Exhilaration, fear, suffering and euphoria – just a few of the emotions that cycling regularly delivers to its disciples. The natural highs and lows fuel our addiction, but what happens when we rest praise on different wheels? Can there be a middle ground between roadie and mountain biker, can gravel riding unite?
Difference of Addiction
When we speak of rivalries, the one between roadie and mountain biker has history. For many years both sides have watched the other from afar, understanding the passion, but perplexed by the seemingly limited scope of their opponents two wheeled steed.
The roadies point of view: mountain bikers are considered no more than baggy clothed vagabonds, who are only able to source satisfaction from gradients that are of the downhill variety. In the roadies’ mind, why wouldn’t you want to relish achievement from the suffering a mountain gives you climbing it as much as it does descending it? Madness.
The mountain bikers point of view: why does a roadie have to take everything so seriously? Riding your bike is meant to be fun and everyone knows that going down the hill is a lot more exhilarating than climbing the bloody thing. So why waste your life killing yourself going up it? Madness.
Feeding the Addiction
For our two addictions to collide, we needed a fitting arena. South Tyrol, the picture perfect region of the Dolomites was calling. It’s a region we both love to explore but usually from different perspectives. Pragser Wildsee was our start point; the sheer beauty of it helping us to forget the razor sharp temperatures of an early morning in the mountains.
And so the union begins. It’s time to warm up, we pick our track and go. The rocky terrain instantly demands attention, dealing even the seasoned mountain biker a challenge when choosing the right line. For the roadie, following the wheel in front which is second nature when on the road, takes on a different meaning on gravel. Choosing between bad and good lines is where it’s best to take notes from the off-road pro by following his. But even for mountain bikers it adds a new type of challenge that means only one thing: time to slow down. Finding ourselves pinballing down technical descents, riotous laughter was our only defense against the unrelenting rocks and roots. A technique still under development but it seems to work. The hunger for speed and daring jumps simply faded away and we were consumed by the present – engrossed in this experience of riding, being outside, and together. No pressure to perform, and no role models from the Grand Tours or any Red Bull videos to mimic.
When the mountain air has delivered that pure oxygen hit, steep inclines have ravaged our muscles and jagged, fear inducing descents have tenderised our souls; we’re able to slump wearily into the feeling of contentment as it rests gently upon us. In the afterglow, it’s time to reminisce and lay praise to a sport that gives so much – no matter which type of wheel you’re a disciple of.
Why we all need a healthy Addiction
The Scott Addict Gravel 10 and 20 are for us, bikes that are more than willing to stand up to the test of adventure. And there’s no better place to put a bike’s ability to deliver adventure, than around the gnarly gravel roads of the Dolomites. Although we both come from different riding backgrounds we still expect a bike to bring certain qualities to our riding experience.
The relaxed geometry of the Scott Addict kept conversations flowing freely, but did not want for efficiency as we tackled the steep gravel climbs under towering peaks. Laughter echoed off the mountain sides as the 35 mm Schwalbe G-One tires bit hard into the loose surface, cutting smooth arcs through the shifting shale and rock, powerful disc brakes keeping the fun in check. When the tree root strewn paths brought us to a temporary halt, Scott’s light carbon frames were effortless to shoulder to continue the adventure temporarily on foot.
The Scott Addict knows that it has been born to suffer for the enjoyment of others and delivers on its promise of versatility. Double or single chainset? Shimano Ultegra and Sram Force? The choice is yours, it’s your adventure after all.
The choice is yours, it’s your adventure after all.
It’s on those good days when your mind is only concentrating on which path looks the most fun, that’s when you know you’ve got a great bike.
For more info head to scott-sports.com