#GravelFamily: Matt Gersib

All you need is a bike and a sense of adventure

What’s your favorite GW experience?

My favorite Gravel Worlds experience happens every year, when all of our friends from near and far congregate in Lincoln for the race. Even though the event keeps getting bigger, it has retained that feeling of a big family get together. Winning the fatbike category in 2014 was certainly a highlight, but my favorite part of Gravel Worlds is about more than racing.

What’s your funniest Gravel event story (ie never trust a fart)

Funniest story… Hmmm, that’s a tough one. All of my stories are more ironic than funny… Like the time (in 2011, I believe) when I was riding near the front in a big group and pulled the ultimate rookie move. I overlapped wheels with the rider in front of me, crashed and ended up taking down about 10 others. It really was only funny in an embarrassing sort of way, but there’s some great photos of the whole crash somewhere in the archives.

How long have you been riding? Has gravel changed your perspective on riding, and if so, how?

2020 is my 31st year riding and racing bikes… That blows my mind in itself! Gravel has definitely changed my perspective, and my perspective about gravel has evolved as well. Back in the 1990s, when I was aspiring to be a fast mountain bike racer, gravel was where we went out and trained… on our mountain bikes. In the early 2000s, I heard rumblings of underground gravel events and initially scoffed at the idea of gravel being a scene unto itself. I took a pass on the first TransIowa, and also the first Dirty Kanza, mainly because I was still in denial, but also because I still identified myself as a ‘mountain bike racer’. Looking back on those days, I see how shortsighted I really was. Here in Nebraska, gravel is where we find adventure. While we don’t have endless miles of singletrack to explore, we do have endless miles of gravel to explore… and we do.

Has gravel brought you closer to your community and if so, how?

Gravel definitely has helped me be more in touch with my community. I grew up in Malcolm, so many of the roads to the northeast of town feel like a walk back through time for me. But gravel has also introduced me to a number of places nearby that I’d never seen before. The town of Loma comes to mind… And the kind waves and encouragement we get from farmers and country folk as we pass helps me to believe that, even though we all have our differences, we’re all here for many of the same reasons. It gives me peace.

What does #GravelFamily mean to you?

#GravelFamily is what I was talking about in my answer to the first question. We come from different backgrounds and perspectives, but ultimately, we all love riding bikes, having fun and not taking things too seriously. We’re inclusive. As long as you respect rule #1 (don’t be lame), you’re welcome. You don’t have to have the best, or most appropriate bike… All you need is a bike and a sense of adventure.

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