I bought this new Specialized Diverge gravel bike a year ago. Chris LeBlanc photo

A little more than a year ago, I retired the Trek 5200 road bike I’d been pedaling back and forth to the Austin American-Statesman for 15 years and bought a gravel bike.

Since then, I’ve been riding my new Specialized Diverge (nickname Banana Cream Pie) gravel bike around town – and on gravel roads near and far. I love pedaling home from swim practice every morning, taking the slow route up the Johnson Creek Trail beneath MoPac, past a historic stone windmill, along the edge of Tarrytown, next to The Grove development and finally to Shoal Creek Boulevard and home.

I like riding the gravel roads east of Bastrop. Chris LeBlanc photo

I ride my gravel bike for a bunch of reasons, and here are my top 10:

  1. Biking places makes me feel like a kid again. I ramble over creeks, pop up and down curbs, and zip down bike lanes, and it makes me smile.
  2. Biking gives me an up-close look at an ever-growing city. I like seeing buildings go up and come down and neighborhoods change. It somehow feels less overwhelming when I watch it bit by bit from the seat of my bike.
  3. Biking gives me a chance to spot new murals.
  4. Biking places gives me a bonus workout – and keeps my legs strong and cute.
  5. Biking saves me gas money. At the Statesman I once went six weeks without filling the tank of my car because I chose the bike as my main mode of transport as often as possible.
  6. Biking is way better than sitting in gridlock traffic.
  7. When you bike the same route day after day, you see a lot of the same people, and they’re friendlier out in the real world than they are inside a cocoon of metal and plastic. I love the community – the nod from fellow cyclists, the smile from the old man walking his dog, the wave from a construction worker I pass four times a week.
  8. I like the pace of biking. It feels more natural than zooming around in the insulated capsule of a motor vehicle.
  9. The parking’s usually easier on a bike than in a car.
  10. I gather story ideas. I’ve usually got a notepad tucked in my backpack or pocket, and I jot down stuff I see along the way – things that go by so fast you miss them when you’re driving a car.

I’m back to riding my bike all over Austin. Chris LeBlanc photo


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I’m Pam LeBlanc. Follow my blog to keep up with the best in outdoor travel and adventure. Thanks for visiting my site.

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