Hand on heart – many of us cyclists are loners, because sometimes it is not easy to find a suitable cycling partner: schedules, fitness level, bike type – there are many factors that make it sometimes impossible to ride with someone else.
This Saturday is a joint trip on the plan: go on a tour with a friend, me on a gravel bike and Michael riding an eMTB Fully in Val Gardena.Will our roads separate after a few kilometers or will we stop the project after the first meters?
On the climb from Soplases on the Alpe di Siusi over asphalt and forest roads, the differences seem to be somewhat limited. Although I have the heart rate on the gravel bike to just under 150, my companion Michael tells me joyfully from his next tour plans. He is chatting an I am just listening, but finally the almost 900 climbing meters to reach the Zallinger mountain hut pass quickly. Performance comparison does not count today even if a gravel bike climbs extremely well on gravel and forest roads. In the end, the eMTB is definitely faster and that was not a surprise. Nevertheless, weight is still a deciding factor on the mountain and gravel bikes can bring its advantages over normal mountain bikes into play.
To enjoy the gravel bike trails should not be too stony, because only then you can maneuver safely in the terrain. Unfortunately, my tires were not adequately well pre-rented for this use case. The Schwalbe G-One tubeless in width 37c are on their limits and a kind of 40c tire like WTB Nano or Rambler would be the preferred option. A tubeless set-up is almost a must, because driving with low tire pressure is a decisive advantage off-road.
Unfortunately, I did the GPX planning of the route in an urgent procedure and the result was not exhilarating. We landed sometime on the FIS World Cup men’s downhill ‘Saslong’ and up to Ciampionoi still missing some altitude. I had to push and Michael emptied the first battery pack on the e-bike.
The unequal couple had definitely spent a pleasant Saturday and talked about further common routes at a stop after the tour in the Cafe Corso in Ortisei. It was not such a bad thing to be on the road with a gravel bike and and an eMTB: we have mastered 50 km and 1,800 climbing meters!