The owners of the Tutti Gravel Inn took to the “world’s largest gravel event” last weekend in an attempt to put Clinton on the gravel cycling map.
Kelly Servinski and his wife Erin Yeo rode 3,300 miles west of Kansas City, where Servinski competed in a 200-mile race and Yeo presented Cariboo and Clinton highlights at the show under their slogan “Gravel is the new gold”. The Unbound event was to have 28 countries represented.
“We say (Clinton) is one of the places to go in the world,” Servinski said. “Gravel is very popular. That hadn’t been the case for 20 or 30 years. It’s fairly new and lots of excitement but people need somewhere to go. This is the place to go.”
The couple, who started their gravel cycling business in Clinton three years ago, maintain that the area’s gravel roads are a mecca for the sport due to its varied terrain, mountains and friendly locals. Its wide open spaces and lack of infrastructure are also huge draws for people, Servinski said, especially for those coming from major European urban centers.
He said they were already seeing more international customers booking with them, including those from the UK and Italy. The sport is as it sounds, with bikers roaming the area’s gravel or forest service roads for short or long distance. Riders use a bike similar to a road bike with drop bars and lots of gears but with bigger tires.
“With this sport you don’t need big infrastructure, you don’t need a national park or a resort community. The less you have, the better,” Servinski said. “Gravel biking is really what makes this area around Clinton special. This is where we hung our hat. We really feel that we are on to something.
“The roads weren’t always paved, so people have been driving on gravel roads for many years. It’s about escaping to the countryside, seeing a horse, seeing a ranch, seeing a beautiful view, and getting away from it all.
Yeo noted that Tutti means “everyone” in Italian and they are open to everyone from beginners to elite gravel riders. The couple rent bikes and also provide fully programmed two-way radios and safety kits to all guests to ensure they are safe on nearby resource and logging roads.
“People aren’t interested in road biking anymore,” Yeo said, adding that gravel biking “allows you to get out on those roads and get away.”
The trip followed a Cariboo Gravel Rush charity race in Clinton on May 21, during which they raised $2,095 for the BCSPCA in Williams Lake and more than 150 pounds of food for the Clinton Food Bank.
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100 mile house