Get ready for Gravel

Clarkes Gambit is coming to Eurobodalla this spring!

a bushranger series cycling event

Who is Graveleur and what is Clarkes Gambit?

cyclists with their bikes

Graveleur Back Road Explorers is a cycling community drawn together by a love of exploring the back roads of Australia. For Graveleurs, it is all about the journey, not the destination and exploring the gravel and unsealed roads on bicycles is definitely their game. Ultimately it is about discovering new places and creating new adventures on a bicycle.

Mike Israel, Event Director for Graveleur, is passionate about the philosophy of the group.

“The Graveleur community embraces this spirit of adventure, and we welcome anyone to join. We really want to focus on the real world experience rather than the online world although we use the latter to inspire and equip ourselves for the adventure.”

group of cyclists on a gravel road

“We’ve built a hub where you can find out where these classic gravel rides are and get a feel for what we are all about. You can find gravel trails to ride, join in and along with likeminded people, chat  about cycling and inspire each other to go further” Mike explains.

“And true to this spirit of exploration, we are super excited to announce a new event which is coming to Eurobodalla in October 2022,” he says.

Called CLARKES GAMBIT, the brand-new overnight gravel adventure builds on Graveleur’s popular Bushranger series of events.

Named for the bushrangers that frequented the area, the Clarke gang led by brothers Thomas and John Clarke, were the nation’s deadliest bushrangers that rustled livestock, ambushed gold shipments and robbed traders from Braidwood to Bega in southern New South Wales in the mid 1860’s.

About the event

cyclist on a misty road

Nestled in between the Budawang National Park and the banks of the Clyde River this event is designed for all levels of cyclists but will especially cater to families and those wanting to advance their skills, fitness and knowledge in bike-packing and the gravel cycling scene.

The event will feature a two day overnight social ride and an elite 2-day Gravel Stage Race.  Each stage of the overnighter will comprise a loop starting and finishing in Nelligen of approximately 75km. An extended course is being planned for the Elite race.

The roads are all good quality gravel roads with very limited bitumen and they will be assessed just prior to the event to ensure they are safe to ride on, however this is not a ride for the ill-equipped.

“Please don’t bring your roadie, even if you have 28mm tyres on it,” Mike cautions.

“We are aiming to stick almost entirely to State Forest roads that in the dry are mostly very smooth and a joy to ride.  But a turn in the weather can bring on a dramatic change in conditions for the worse,” he warns.

Each loop (Saturday and Sunday) will be around 75km and around 1,500 vertical metres. It’s not for the faint hearted and will require strength and endurance to complete the trail. However, its going to be slightly easier than some of the other Graveleur adventures, like the Thunderbolts Adventure in the Barrington Tops.


“The good news is that riders won’t need to load up with camping gear and luggage for the overnight stay,” Mike says.

“We’ll be starting from the camping area each day where you can park your car and set up your swag.”

BIG4 Nelligen Holiday Park is offering a 10% discount for Graveleurs coming for the event and staying 2 nights.

While not technically a race, Graveleur will invite a select group of accomplished cyclists to compete in a race at the same time as the social ride.

“This event is primarily designed as a social event and most of our riders come to enjoy the ride, as much as a good meal and a beer or two at the end of the day. That is how we roll at Graveleur,” Mike laughs.

two men cycling

“That said, it can be inspiring and a great opportunity to ride and even chat to a cycling hero and for that reason we like to include a race to attract our nation’s best off-road cyclists to the event. Cycling has always been a great sport for getting access to our heroes and Clarkes Gambit will be no exception.

“As another attraction to our event we are planning to have some cycling legends share dinner with  us on Saturday night,” he says.

It is certainly shaping up to be a fantastic and popular event for adventure cyclists and gravel riders in general.

“We are expecting a lot of interest in Clarkes Gambit and we will be capping entries at 400 riders. So my advice is register early and book your campsite or accommodation sooner rather than later,” Mike suggests.

Entries open Friday 8th July 2022, 6pm

For more information visit the Graveleur website.

All images supplied by Graveleur.  Photographer Credit: @ReadyAimMedia