If you only had one bike, would the Grovel be it?
We all know there is no such thing as “one bike”, but when faced with the choice, which do you choose?
When I embarked on a road trip holiday (driving) with my family, I could only fit one bike. So what was I going to take with me, my Roadie or my MTB? Both were pleading me to take them... I knew I was going to encounter nice MTB trails and tracks, but equally attractive was some beautiful road rides and serious climbs.
The choice in the end was the Grovel, and a choice that I didn’t regret. The variety of riding that I did on this trip has got me thinking that this could almost be the “one bike”. My riding included everything from urban, to commuting, to remote beach roads, gravel trails, beaches sand, rocks, some lite MTB, the Adelaide Hills (road) and then summed up perfectly with my last ride in the stunning sandstone landscape of the Grampians; a 60 odd kilometre ride aiming for the top of the highest point of the Grampians, Mt Willian aka Mt Duwil.
The summit of Mt Duwil / William is at 1167m, and has a relatively nice 12km long road climb at 7%, with some awesome views of the gap most the way up. But the niceness departs on the very nasty final 2 kms where the road ramps up and the steepest section clocks 30%. The SRAM CX 1 x 11, was pretty hard to turn over at this point, (but what isn’t) and I promised myself not to zigzag, which I didn’t! The pain pays off as you get to the top for a speccy vista and a real sense of accomplishment. Read more about the climb here. http://theclimbingcyclist.com/climbs/mt-william/. The only way down was the way I came in and I especially enjoyed the confidence of the bigger tyres and the disc brakes riding through those steep sections and the more dodgy road surfaces.
As I made my way home, I spied a track that was to take me around Lake Bellfield. It was a 4wd track that looked mellow enough to start, with sandy and hardpack soil, but after some thrilling encounters with some fast running emus, the track got much more serious. I was faced with a series of short yet very rocky climbs and descents with pinches up to 40% in gradient - yikes! That “short” 10km track turned into much more of an adventure than anticipated. Finally, it opened up into a nice little grass flatland with a mama emu and two of her chicks grazing... I stopped for a quick happy snap before finishing off the last few kms of gravel path twisting through the trees back to the campsite.
As you can imagine, I came back feeling pretty elated, one of the bigger and more enjoyable road climbs I have done, followed by an offroad wildlife adventure. Yes, I would have been faster on my Roadie or MTB in their respective playgrounds.... but that’s far from the point.Adam
(oh yeah, the next day I was back at the office and commuted to work on it, last year I podiumed a CX race on it (toot toot) and with a new wheel and tyre combo I am working on making it faster again. )