What exists after paradise? In our last issue, our search for said paradise came up trumps. We didn’t just look for it – we landed in it, as we drifted through gravel heaven on two and four wheels with rally legend Walter Röhrl. So the question is: can it get any better than this?

You can download the new issue now in our magazine app – free as always! If you don’t have the app yet, you can find it here in the App Store (iPhone/iPad) or in the Play Store (Android Smartphones & Tablets).

… Hell, yes! Providing you’ve got your adventure radar turned on. Like any chapter in a good book, each experience should end with a cliffhanger, transporting you forward unexpectedly. From one page to the next, the protagonist – let’s call them ‘the hero’ – gets a new chance, whether through some tragic chain of events, a new romance, or the fulfillment of a long-held ambition. Of course, you can read and reread great chapters. Without the unpredictability, you can settle onto your squishiest sofa and read it again and again in comfort, safe in the knowledge that nothing is going to surprise you. It’s like life: it used to be the norm to lead a linear life, with a straightforward trajectory including work, a house, a relationship, and the same friends you’ve known since school. So far, so standard.

But there’s also another way, in which you get pretty much limitless choices provided you turn the pages with an open mind. This puts you in the same position as Neo in the Matrix: Do you take the blue or the red pill? Do you stick with what you know or step into the unknown?

The Highlights

  • The best gravel bike 2024 – Our big adventure gravel bike test
  • Can we still adventure? – A trans-Alp gravel ride 20 years later
  • Luxury is lame – Why spend so much money to remain hidden in the flock?
  • Cycling in the dark – Light, visibility, and the law?
  • Smart beats strong – A smart ebike can do more than just push you along

The free, digital magazine is at the heart of what we do and undoubtedly the best way to experience our content. It comes with lots of interactive features, high-resolution images and videos, and a unique design. We’re sure that if you like our website, you will love the app. By the way, you’ll also find all the back issues of GRAN FONDO in the app – there’s definitely no shortage of reading material!

Which is the best adventure gravel bike of 2024, and which is the best model for you and your riding style? We let the 19 hottest gravel bikes of the season compete head to head, not just finding clear winners and losers, but also gleaning some exciting insights in the process. Looking for a new gravel bike or want to find out what the market has to offer? Then this gravel bike group test is for you!

Glory is painful. Sharp stones, cold water, dark clouds. We wade into the waves on shaky legs. Someone shows us a little mercy and raises a camera. Click. The finish line photo. Here we are in Lake Garda. Three guys in their mid-40s, with unshaven calves, and awkward grins. Happy yet sentimental at the same time.

There’s a collective sigh as another € 10,000 charcoal grey aero whip goes by. Fully equipped, how predictable. Are we talking cool, innovative, or just ostentatious? Hold up, hold up. Firstly, it’s all the above – plus downright unimaginative. So, when did luxury items become so bland and uninspiring? Why are they just not cutting it these days?

Every dark cloud has a silver lining, but does the same apply to riding a road bike in the dark? With the right winter clothing, lights and other equipment, any ride in the dark can quickly become an illuminating experience. In this article you will find out what makes cycling in the dark more enjoyable, what is legally allowed, what is required and what is important!

From heavy and clunky to lightweight and elegant, e-drives can now be integrated almost invisibly into drop bar bikes. But as well as being aesthetically pleasing, the latest concepts are also smart. Discover the potential of connecting these drives with rider and route data, and how a smart ebike will change the way we ride.

As you can see, we always find a way to combine our interests and do what makes us excited. I hope you’ll take some inspiration away from this issue and never be afraid to follow your instinct. Have fun reading!

Read the new issue now – for free!

Enough with the spoilers! These stories (and many more) are just a few swipes and taps away. If you’ve already installed our app, you can download and enjoy the latest issue immediately. If not, we strongly recommend installing it from the App Store (iPhone/iPad) or the Play Store (Android Smartphones & Tablets) and downloading issue #021 now. With that done, you can sit back and enjoy the latest stories and reviews (ideally with a well-tempered glass of wine or delicious coffee in hand)!

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Words & Photos: GRAN FONDO