Editor’s note: This story previously stated that Richard Branson rode his bike to Spaceport America on Sunday morning (July 11), the day of his spaceflight. That’s not correct. Video showing him arriving at the spaceport on a bicycle was captured on a different date, and the commentator on Virgin Galactic’s launch webcast who said it was recorded on Sunday was mistaken. “The footage of Sir Richard Branson shown during the event today [July 11] was prerecorded and misidentified in the broadcast. We regret the error and any confusion it may have caused,” Virgin Galactic representatives said in a statement emailed
Gravel bikes have exploded in popularity recently for a whole bunch of good reasons. The voluminous multi-surface tires offer acceptable grip on loose ground while still rolling decently quickly on tarmac; they’re not too heavy; their drop bars are more comfortable over longer distances than single-position flat bars; their wide-range gearing offers plenty of climbing prowess; and they offer a lot of the experience people have traditionally sought in conventional road bikes, but now with the luxury of avoiding motorized traffic by heading off-pavement.
But the idea is hardly new.
Bruce Gordon made a name for himself in the 1970s