Sport, enjoying nature and having fun with like-minded people: Gravel biking is the perfect activity for more and more people. Cycling with these special bicycles is in vogue and Lower Austria as "the cycling country in the heart of Europe" is ideal for this. There have been special tours for gravel bikes in Lower Austria for a year now, and since this year a total of almost 2.000 kilometers of gravel routes can be offered.
The origin of the gravel bike is in the USA in the Midwest, where only busy roads are paved, the rest are "gravel roads". Long distances were not ideal for mountain bikes and the condition of the roads was not ideal for racing bikes either, so an alternative was created with the gravel bike. Gravel bikes have also been gaining momentum in the DACH region for around five to ten years. The aim of gravel bikers is to be away from busy roads; gravel and forest paths are preferred. The fitness aspect is secondary: gravel bikers are not necessarily interested in top sporting performance, but rather look for varied routes and tours, nature experiences and "Instagramable places" are in demand. The gravel community is very digital and urban, the planning of the routes and the navigation on the way is done digitally, mostly smartphones or bike computers are used to play back the GPS tours.
State Governor Johanna Mikl-Leitner is convinced: “Gravel biking fascinates newcomers, die-hard mountain bikers and racing bike fans alike, and is the optimal combination for many. Since this year, there are 22 routes in Lower Austria specifically for gravel bikers, from eleven-kilometer routes to multi-day bike tours, there is something for everyone. Once again, Lower Austria's excellent reputation as a diverse and promising excursion and holiday destination is confirmed here, from the quiet enjoyment of nature in national and nature parks to panoramic mountain tours and leisurely cycling through vineyards and orchards. Cycling fans get their money’s worth here.”