of a chore than a laugh, but take the same ride into the woods and suddenly it’s a whole different kettle of fish. There’s just something about riding through puddles and getting completely mucky that harks back to childhood days spent splashing through the mud.
Endless chat about weight and an unwillingness to get your bike dirty; as roadies, we’re all guilty of this. But take it off-road and concerns about the minutiae of weight saving and aero gains fade away when faced with a rutted farm track with hub-deep mud.
5. Because adventure!
Get out in the gloriously great outdoors and have yourself an adventure
This world, despite its frequent frustrations, is a beautiful, eye-opening place, and you don’t have to travel far from home to see something new. So get off that road you’ve ridden fifty million times, turn left instead of right, and take yourself off for an adventure. You won’t regret it!
Top 5 reasons road cyclists should get adventurous
Got any other reasons we’ve missed? Pop them in the comments below!
Aoife is an experienced journalist, editor and product tester. With 6 years’ experience of reviewing bikes and kit, she’s ridden and rated nearly every women’s road and mountain bike available on the market. She enjoys putting the latest products through their paces, helping riders find the right kit for them and sharing the best advice, hints and tips to help them get the most out of riding.