If you’re a regular visitor to the site, you’ll know I’m a big fan of all things ‘cross and gravel. As well as racing my Handsling CXC around the local ‘cross league, I like taking it out for longer blasts in the country. The CX Sportive series has been great for showing me around new areas and relieving that gravel itch, without the need to actually hunt out any new routes myself. Well now the nice folks at CX Sportive have joined up with bike makers Kinesis UK to create the Kinesis Gravelcross Series.
CX Sportive and Kinesis UK have both been pioneers in the UK gravel/CX scene. The first CX Sportive event was held in 2010, inspired by bikes such as the original Kinesis Tripster ATR. These on/off-road bikes were up for more than just an hour of blasting around a muddy field. As capable blasting along a bridleway as on the daily commute, they could also handle far-flung rides on dubious road surfaces without feeling slow.
CX Sportive say that the Kinesis Gravelcross Series will offer an exciting range of events for 2017/2018. The series will have a “very UK-centric approach, embracing the variety of riding we have in abundance, and using it to create fast paced and varied courses on the best mix of surfaces that each area has to offer.” From previous experience this means you’ll be riding on every kind of road surface you can think of. Throw in some typical British weather and you can be sure of a challenge.
Phil Harrison from CX Sportive said; “We started CX Sportive events in response to a movement towards people just riding, without restricting themselves to a type of bike, or defining themselves as one kind of rider. In the very early days of the event, we first became aware of the Tripster ATR, and it’s a bike that certainly shaped our thinking and our ambition for what these events should be. This year, we’ve been excited to see Kinesis release the new Tripster AT, which puts top quality gravel riding in the reach a lot more people. Which is exactly what we want to do with the events. The Kinesis Gravelcross Series is open to anyone on any kind of bike that’s up to the job, but the modern gravel bike is very much the all-rounder at the centre of this world, and Kinesis are at the leading edge of the development of those bikes.”
If you’re a regular cyclo-cross or gravel rider then you’ve probably seen one of Kinesis’s bikes flashing by. With four cyclo-cross and two Adventure models, you should find a drop-bar bike to suit your needs. While the ‘cross range is aimed at the more race orientated rider, the Adventure bikes will tackle pretty much anything you care to throw at them; well, almost. And in a world dominated by carbon fibre, it’s nice to see Kinesis still flying the metal flag. New materials and manufacturing methods create bikes that easily match their composite rivals.
Ex-pro and one of the founding fathers of the Brighton Big Dog race, Rory Hitchens is the marketing manager at Upgrade Bikes, the home of Kinesis UK. He says: “I have personally ridden and really enjoyed a number of CX Sportive’s events and the timing is perfect for us to support the growing excitement about riding dropped bars over mixed terrain. We think UK tracks, byways and bridleways are best ridden with wider 40mm tyres and the new Tripster AT is the ideal machine to offer all-round speed and comfort on these events so it’s a great natural fit for us to get involved and we are excited to be working on the new Gravelcross series to bring a new style of cycling to more people this coming year.”
The Kinesis UK Gravelcross Series continues with the Gold Rush. Number two in the seven event series, the Kinesis UK Gold Rush starts from Salisbury Racecourse and features a rich mix of tarmac and dirt/gravel roads. There are some serious hills, a little bit of singletrack and the iconic cobbled climb of Shaftesbury’s Gold Hill. I’ll be riding the Gold Rush for the third time this year and it’s one of my favourites.
The series continues through to the spring with rides in accessible locations across the south. Each event has three distance choices, fully marked routes, rider support and timing. There’s event catering and a great atmosphere, with most riders more than happy to chat tyres and kit! You can enter on any bike you like ‘cross, gravel, Mtb or your mum’s shopper, the choice is up to you!. But there’s a good chance you’ll be thinking of getting a ‘proper’ gravel bike once you get a taste for this way of riding!