Gravel cycling

Gravel cycling in the Forest of Dean

If you’ve heard about gravel biking and are tempted to give it a go, or if you’d just like an exhilarating way of exploring the endless gravel forest roads and paths in the Forest of Dean, then here’s all you need to know!




What is a gravel bike?


You can ride most bikes on the gravel paths around the Forest of Dean, like mountain bikes, hard-tail mountain bikes, commuter bikes, hybrid bikes and of course kids bikes. But if you haven’t tried one and you want to really experience the sheer joy of gravel riding, then it’s worth hopping on a gravel bike. 


Gravel bikes look a bit like road bikes, with dropped handlebars and a rigid frame, but they are designed to be ridden off-road. They’ll usually have bigger, chunkier tyres which help give plenty of grip and also provide lots of cushioning to make riding on a rough surface much more comfortable and fun. They’re also designed to be more stable than road bikes, with a more upright position when you’re riding that makes it much easier to admire the view, chat to your friends or just soak up the Forest atmosphere. 


In action, they feel wonderfully fast and fun, yet stable and confidence inspiring. The gearing goes low enough to allow you to spin up hills without busting a gut, and hire enough so that if you get a long empty stretch of path you can let loose!



Whyte Dean V2 gravel bikes at Pedalabikeaway


Pedalabikeaway has a fleet of Whyte Dean V2 gravel bikes available to hire, so if you don’t have a gravel bike and want to give it a go, or if you simply want to try some fast and fun exploring, book one and take it for a spin. 


We have sizes to suit most rider heights, and they come supplied with pedals and a water bottle. If you’d prefer to use your own pedals, that’s no problem at all. We also have helmets available if you don’t have one. 



Where to ride gravel bikes in the Forest of Dean


Thanks to its industrial heritage, the Forest of Dean has an extensive network of beautiful forest roads and paths that are perfect for gravel biking. Traffic free, wide and criss-crossing the entire forest, you can get between most of the major towns without having to cycle on the road, and you can easily find quieter paths to ride on if you want to get away from it all. 


The best introduction to gravel riding in the Forest is the Family Cycle Trail, a circular 9 mile loop that connects Pedalabikeaway at the Cycle Centre and Mallards Pike; perfect for stopping for a rest, drink and snack half-way around.


If you’d like something a bit bigger (or a bit smaller) we’ve created a selection of routes on Komoot, which is a free mapping and navigation app. You can use these to guide yourself on a Forest of Dean gravel riding adventure. 

NOTE: While there are plenty of paths in the Forest you can ride on, there are a few that are for walkers only and where bikes aren’t allowed. This includes the footpath immediately around Mallards Pike ponds, so if you’re there, please dismount and walk, or stick to the fire roads that are a little way back from the ponds but still give excellent views (and are much quieter and nicer for cycling!)

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