Gravel road bike circuit in Frelighsburg and Dunham
A region to discover
The tiny municipality of Frelighsburg in the Eastern Townships is an area known for its many outstanding road cycling trails. Whether it’s for a 40- or 140-kilometre outing, people are drawn to this part of the region for a variety of reasons: the quality of the road surface for biking, the tranquil and winding routes, the spacious road shoulders, the lush landscape, and the numerous attractions along the way (vineyards, brasseries, restaurants, arts and crafts shops, etc.).
While it’s not as well known for “gravel biking”, Frelighsburg boasts a wide array of great cycling circuits that combine sections of paved, gravel and dirt roads. The RAVITO • Bed&Bike team shares one of them with you, at a time when some cyclists detect a decline in their motivation coinciding with the end of summer. Actually, biking in the fall is a way of injecting a new thrust into the cycling season: the changing environment, and even the notion of getting astride a different type of bike seems to regenerate one’s enthusiasm…a “je-ne-sais-quoi” feeling of the famed Classique Paris-Roubaix bike race!
Leaving from Frelighsburg, you first have to climb the daunting Dunham road “wall” to get to a route that has some magnificent views, and which runs over a stretch of seldom travelled ranges. Comprised of about 80% gravel roads, this 65-kilometre and 750-metre gradient course is more sporting than casual, because of the series of rises you confront. But this route does have several alternatives you can take to reduce the distance, if you need to do so.
Features of the route
65km, 750 metres of gradients, departing from Frelighsburg
- Km 2: The Pinacle Road climb extends over 5.5 kilometres with an average gradient of 4.5%, but the last kilometre and a half is tougher, with stages where the gradient is 15%.
- Km 20: you come out of the gorgeous McCullough Road forest only after you have handled a series of small climbs that extend over 5 kilometres and which end with traveling on a 17% gradient on a gravel surface (ouch)! Fortunately, just before you get there, the Vignoble du Ruisseau is a must-stop along the way. Take a break to discover how geothermal energy is being used in the grape-growing and wine-production process while at the same time reducing the vineyard’s ecological footprint.
- Km 40: The first segment of Favreau Road won’t provide you with any respite. After a slight descent as you head toward Dunham, there are only two more hilly areas before you get to the circuit’s first replenishing station.
- Km 50: You’ll avoid the traffic on Route 213 by going by College Road: a nice paved, regular climb at about a 5% gradient.
- Km 65: When you get to Frelighsburg, you’ll find everything you need to restore your energy and get warmed up. Come and see us at the Cyclo-Dépanneur and tell us about your bike trip!
NB: The condition of a gravel-road route changes over the course of the season, depending on the time it was graded, the type of heavy vehicles that travel on it, and the amount of rain that has fallen.
Getting ready for a bike outing on a gravel road?
While a “gravel bike” or a cyclocross would be more suitable to handle all of the conditions you’ll find while riding on gravel surfaces, a road bike can also serve the purpose. If that’s the case, a 27 or 28mm tire is recommended, since the risk of getting a flat will be diminished and you can set the pressure of the tires at around 80 psi to enhance your comfort for the outing. But make sure there is enough space on your road bike for this tire width.
Levels: intermediate and advanced
Gravel roads sometimes require a higher degree of concentration and can sometimes lead to some discomfort because of increased vibrations. In this sense, the distance and gradient are the biggest challenges along the route.
On the weekend of September 22, we invite you to enjoy a specially devised weekend which will allow you to discover the region’s finest ranges. Learn more