My own introduction to gravel started in Southern California with an old Trek 1200 road bike on 25c tires. The bike was primarily used for commuting on the occasional weekday, a 30 mile round trip from Carlsbad to La Jolla. My true riding interests took me off-road, exploring local open spaces and linking together trail systems on a hardtail mountain bike. As my knowledge of rideable dirt grew, so did my curiosity on what was possible with the road bike on evening commutes. With good reasons to escape traffic-heavy roads and an ideal climate year-round, these interests only grew. What failed to grow in parallel was the suppleness of my Trek, ultimately limiting the potential for adventures I knew were there. My first gravel bike in 2015 would change all that.