Gravel cycling to make regional debut

Coming out of an old railway tunnel, which will be used tomorrow in the White Rocks Gravel...
Coming out of an old railway tunnel, which will be used tomorrow in the White Rocks Gravel Adventure, are Thorsten Fiddeck (left) and Alex Milne. PHOTO: SUPPLIED.
A new form of cycling will take the road less travelled around North Otago this weekend.

Gravel cycling is an emerging form of cycling which encourages cyclists to get off paved roads and rough mountain bike tracks and ride on gravel roads.

Events in New Zealand have taken place in Blenheim as well as Coromandel and it is now North Otago's turn.

About 80 cyclists have entered the White Rocks Gravel Adventure, which will be hosted by new regional club Cycling Waitaki tomorrow.

Among those entered are a couple of former Otago road champions. Entries are coming from as far south as Invercargill and north to Christchurch along with plenty of riders from Central Otago looking to attend.

Gravel cycling events pretty much started with the Dirty Kanza event in Kansas in the United States.

That event initially attracted just a handful of riders but now grown to draw thousands of riders.

Organiser Terrence Hannan said gravel cycling was growing and the 50km event tomorrow would be a good starting point.

It would offer some great views around the Waitaki and Kakanui basins, he said.

The event is non-competitive but there are bound to be some quick times.

The riders will pass through the Rakis Table railway tunnel, which has not had a train run through it since the Tokarahi branch line closed 89 years ago.

The riders will also ride through Elderslie Estate.

Hannan said the course was steeped in history and would be fine to ride.

The race starts and finishes at the Fort Enfield Tavern, about 7km inland from Oamaru.

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