A Portlander has taken his love of riding on unpaved roads to a new level with the creation of a website called Gravelland. It’s the latest in our city’s long-running love affair with taking road bikes off-road.
Andrew Osborn is the man behind GravellandPDX.com, a site profiled by VeloNews last week that’s devoted to mapping every section of rideable gravel in the Portland area. It’s an excellent resource for anyone who wants to spice up their next ride. Osborn is running the site as a nonprofit that’s, “working to improve knowledge of riding opportunities in our city, help more people learn about the fun of riding gravel, and network the gravel-riding community.”
So far he’s mapped 391 sections of unpaved roads and trails. The site also has 12 curated routes to help you get started. Osborn’s work builds off local interest in gravel and adventure riding that’s been building for well over a decade now — from the legend of Otto Miller Road and the “Bullshit 100” ride, to VeloDirt and Our Mother the Mountain.
What sets Gravelland apart is how easy it makes urban explorations, and how it encourages you to think differently when you plot out your next ride. Too many people tend to ride past our big urban parks, rather than ride through them. And if you haven’t explored the dirt treats along the Willamette Bluff or the East Buttes, now you have one less excuse. Just grab one of the routes or pick an unpaved section, plug it into your GPS unit or phone, and set off.
The routes are mostly paved with sections of gravel and dirt here and there. Most of them can be ridden on standard road bikes (if you’re careful to not flat).
Osborn told VeloNews a big reason for this project is to get more beginners into mixed terrain riding and to make gravel more accessible to more people even if they don’t have a lot of time or a ton of high-end gear.
Check it out at GravellandPDX.com.