Dear TodoGravel readers,

My name is Silvia Röthe and I declare myself a lover and active explorer of gravel in Costa Rica. I also confess (with some regret) that about a year ago I was not even aware of the existence of gravel bikes.

Silvia Röthe with her Marin Lombard

It turns out that this character who is my boyfriend, Alonso, had a musical tour in Europe last year (2019) and locally, within several European countries, Alonso used to get around by bicycle, as it should be; that’s how he discovered (I have to STRESS this) and became obsessed with gravel bikes … and they with him.

Obviously, at the beginning we did not know much about this type of bicycle or “gravelear” but this boy, as a good compulsive obsessive that I know he is, was soon a complete expert on the subject (components, tires, weights, geometries, brands etc.) and I was convinced that they were the ideal bikes for us in Costa Rica.

We already had a time of being cyclists, we both had our MTBs to which we invested love and time, racks, and bags. We often went around the city, drinking coffee, running errands, moving to and from work, exploring the San José cycle path, having breakfast at fairs, etc., etc. The truth is that we were already quite involved in the world of cycling and we loved it. We noticed how many people around us became interested in the subject and many invested in bicycles as well.

In December 2019 we bought our Marin Lombard 1 and 2 respectively, and our life in cycling changed dramatically. For good.

We started putting a lot of love and dedication into these bikes without hesitation.

We changed the factory tires for a WTB resolute tubeless 700 × 42c (ideal for all climates in Costa Rica). Complementary we entered the world of using clips and appropriate clothing for cycling, we prepared our cassettes for the elevations of Costa Rica replacing the original 11-34 with an 11-42 and we have changed the seatposts, seats, we made measurements and everything that comes with cycling passion.

As part of that obsession / emotion, Alonso created this Instagram profile @gravel.tropic, where we have expanded and shared our knowledge about gravel cycling. We have made friends, and often people on our Instagram write asking for advice and asking questions. Perhaps the best thing about this profile is that we spend sharing our “rides” with the world, literally. Although many times we also get excited seeing bicycles of the world in that social network.

After all this introduction, now yes, let’s get to the point of this article!!

Why do we love our gravel bikes?

Gravel bikes are highly versatile hybrid vehicles. With the right tires and good technique, they are almost valid on all terrains. We run with great speed on asphalt routes such as Puriscal in Costa Rica. We almost managed to rub elbows with those who ride their incredibly light road bike.

An incredible recent trip we made was: Leaving Ciudad Colon near the city and reaching Parrita in Puntarenas (the coast), in what was a start of a lot of asphalt and speed, to then cross mountains, rivers, a lot of mud, various different microclimates and delicious kilometers followed by gravel until appearing in one of these gigantic palm oil plantations in Parrita. It is really gratifying to have such a versatile and adaptable bike to so many types of roads. A gravel bike is almost as delicious as the well-deserved ice-cold beer we drink after those struggling 86 kilometers of wild altimetry.

With our bikes we are from both worlds.

Our road bike friends invite us to ride, we can go. Our mountain bike friends invite us to ride, we can also go!

In short, we never have to say no. It is a “siii” (yeess) to practically all the bike rides that appear.

Gravel cycling has been wonderful for us, and I write it with a big happy smile. All are beautiful roads that we have discovered in our country, at the same time, thousands of beautiful roads to discover, and of course, new friends to know, since wherever we go, sooner or later: “heeeeeey graveleros!”, Which leads to WhatsApp chats and group routes. We have enjoyed ourselves too much and are so happy to have our gravel bikes.

For information about us or where to ride in Costa Rica visit @gravel.tropic

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