What is Gravel?

The discipline ‘gravel’ describes riding a drop-bar bike on trails and unpaved roads, and is fitting somewhere between road cycling and mountain biking. It basically describes any terrain between the steep, rocky inclines of mountain biking, and the smooth asphalt of road biking. It will lead the rider through gorgeous scenery, pleasantly challenging conditions and less cars. Still it remains mostly undefined, as one person might imagine quiet, slightly crunchy roads. Another may see challenging, steep, cratered-out, boulder-pocked trails. At Ontario Cycling, the clue isn’t really in the name – gravel riding can encompass all types of terrain, from actual gravel to wooded singletrack and everything in between. Versatility is key when it comes to gravel bikes, and that extends to gravel riding as a whole. From super-chilled social rides to remote and demanding endurance racing, mass-participation events to dirt touring, there’s something in gravel for everyone.

How do you get involved?

With their feet on the pedals and their head in the clouds, cyclists in all parts of Ontario enjoy the freedom of feeling the fresh air on their skin. If this is the feeling you are seeking, you have come to the right place. Our members are drawn from all areas and backgrounds, with riders from under five years of age up to sixty plus. By becoming a member at Ontario Cycling (OC), you are joining the cycling community, and it will get you access to several activities and member benefits. Get your membership and license here. If you are new to the sport of Gravel racing, please select the entry-level/novice category unless you have a previous race license with another cycling entity (proof required before the license will be issued).

Regional Sanctioned Events

Regional level events have the same categories as Ontario Cup (OCup) events. Events previously classified as citizen-level events now fall within the regional level of sanctioned events. Please confirm with the organizer as some categories may change due to the number of riders participating. Since Gravel World Championships are in October 2022, classes are based on the rider’s age as of December 31, 2022.

Ontario Cup

Ontario Cups are raced at the highest provincial level against riders of their age or ability group. The people and families involved are usually interested in bikes, competitive sports, and their children’s physical and mental health. Ontario Cups also pride themselves on offering equal opportunities to both sexes and top-class competitive sports to all members. It is common for the whole family to be involved. The family nature gives the race day far more depth and dimension than just a simple race – it is an Event with an outstanding atmosphere.

In Gravel, there is no implemented Ontario Cup Series yet. Throughout the races, points are awarded to all categories, except youth ability categories. The best rider will be honoured as a series champion at the end of the season.

Homegrown: Based in the Gravel Cycling Mecca that is Canada’s National Capital Region, Brendan Gorman created the Gravel Cup to share his passion for gravel riding, and to provide a platform for gravel cycling enthusiasts to explore new routes, and challenge themselves on a variety of gravel genres.

Only riders who purchased their racing membership through Ontario Cycling are eligible for OCup points. Riders who upgrade during the season will not carry their accumulated points into their upgraded category. OCup points earned will remain in the class they were awarded within.

The Gravel season aligns with the road season, with the Gravel World Series held from April to September. With the Championships occurring at the end of September/beginning of October in Italy, categories at sanctioned events within the 2022 season are based on the rider’s age as of December 31, 2024.