Our GravelUp guides, the vital ingredient of a successful adventure.
We created GravelUp around 4 essentials: our guides for sharing the experience, the routes for adventure, locals for authenticity and of course gravel bikes to enable our adventure. Getting just the right mix of these fundamental ingredients makes for our unforgettable experiences. Here we focus on the first of these: our guides.
It’s thanks to them that our trips are as they are! So how do we find them, what do they add to GravelUp trips and how do they shape each adventure? Read on to find out!
GravelUp: «Hi there guides, who better than each of you to explain to our future Graveluppers (finishers of a GravelUp trip) what you add to the experience. Because we searched far and wide through the French Bike Instructors network (MCF) and even further afield to ensure we had the best people pedalling alongside our clients. So over (and Up!) to You… »
Tim: « I was approached by the GravelUp team and our philosophies were so similar it was a no-brainer! It’s a totally new experience that just makes you want to discover more - the area, the food, the locals, the support, it’s all there. I got my Professional Qualification (BPJEPS*) in “Activité de Cyclisme” in 2021 after doing Environmental Studies at college. I’m mostly a MTB instructor, but I also lead trips and events related to the natural environment.
I love sharing my knowledge and enabling the wide range of clients I’m lucky enough to meet to discover the Hautes-Vosges region for themselves. A love of sport, discovering a place and a fun and friendly atmosphere all come together around the magic machine, aka a gravel bike! The best compromise in cycling - a mix of road and MTB. Fancy checking out that summit? Or a nice smooth road descent? Off we go then! That’s what I love!»
Thomas: « After a couple calls with JB and Olivier, I knew for sure that I wanted to be part of the GravelUp adventure! The ethos and authenticity of the trips, as well as a shared love of gravel are right up my street. Routes made to measure, logistics that are second to none, and base camps in just the right spot… everything is there for a perfect adventure. As well as guiding the rides, we have a real role to play in making sure all our clients have an unforgettable trip as its not just about the bike… our local knowledge of where we are riding as well as our technical skills to help our clients take their gravel riding up a notch, we’re there to add to each person’s experience in every way possible.
My journey? After more than a few years in the outdoor goods industry, I decided to become self-employed and qualified as a bike instructor. So I did my qualification (BPJEPS) in 2022 at one of the National Sports Training Centres in Toulouse. I’m passionate about outdoor sports, particularly trail running and cycling, but what I love even more is sharing my experience and discovering new areas. I take great pride and pleasure in exploring new places on the doorstep with a French clientele and those from further afield, as well as giving them a real physical challenge and experience. Our role is to not just to guide each day, but more importantly to help our clients progress physically and technically to get the maximum enjoyment from their trip. »
Greg: « I’m a bike guide with a National Sports Diploma, specialising in Performance. Passionate about outdoor sports, gastronomy and travel, I love helping people to discover the many regions where I guide: L’Aveyron and the Grands Causses, the Tarn river and its many surrounding lakes, The Aude and its magnificent Massif de la Clape, a real green garden of the Med, Corsica and it’s wild trails crossing the scrubland, and of course where I’m from - the Herault and the Caroux Mountains, with its resident herds of sheep, the Haut-Languedoc Natural Park and the local specialities. And all by bike!
Being supported by a team like GravelUp to look after the ‘off the bike’ side of the trip makes for the ideal combo for all our clients, as we can really focus on everyone. A gravel bike is the best tool for exploring somewhere, even in a short time frame… from mythical road climbs to wild paths by the sea, tiny back roads to wide open trails on the Larzac Plateau… it’s a perfect tool for adventure! »
GravelUp: «Thanks Tim, Thomas and Greg, its true that finding qualified guides, who are masters of their bike and their region, was really important for us. But that in itself wasn’t enough, we wanted people who were passionate about sharing their skills, and shared our ethos too. Like you guys, Ali joined the GravelUp adventure right at the start, and she was our first guide! »
Ali: « Why do I like being a GravelUp guide? Because we get really well fed!! No I’m joking, though we do eat really well on every trip and for me that’s such an important part of exploring somewhere new… And on a bike trip you have an insatiable appetite! It’s because the team support us guides so well that we can really focus on each and every client. I like seeing the combination of fitness and technique come together on a gravel bike, everyone has their own strengths and weaknesses, but the group progresses together day after day to really live the adventure.
I became a bike guide to share my love of exploring, adventure and being active/doing sport with others. So I did the French professional qualification during the first Covid summer and I absolutely loved perfecting my understanding of bike handling skills and then putting them to good use on a gravel bike. Its awesome to be able to give people a tip or suggestion and see their progression and confidence grow. »
GravelUp: «Great thanks Ali, we know that you love to eat hahaha! And how about you Thierry, what does being a GravelUp guide mean to you? »
Thierry: « ÊBeing a guide at GravelUp is working for a trendy, young company with a great spirit and ethos, a perfect match for that of riding gravel! As well as that, for me it means sharing my enthusiasm of all things bikes… and also building a relationship with all the other cyclists. Feeling that we all come together with a common direction, yet are all in the moment together too… and of course exploring and respecting our environment which is super important! »
GravelUp: «Thanks everyone for all your thoughts!
So as you can see, our guides are passionate and qualified, ready to help you experience the authenticity of their area. They have experience, a sense of fun and and an approach to allow everyone to make incredible progress in just a few days. They deal with everything on the the bike with the support of the GravelUp team, alongside the Destination Manager who looks after everything off the bike including logistics, accommodation, food stops, yoga sessions and much more.. which all adds up to our ‘Beyond Biking’ motto. A big thanks to all our guides for all that they bring to each GravelUp trip, it’s thanks to them that all our trips are such a success!»
Coming soon - our dedicated guides webpage.
5 conseils pour entretenir facilement son gravel
Vous voulez entretenir votre gravel mais vous ne savez pas par où commencer ? Colin, notre expert mécanique chez GravelUp, partage ses 5 meilleurs conseils d'entretien pour que vous puissiez chouchouter votre monture directement depuis chez vous. Un gravel bien entretenu, c'est l'assurance d'une longue vie pour votre fidèle compagnon d'aventure !
How to choose the tyres for your gravel bike
Just as there’s all sorts of surfaces, there’s all sorts of cyclists. Some prefer smooth gravel and tarmac, others the rougher the better, rarely riding on the road. And this is where tyre choice comes into play to make your bike ideal for where you ride. We thought it was time to have a look at the different options so no one gets left behind!