Finley's top tips for gravel riding in Girona
[Words by Finley Newmark]
Girona has always been known for its gravel/MTB riding but in the last few years, like the rest of the world, it has really blown up. There are now more gravel group rides, events and races everywhere. Because of this, there are also increasing amounts of routes, paths, and single tracks that I have discovered for you to map out on Komoot and explore. Here are my top tips for riding in Girona - go check it out for yourself.
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Find cycle paths
Most of the cycle paths here in Girona are gravel - if you are new to riding off-road or have slick tyres, these are a great way to get used to the loose surface. It can also make getting in and out of the city much more enjoyable as these paths are often found to the right of larger roads. They are also great if you want to spice up your road rides or get away from cars altogether.
Find a local friend or tour guide to take you on some single track
Having someone who knows the trail, whether a guide or a friend, can really help when exploring the trails. You can map your own rides out on Komoot based on other people's rides but there is nothing like following a local's lines down a rocky road.
Don’t be afraid of the road to get to the good trails
Although there is a lot to explore locally - a few of the more spectacular views are quite a distance from Girona. Some of my favourite rides are upwards of 6 hours, but the good thing about gravel is that you can get to the good parts quicker by using the tarmac. Most roads here are beautiful and that allows you to explore further afield. I always felt like gravel rides should always be on gravel, but that might stop you from going to cooler places so I'd recommend mixing some popular road loops with gravel highlights when you're planning.
Enjoy the best cafe stops
Girona is known for its coffee culture, and I’m sure the best cafes in town will be easy to find (La Fabrica, La Comuna, Hidden and many more). The exciting ones are the cafes during your rides, like Rustik and a brewery called Dos Kiwi. They are both great, cycling friendly places and only a short ride away from Girona, making for the perfect cafe rides. Just check the opening times to avoid disappointment!
Pick the right equipment
Although Girona might not be known for its high-altitude mountains, the off-road climbs can get very steep and technical. These are always made easier and enjoyable with easy gears - especially if hike-a-bike isn’t your thing. I think that you should be fine with a 1:1 ratio (front and rear rings). For tyres, it depends on what routes you intend to ride, but you can’t really go wrong with around a 42mm tyre with some slick tread if you intend to mix in some road riding - most of the time mud isn’t a big issue, so less grip shouldn’t be a problem.
Attend events like the TRAKA
I recently went to my first gravel event in Girona called the TRAKA. It's mapped out on Komoot with 365km, 200km and 100km options which can be raced seriously or participated like a sportive. It was an amazing day out on the bike, a chance to chat with like-minded riders whilst showing a lot of gravel highlights, some of which I had never ridden before.
See Klassmark Website for more: www.klassmark.com
And that’s it. I hope you find this useful if you are planning a trip to Girona. Get out there and be adventurous!