Gravel riding is a hugely popular trend in cycling and one you would expect African riders to dominate.
There is no question that Africa has the largest network of used gravel roads. And with African long-distance runners dominating organised athletics, it seems strange that most global gravel races don’t feature a stronger African line-up or riders.
The truth is partly socio-economic. In Africa, riding gravel remains an outcome of utility for most riders. Not a leisure or fitness activity.
A breakthrough initiative could see better African representation at some of the world’s most recognised gravel races.
During Kenya's great migration gravel race, international talent scouts identified four local riders of promise: John Kariuki, Geoffrey Langat, Sule Kangangi, and Nancy Akinyi. They represent Team Amani.
The race provided an ideal opportunity for African riders to show their gravel riding ability. It routed a rugged 650km over four days, with a testing 8000m of climbing. Not that East African athletes ever struggle with the idea of dealing with gradient or altitude.
With the assistance of Wahoo fitness, these Kenyans will ride some of the most famous gravel cycling events.
The Amani riders will be part of the SBT GRVL in Colorado, Belgian Waffle Ride Asheville, and Vermont’s Overland event. America remains an epicentre of gravel riding and the Amani riders are keen to give a good account of themselves.