Yes, dear readers, it’s true. You don’t need a gravel bike.
“But how can I explore all those cool, unpaved roads and trails I’ve been reading about?” It’s easy. Ride your bike on those cool unpaved roads and trails. While you may know the difference between a paved and unpaved road, your bicycle can’t tell the difference.
“My bike has skinny, slick tires, though.” Get bigger tires. You don’t need the fattest, knobbiest tires to enjoy riding on dirt or gravel roads. Over the past few years, I’ve actually transitioned towards narrower tires for the bulk of my unpaved riding.
“I’m afraid that my bike will break.” Bikes can break. They can break when ridden on city streets, and they can break when ridden on dirt roads. Personally, I’m more freaked out by pothole-riddled city streets than unpaved back roads.
Don’t let not having the “perfect” bike prevent you from exploring new terrain. People have been enjoying all kinds of terrain on the “wrong” bikes for over one hundred years. Like the sticker says, free your mind and your bike will follow.