'GRAVEL BIRDS ULTRACYCLING' was designed to be much more than just an off-road bikepacking experience. It is a journey through a vast and remote territory, which remains genuine and resistant to the passage of time.
In 2023, in addition to the original route, we have introduced a shorter and more accessible route. Gravel Birds is an exclusive event, but also an inclusive one.
In addition to the set route(s) that guides you on this journey, this Manifesto summarizes our values and the principles you must follow.
1 | RESPECT THE LOCAL TRAFFIC RULES AND LOCAL COMMUNITIES: We are a community who wants to build a positive legacy. The way you behave will shape how society and institutions will look to ultracycling and long-distance cyclists.
2 | RIDE THE ROUTE, RIDE SAFE & ENJOY: The route was designed to tell a story across the landscape and you are the main actor. Trust the script and let yourself go. You can leave the route temporarily (for accommodation, water & food, WC, tourism, etc), but then return in the same exact point. The GPS live tracking shows your geographical position on the route and your tracker should always be on.
3 | NO THIRD-PARTY SUPPORT: This is about your personal experience and challenging your own limits. So make no sense to receive help from your family or friends with food, accommodation or mechanical support (riders in the duo category can help each other). Sum up, you should use the commercial services available for all riders. If you have a mechanical problem you should solve it by your own. If you can’t solve it, you can use the commercial mechanical services available. The main aim of the 'self-supported' approach is to recreate the purity of the bikepacking experience and ensure a level playing field for all participants.
4 | NO DRAFTING: You can not follow other participants, cyclists or vehicles for aerodynamical advantages.
5 | USE YOUR OWN ENERGY: Just you and your bicycle - the greatest transport invention of all time (no e-bikes and no doping).
6 | RESPECT NATURE: Leave no trace. The territory of Alentejo is a deeply humanized landscape, but one that has evolved over time in a delicate dynamic balance with nature. Despite the human presence, the cork oak forests, the pastures, the enclosed valleys and the shoreline are ecosystems with an incredible biodiversity, but which depend a lot on us. Observe and absorb the landscape, but never leave litter or cause any disturbance around you.