Intro to Gravel Riding Weekender

Develop your mixed-terrain cycling skills on ancient byways and woodland tracks in the English countryside

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Trip Ref #10552

Intro to Gravel Riding Weekender

Develop your mixed-terrain cycling skills on ancient byways and woodland tracks in the English countryside

DURATION

2 nights

LOCATION

England

ANNUAL LEAVE

0 days off work

SEASON

May-Oct

GROUP SIZE

Up to 16 people

MEETING POINT

Tring Railway Station

ACCOMMODATION

Classic

Bell Tent

OVERALL RATING

0.0

This trip is brand new
DIFFICULTY

Moderate

No previous experience riding off-road is needed, just a good level of fitness along with some general cycling experience

Discover the joy of off-road riding on hand-picked routes through the beautiful landscapes of the Chiltern Hills

Ride along the Ridgeway, Britain’s oldest road, as you get expert guidance on key gravel riding skills and techniques

Bed down under the stars in bell tents, enjoying après-bike vibes around the campfire with a bunch of like-minded souls

Day 1

Your weekend adventure begins!

Clock off for the weekend and get ready for an invigorating adventure, gravel riding and camping in the idyllic countryside of the Chiltern Hills. A designated 'Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty' on the doorstep of London, the Chilterns are a haven for traffic-free cycling and the perfect playground for honing your skills. Rock up in time for an evening meal and enjoy getting to know your biking companions beside the campfire.

Day 2

The Ridgeway & Ashridge National Trust Estate

Cycling

5-6 hrs · 55km · 660m up · 660m down

Rise and shine early to make the most of a full day. After breakfast, you'll have a safety briefing and an introduction to your bike, followed by a route overview and an explanation of what to expect. Over the next two days, you'll be taught about adventure prep and planning, equipment essentials and fundamentals of off-road gravel riding (including ascending, descending, gear selection, cornering and braking). Today's route features a blend of country lanes, farm tracks, trails and bridleways, including a section of the Ridgeway - Britain’s oldest road, which runs along the edge of a spectacular chalk plateau. You'll wind your way through the stunning Ashridge National Trust Estate with its endless smooth gravel trails meandering through ancient woodland lanes, ending at a fabulous viewpoint. Lunch will be at the Chilterns' coolest bike cafe, and in the evening you'll reflect on learnings from the day's ride back at the campsite, with a healthy home-cooked meal and sundowners around the fire.

Day 3

Grand Union Canal & Wendover Woods

Cycling

4-5 hrs · 45km · 390m up · 390m down

Recap on the techniques and experiences from yesterday, along with another safety briefing for the ride ahead. Roll out of the camp onto a carefully designed route which features slightly trickier terrain to reinforce and put into practice the same techniques. You'll encounter picturesque forest tracks, the Grand Union Canal, and the cycling wonderland that is Wendover Woods. This Forestry Commission site perched atop the highest point in the Chiltern Hills features a maze of sublime, sweeping gravel tracks through the woodland. By mid-afternoon you'll be back at the campsite, to pack up and toast to a great social weekend of two-wheel adventuring.

Included

Guides

Expert cycling guides

Accommodation

2 nights camping in bell tents

Meals

2 breakfasts, 1 lunch and 2 dinners

Transfers

Arrival pick-up from the train station at a fixed time, and departure drop off

Equipment

Mix of Sonder Camino gravel bike (drop bars) & Sonder Frontier rigid (straight bars)

Not Included

Flights to and from the meeting point

Travel insurance

Personal expenses

Tips for your guides

Some meals as described

Travel to and from the start point

Visas where required

Day 1

Bell Tent · Multi share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 2

Bell Tent · Multi share

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

Day 3

Breakfast

Lunch

Dinner

What is the food like?

Enjoy delicious home-cooked meals by the fireside on Friday and Saturday evenings. Your hosts will cook up meals featuring locally-sourced produce with vegetarian and vegan options, plus a selection of brews and non-alcoholic drinks. Breakfasts at the campsite include homemade Bircher muesli, granola, pastries, fruit, fresh coffee and tea. You'll also get some snacks to keep you going during the rides! On Saturday you'll stop mid-ride at the Chilterns' coolest bike cafe for a bite of lunch (included) and on Sunday a pit stop will be factored in around lunchtime (not included).

Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements and allergies can be catered for - please just request this on your passenger info form.

What is the accommodation like?

Bell Tents

You’ll be staying in a beauty of a camp, tucked away deep in the countryside - it will be hard to believe you're less than an hour from London! The weekend experience includes two nights in a fully-equipped canvas bell tent 'village', complimented by a cosy evening campfire: chilled, under-the-stars fireside vibes guaranteed. The campsite is set up with bell tents and separate eating and cooking areas. The tents vary in size, each sleeping either 2, 3 or 4 people. Depending on the makeup of the group, your guides will distribute the rooming arrangements and make sure that everyone feels comfortable. Camp beds are provided, so you just need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.

Upgrades

For solo travellers looking for their own space, an optional private tent can be booked for an extra charge (subject to availability). Please request this at the time of booking - a limited number of single tents are available and these will be confirmed on a first come first served basis. Note that this will be a standard design small tent as opposed to a bell tent. See Optional Extras for the price.

The Area

map

Logistics

Starts

Tring Train Station

18:30 hrs on Day 1

Ends

Tring Train Station

Afternoon on Day 3

Transfers

The campsite is situated approx. 4km from Tring station, and you'll be sent the address by the host after booking. Your host will organise a group transfer from the station to the farm at 18:30 hrs on Day 1. If arriving later then you should get a taxi to arrive at the campsite independently.

Travel options

For anyone arriving by road, cars can be parked at the campsite for the duration of the weekend. Your host will send you the address after booking.

Enjoy 12.5% Off Outdoor Gear

In need of a few more items? All bookings receive a 12.5% discount to use at Cotswold Outdoor, Snow + Rock and Runner's Need.

What's included?

  • Adventure bikes (see FAQs)
  • Tents
  • Individual camp beds

What do I need to bring?

CYCLING

  • Your own helmet (compulsory), which conforms to current safety standards
  • Cycling shoes (bring your own pedals if using cleats)
  • Pedals and saddle if you would rather use your own (these will be fitted to the bike for you. The host provides either flat or SPD MTB pedals and will discuss your choice with you beforehand.)
  • Refillable water bottles

BAGS

  • Main luggage bag e.g. duffel bag or rucksack
  • Small daypack, bumbag or frame/handbar bag to carry basic essentials in while riding

CLOTHES

  • Padded cycling shorts
  • Sports tops or cycling jerseys
  • Breathable wicking layers
  • Cycling gloves
  • Down jacket, fleece or similar for the evenings
  • Trousers/leggings for the evenings
  • Waterproof jacket
  • Waterproof trousers
  • Buff or neck scarf
  • Warm hat
  • T-shirts
  • Underwear and socks
  • Sunglasses/eye protection
  • Sunhat
  • Something to sleep in
  • Sandals

SLEEPING

  • Sleeping bag
  • Travel pillow

OTHER

  • Power bank or solar charger
  • Travel insurance documents
  • Ear plugs
  • Suncream
  • Personal first-aid kit (inc. blister treatment)
  • Personal items (biodegradable toiletries, sanitary wear etc)
  • Personal medications
  • Quick-dry towel
  • Alcohol hand-gel
  • Headtorch or torch
  • Reusable water bottle x1 litre

Private Single Tent

Payable Before Departure

Private Single Tent

This trip is brand new

We’re still waiting to collect any reviews from other travellers on this trip. However, all our hosts go through an extensive vetting process to ensure that your adventure is awesome.

We've crunched the numbers to work out the total carbon footprint of this trip, and plant enough trees to suck 2x as much back out the atmosphere.

What's the number?
It works out on average at 32kg of CO2 emissions per person, including all local transport, accommodation, food, activities, guides, staff and office operations.

The only thing it doesn’t include right now is flights and travel to the destination. We do make an overall estimate across all our customers separately, but as we don’t book flights, have customers from all corners of the world, and no way of reliably knowing their travel plans, we simply can’t include an individual number in the figure on display here. We’ve got a goal for 2022 to fix that, so that when you book, there is a way to measure and mitigate the carbon emitted by your flight too.

But what does the number mean?
Yep, hard to picture eh? To give you an idea:

  • Driving 1000miles/1609km would be approx. 281kg of CO2 in an average car (or 140.5kg per person if there was 2 of you in it).
  • A return economy class flight London - New York would be approx. 1,619kg (1.66 tonnes) per person.
  • 10 trees in a temperate forest are estimated to remove approx. 250kg of CO2 from the air in a period of 5-10 years.

What are we doing about it?
Our trips are relatively low-carbon by design, and we're working with all our hosts to develop long term carbon reduction plans. For every person booked with us since 2016 we’re planting enough trees to suck at least 2x more carbon out the atmosphere than is emitted by their trips. All native trees, as part of amazing projects that are re-foresting degraded land, tackling the biodiversity crisis and supporting local communities at the same time. We go further than that too, also funding re-wilding projects worldwide to help protect important keystone species from extinction. See the reforestation and re-wilding schemes we support. See our carbon action plan.

Want to know more?
Amazingly, no international travel company has ever publicly published their carbon measurements before, as far as we know. We believe that must change, quickly. So we’re openly sharing the method we used in the hope that other companies will be able to more easily follow suit and build on what we've done so far. You'll find it all here.

It's no secret that we love cycling and many of us at HQ think it's the best way to see a country, however, we realise that organising your own trip can be a total faff. On our cycling trips, we've found a local guide who has put together a perfect route and will navigate for you all the way. Faff eliminated! All you have to do is turn up, pedal and take in the landscape with your fellow tourers. You don't need to be a lycra-clad 'roadie' although they're welcome too!

Gravel riding means embracing the variety of mixed-terrain cycling routes to allow a deeper exploration into, and connection with, the natural environment, as opposed to being confined to only following the road network. A range of bike styles can be used for this blend of very accessible off-road riding, but purposely designed gravel bikes are typically rigid frame models with drop handlebars and knobbly tyres, with their geometry and gearing somewhere between a mountain bike and a road bike.

You'll be taught about adventure prep and planning, equipment essentials and the fundamentals of off-road gravel riding - including ascending, descending, gear selection, cornering, braking and riding on varied terrain.

Far from being unscripted, the routes featured on this trip are specially designed to incorporate the best of the surrounding countryside landscapes and scenery, within a pre-planned structure that is suitable for the 'moderate' trip grading. A range of features, mixed terrain surfaces and gradients are included to provide multiple opportunities to develop skill and technique, and build confidence. The hand-picked routes have been pre-ridden and risk assessed by the host, and daily ride safety briefings will give you advanced knowledge of the specific terrains and ride characteristics that you'll encounter each day. The group will stick together at a social pace throughout the rides, and re-group at regular strategic points along the route, including at any intersections and for any mechanical problems. There may be moments when you might prefer to get off your bike and walk for a short section, and the weather could have an impact on the condition of the terrains encountered.

Ride #1: Surfaces Approx. 64% unpaved, 22% paved, 14% asphalt

Ride #2: Surfaces Approx. 69% unpaved, 15% paved, 16% asphalt

This weekend is an ideal introduction to gravel riding. Previous cycling experience is required but no previous off-road cycling is necessary as you'll be provided with introductory-level guidance. A good level of fitness is required and you should be comfortable with the distances and elevations specified in the itinerary. If you do not want to ride a 'drop bar' bike then let the host know in advance so that they can allocate you a flat bar bike instead - both models are designed for the type of riding that you'll be doing. The pace is approx. 15km an hour and you'll ride as a group, with plenty of breaks, with no one getting left behind. You will likely be on your bikes/outside for most of the day on Saturday, and until mid-afternoon on Sunday.

Gravel adventure bikes are included for all bookings, and you will be allocated one pre-trip based on your height. They are well-maintained by the host team and you'll be guided through their characteristics before commencing riding. The host has a fleet comprising of two bike models - Sonder Camino (drop bars) and Sonder Frontier (straight bars). After booking you'll be able to speak directly to the host to share your height (for correct frame size allocation), ask any questions, and express your preference for which bike you would like to ride. Note that there may be limited availability of one option over another (drop or straight bar) as they are allocated on a first come first served basis.

Yes, if you prefer, then it is fine to bring your own bike. This should be a gravel bike (but mountain bikes could also be used), with a minimum tyre width of 40mm and a tread pattern suited to a variety of off-road terrains. It would be your responsibility to ensure that your bike and any equipment are in safe working order and suitable for the type of riding that this trip involves. You should bring a multitool, puncture repair and/or tubeless repair kit. Please make the host aware in advance should you plan to bring your own bike, and if in doubt of its suitability then just ask. No discounts can be made on the trip price if deciding not to utilise the included bike hire. There is space for bikes to be loaded onto the transfer vehicle from the train station meeting point at the start of the trip.

Sure can! Over 50% of our travellers travel solo, it’s a great way to meet like-minded people.

You'll be able to fill up your re-fillable water bottles at the campsite in the mornings and at several points during the rides.

This being England, it is fairly unpredictable! Average temperatures are lower for the early and late season departure dates so you should factor this in when packing your kit. As a general guide, it is best to come prepared for all eventualities, both on and off the bike, keeping a close eye on the weather forecast in the days running up to your trip. The host will be in touch to inform you of any weather-specific considerations that might come up.

Our recommended travel insurance provider is Campbell Irvine.

Travel insurance is compulsory on all of our adventures. Your insurance should include adequate protection for overseas medical treatment, evacuation/repatriation, your baggage and equipment and the specific activities involved on your adventure.

Your insurance policy should also include specific Covid-19 cover, including cancellation and curtailment cover if you, your travel companion or a close relative are diagnosed with Covid-19.

We fully endorse Campbell Irvine as their insurance offers all of the above, so get in touch with them or call on 020 7938 1734 to get your insurance sorted. We suggest that you book travel insurance as soon as you book your adventure, just to cover you for any last minute life changes. We know you’re an active lot and injuries do happen!

We automatically convert prices from the local currency that a host receives to your chosen currency. We update our exchange rates on a daily basis so this does mean that prices displayed on the site are subject to currency fluctuations, which is why you may see them change over time.

If you wish to change the currency you pay in, head to the bottom of the page.

All of our group adventures are specially designed for adults to enjoy (18+) as we want these adventures to bring together outdoorsy people who are truly like-minded. Children can be accommodated on some private departures.

You're in good company. Our adventures are typically made up of a mix of solo travellers and small groups of two or three friends who simply love adventure, pushing themselves and meeting awesome like-minded people. See here for more info about our lovely bunch of Much Better Adventurers.

Want to book a private trip? Just tap ‘Private Group’ in the dates and prices tab.

Your trip is led by carefully curated local hosts and expert guides. See here for more info about the guides we work with.

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You can choose to pay for this trip in as many installments as you like, with no interest or fees.

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