Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, climbs above the river. (Photo credit: http://www.sterlinglorence.com/)

Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, climbs above the river. (Photo credit: http://www.sterlinglorence.com/)

Gravel is the new gold: Cyclist bumps new biking trend

There’s gravel in them thar hills around Clinton

There’s gravel in them thar hills around Clinton – and a local cyclist wants to share it with the world.

Kelly Servinski, of the Tutti Hotel in Clinton, wants to promote the South Cariboo village as a “gravel cycling” destination. A former Squamish resident, he and Erin Yao relocated to Clinton in 2019 after he was blown away by the swath of well-maintained gravel roads coursing through spectacular scenery – the right ingredients for what he called a resurgence in gravel bike riding.

“Clinton is a mecca for gravel riding,” Servinski, 48, said. “It’s not a new form of cycling. This type of riding was done ages ago. Just like everything in life it has come full circle.”

Servinski said he sees the Cariboo as a destination for gravel biking, similar to what the Chilcotin was to mountain biking six or seven years ago. The sport is just as it sounds, with bikers hitting the gravel or Forest Service roads around the region for a short- or long-distance spin. Riders use a bike similar to a road bike with drop bars and a lot of gears but with bigger tires. While they could ride a mountain bike, Servinski said those are best kept for the mountain bike meccas of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake, as gravel riders don’t really need suspension.

READ MORE: Cariboo Waggon Road mapped out

The icing on the cake? Unlike mountain biking, which requires trails to be built and developed over time, “the gravel is already there.

“It’s a no-brainer,” he said.

Servinski, a former bike salesperson for 11 years, said his favourite trip is a 240-kilometre loop to Lillooet, via the Big Bar Ferry, although he could just as easily ride to 70 Mile House or out to Pavilion.

“You get a trip across the ferry, how beautiful is that?” he said. “Catch me on another day and I’m up on Big Bar Road or at the Chasm.”

While he doesn’t yet offer tours, he provides accommodation and is booked for the season, with some guests returning for the fourth time. He himself rode his gravel bike all winter. The tagline for his company is “Gravel is the new gold.”

“We knew they would love it. The level of road maintenance is just unbelievable,” he said. “Some (riders) think they’re going to come up to a small little village in the middle of nowhere and all the roads are going to be bombed out and they’re not.

“When people get to see what this area is in a cycling sense … it’s quiet and beautiful. We love the area, we truly do.”

The sport, which is huge in Europe, tends to attract people in their mid-30s to 60s. Although the majority are men, he said a lot of women are finding it’s a great opportunity to go out with their girlfriends and “are the strong fearsome go-getters.”

His aim, he said, is to market the sport and attract people to Clinton. He’d like to work with the local First Nations to tell their stories along the way. He said he’s been amazed at the support of the town, noting local ranchers have lent a hand to bike riders, who were struggling to make it back home.

Cyclists, he said, pick up after themselves and just enjoy the solitude of being on the bike.

“We want the same thing as the rancher or the hillbilly guy. They want to be left alone, so do we.

“We who knows where it all goes. We just want to be a member of the community and this area,” he said. “I see myself riding there until I have a heart attack on my bike.”



kelly.sinoski@100milefreepress.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

100 Mile House

Just Posted

An RCMP cruiser. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Police kept busy following overnight vehicle thefts, B&Es near 100 Mile House

One man is facing charges and three others suspects in relation to the thefts

An RCMP cruiser. (Patrick Davies photo - 100 Mile Free Press)
Driver expected to recover after rolling vehicle in ditch near Gateway

55-year-old woman taken to hospital after 10:24 a.m. incident

Murray Casey, centre, was among the participants at the re-opening of the Clinton Museum last week. (Jennifer Bolster photo - submitted)
Clinton Museum open for business this summer

The occasion was marked by a little celebration at the museum at the beginning of June

(File Photo)
Police watchdog clears 100 Mile RCMP of wrongdoing after man dies in Williams Lake shelter

The man had been in custody at 100 Mile RCMP detachment prior to being taken to Williams Lake

FILE – Perry Bellegarde, National Chief of the Assembly of First Nations, takes part in an event on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Indigenous Peoples Day must be a ‘call to action’, says Assembly of First Nations chief

Discovery of children at Kamloops residential school site must lead to change, Perry Bellegarde says

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

By protesting uninvited in First Nations’ territories, conservationists are acting in a neocolonial or paternalistic manner, says Huu-ay-aht Chief Robert Dennis. Photo by Heather Thomson
A closer look: do Vancouver Island First Nations support the war in the woods?

First Nations/environmentalist old growth alliance uneasy, if it exists at all

A blood drive in support of 1-year-old Rielynn Gormley of Agassiz is scheduled for Monday, June 28 at Tzeachten First Nation Community Hall in Chilliwack. Rielynn lives with type 3 von Willebrand disease, which makes it difficult for her to stop bleeding. (Screenshot/Canadian Blood Services)
Upcoming blood drive in honour of Fraser Valley toddler with rare blood condition

The Gormley family has organized a blood drive in Chilliwack on June 28

Most Read