Gravel Metric ride comes to NIU

By Kelly Marshall

North Central Cyclery, 534 E. Lincoln Highway is taking to the gravel this May.

The fourth annual Gravel Metric ride will take place on May 26. According to the North Central Cyclery’s website, the Gravel Metric ride is a 62-mile ride that is designed to be a challenge.

There are two more gravel metric training dates leading up to the actual event. The first training date of 25 miles has already passed. The next training ride will be 40 miles long and take place on April 30, and the last training date will be on May 11; it will go for 55 miles. All rides will depart from the parking lot behind North Central Cyclery.

The training is to help people who are interested in doing the gravel metric, said Chad Ament, service manager and course designer.

“We set up these training dates to teach people who want to ride, and that wants to know about the gravel metric,” Ament said. “We have been doing this for four years now and people from all over come out–even professionals–to just enjoy the ride.”

The Gravel Metric ride is a self-supported free event and people of all ages capable of riding 62 miles may participate. There is no winner in this competition, but participants get free fun and bragging rights. The new course will have less pavement, more gravel and more “B-roads,” which are rough, unmaintained roads.

“I’m the creator of the Gravel Metric, so my experiences are unique compared to other people who have ridden it,” said Tobie DePauw, North Central Cyclery’s owner. “We’ve had some really interesting weather every year, so every year is different.”

The course is south of DeKalb and the roads will have sign posts. Cue sheets will be distributed that will list distance cues for the riders. Cue sheets are directions that will help riders know where exactly to go throughout the course.

North Central Cyclery won’t post the route until May 25. Water will not be available to the riders at the checkpoints; because of this, riders are encouraged to plan on having enough water to get from start to finish.

“The Gravel Metric ride is a really fun event for us cyclists,” said cyclist Paul Anderson. “I’ve done it in the past and it’s always been a great experience and a great turn out.”

The event gives local cyclists a chance to try something new.

“The purpose of the event is to get cyclists together for a fun day of riding new roads,” Ament said. “A side benefit is getting the name out about Axletree, which is a new local non-profit that works to make cycling in DeKalb County safer, easier and more fun.”

Axletree members will also be part of the Gravel Metric event.

There will be a post-event hangout at an undisclosed location a few blocks from North Central Cyclery.

For more information on the training dates and the Gravel Metric event, call the North Central Cyclery at 815-758-2403.