The Clover, South Carolina Gravel Ride

Winding the clock back one week to the day, I found myself in Charlotte, North Carolina, attending the second annual Cyclofest Fall event, presented by Interbike. I missed the final Interbike trade show earlier this year in Las Vegas, and thought it important to attend this relatively “local” show. By local I mean it was less than 500 miles of driving, or about seven hours planted on my arse in the car. My good mates from BikeRumor.com would also be there – an entity I freelance for – so, another good reason to attend.

I’ll spare readers all of the ins-and-outs of the show, but watch this space for a bunch of techie goodness to appear soon. In fact, the first piece has already appeared, 3T’s Strada 1x road bike (totally relevant to gravel), so be sure to check out that article. Cyclofest is a relatively small show, and I figured I could cover everything I needed to see and photograph by 4pm, leaving me just enough time for a gravel ride before the fall of darkness.

I poked around on my usual internet haunts for internet mapping – see my tips HERE and HERE for that – and planned a 43 mile / 69 kilometre mixed surface ride that began and ended in Clover, South Carolina. Because the days in the Northern Hemisphere are getting short and shorter, my figured my ride would finish on the edge of darkness, so lights would be required.

Gravel Sector #1.

This area features plenty of rolling hills, with a few punchy ones thrown in for good measure. Much as I’m not a fan of Strava, I did upload my ride so others can check out where I rode. See the bottom of this article.

Because of the limited time I had to ride around Clover, I plan to return again soon. I only scratched the surface of this area – nearby is Kings Mountain State Park, and there are plenty of sweet spots in and around there begging to be ridden!

Many of these gravel roads were so smooth, I wouldn’t hesitate for a moment to use a road bike shod with 28mm tyres… particularly if that was the only bike I owned.

One of my final rides on the Orbea Terra review bike.

Sadly, my time on Orbea’s Terra gravel bike will be coming to an end soon. The video review is almost finished, after which, the bike will likely return to Orbea USA HQ.

Rolling through downtown Clover, South Carolina.

When time permits (remember, I have a real job and that sort of thing), I’d like to assemble a short ride video. Most of these video captures don’t really do the area around Clover, South Carolina, justice. Additionally, I spotted the grand sum of TWO cars on the gravel sectors during the ride. Another reason to love riding bicycles on dirt and gravel roads.

Thanks for reading!

Strava Data

Check out my workout from the ride, sans heart rate data (left the strap at home), HERE.

11 comments on “The Clover, South Carolina Gravel Ride

  1. JOM – I am in this area all the time for work. I will load my bike in the car and try this route. Where did you park?

    Thanks
    Scott

  2. Looks like your anticipated review on the Orbea Terra and Bikerumor’s will be the same review since you freelance for them. Hope is better than the Bikeradar/bikeplus review. Looking forward for it. Great job on this site, learn a lot.

    1. FYI, my Orbea review will reside on Gravel Cyclist only. Usually, it depends on how the review material is sourced. I’m hoping the video review won’t go too far over 10 minutes…

  3. Yeah JOM for some reason Americans don’t like driving their new shiny cars 65 mph on gravel roads. When I did the 75 miler in Kansas I think I might have seen 3-4 vehicles and they were farm vehicles close to their farms and possibly a sag vehicle. ha

  4. Sorry to hijack this Jom as it’s another great report, but I’d like to ask a general question
    Jom and others who ride gravel in the USA, I read these reports and wonder why over here in Oz that if a vehicle appears on my rides they don’t often slow down but instead, shower me with dust and stones. I reckon the generational Farmers are the courteous ones who slow down and wave, it’s the blow-in hobby farmers in their 4WD’s that don’t give a damn….do you guys and girls find this too?

    1. Steve, 95% of drivers on gravel roads here are pretty awesome. Once in a while, you’ll encounter a discourteous prong who isn’t a local, which is pretty obvious from the speed they’re driving at.

      Last time I rode in Radelaide, myself and two mates had an encounter with an angry local? on a gravel ride south of town. No clue what his problem was. I suspect most of these folks channel their anger by driving like an arse around cyclists 🙁

  5. Steve – I live in South Carolina not to far from where JOM did this ride, I have found that on gravel roads most people here slow down because they are so surprised to see a bike and not a pickup truck on the dirt/Gravel Road. They want a look at the crazy person on a bike.

  6. JOM, thanks for posting this loop! Rode this as my 2-day post-Thanksgiving recovery-from-gluttony ride. Truly enjoyable mix surface ride.

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