Skip to main content

Getting Gravel

With Brice Shirbach

I’ll admit that I simply did not understand what all of the noise was about. At first.

I’ve been a professional mountain biker for a long time now, and I do remember when gravel began to kick off. As someone who hadn’t owned a bike with drop bars in a dozen years or so, the concept was a bit of a head scratcher. If you wanted to ride dirt, why not just ride a mountain bike? What would a “road bike with knobbier tires” do to enhance one’s experience on two wheels? Hindsight, as we know by now, is always 20/20 and in hindsight, I see just how wrong I was. 

For too long

I would glance at my Vault hanging on my garage wall and continuously opt for a mountain bike. It was certainly a good looking bike, but I just couldn’t bring myself to commit to even a sample ride. Until one slightly soggy and gray winter day, I did.

I’ve often joked about being the only professional mountain biker in the state of Delaware,

with the point being that it isn’t exactly a hotbed for our sport. Still, I have long held an appreciation for the surprisingly rowdy and fun trails right outside of my door, but the truth is that it can be easy to become bored of the routine trail ride when it’s been on repeat for several years. Throwing a leg over the Vault caused a profound shift in the way with which I see my home. The ability to swiftly and efficiently go from pavement, to gravel, and trail is unique to this type of bicycle, and it’s the ability to do exactly this that creates unparalleled opportunities for exploration.  

The Vault has allowed me to see corners of my community that I truly had no idea existed.

There are some pretty stellar greenway systems throughout the region, and from those is access to countless gravel paths and singletrack trails and with the Vault I am able to seamlessly explore any and all of it. I have a newfound appreciation for the place I call home, and it’s due entirely to this beautiful machine with its drop bars and skinny tires. Mountain biking will always be number one in my book, but the Vault has certainly earned a regular spot in the riding rotation.


To keep up with Brice you can follow him on Instagram here. 

Check out the Getting Gravel video below!