Gravel bike events have become increasingly popular over the last 5 years, in fact a whole new industry has evolved as a result of this new class of bikes and bike riding.  The bike industry has developed many new and varied gravel bikes, events have flourished, not only in this country, but worldwide and a thriving culture has literally taken hold as a result of this new discipline.  There are many reasons for this recent rise in popularity of Gravel biking.  For starters, you’re riding off the beaten path, away from busy, dangerous trafficked roads.  Additionally the terrain is varied, hard packed gravel(smoother than asphalt) to technical single track sections(or sectors, as we like to call them).  There has also been less emphasis on “race” and more emphasis on “ride”.

Over the past 20 years, I have participated in and/or organized many bike rides, events and trips; but never have I been more pleased, satisfied and proud than with last years first annual Acadian Village Gravel Ride out of my home town, Van Buren, Maine.


Last year’s ride exceeded all of my expectations.  The officers, directors and volunteers of the Acadian village/heritage vivant set out to host quite an event.  The venue was perfect and the authentic Acadian breakfast was amazing; beans, cretons(pork spread) ployes, maple syrup and all of the pre-ride food was not only delicious, but each place setting was meticulously set up, complete with the volunteer servers donning their Acadian aprons. The Acadian village gravel ride was so impressive that all of the riders and participants couldn’t  get over how nice and genuinely friendly and helpful all of the volunteers were.

Similarly all of the volunteers were equally impressed with the quality of the cyclists and how nice, polite and appreciative they were of the staff and the quality of the entire event.

I personally was very proud of the volunteers, my people from Van Buren, whose ages ranged from 68 to 85, folks who I fondly and vividly remember as a youth growing up in Van Buren.  Successful people in every way, who I looked up to and aspired to accomplish, perhaps a small percentage of what they all did and are still doing.  I truly believe that all of these volunteers could have given a masterclass to local businesses on customer service.  Their enthusiasm, energy, warm smile and genuine interest in our event and their desire to exceed all of the participants expectations was certainly achieved.





As we departed on the inaugural Acadian Village gravel ride of the beautiful St. John valley and gravel roads that I frequented in my youth, a perpetual smile emerged on my face.  I realized that I was experiencing and enjoying  perhaps the best cycling event I had ever been part of.  As I so often do when cycling, my mind began to wander and I contemplated about my hometown, its people, my family and our French heritage and all of the hardships endured.  “I used to think that we lived in the middle of nowhere, until I realized we are actually in the center of the universe”,  all because of its people.  The Acadian Village gravel ride is a fantastic event that brings family and friends and  the community altogether for and epic ride celebrating our roots of French/Acadian heritage.  The second annual ride will be even better , if that’s possible.. Saturday July 15, 2023!!!