How to plan new gravel routes

Preparation is key to creating enjoyable off-road rides. We delve into the hows and whys with some route planning 101

Image shows a rider following a new gravel route on a cycling computer.
(Image credit: Anne-Marije Rook)

Traffic-free routes that channel a spirit of adventure are at the heart of gravel riding’s broad appeal. Even die-hard roadies at one with the hum of traffic and skilled at navigating road furniture large and small will likely appreciate the liberation that comes from not having to worry about moving vehicles for large swathes of the ride. 

Gravel riding encourages you to explore. It urges you to stop wondering what’s up that track, and instead go and find out. Armed with wider tyres, the imagination too seems to expand as you unfold the map, real or otherwise, and begin to join dots, trails and byways in the hope of genuine discovery but mostly in the pursuit of fun.

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Freelance writer

Luke Friend has worked as a writer, editor and copywriter for twenty five years. Across books, magazines and websites, he's covered a broad range of topics for a range of clients including Major League Baseball, the National Trust and the NHS. He has an MA in Professional Writing from Falmouth University and is a qualified bicycle mechanic. He has been a cycling enthusiast from an early age, partly due to watching the Tour de France on TV. He's a keen follower of bike racing to this day as well as a regular road and gravel rider.