For road cyclist Sebastian Bentzin, freedom means exploring the great outdoors. Surrounding himself with nature, battling the elements and testing out new terrain is his modus operandi. But it was being introduced to gravel biking that gave the Hamburg-based athlete the opportunity to switch up his routine during the colder, darker months of the year and explore new challenges. Enabling him in his quest to mix exploration, training and fun was a recent experience in a classic Cayenne. This first-generation Porsche SUV, equipped with bike rack, helped Sebastian diversify his off-season training when he got the chance to drive it on the Mullerthal trails in Luxembourg. He shows why the car makes such a great companion – on or off-road – when pursuing outdoor adventures.
From four wheels to two
By adopting this four-wheeled ally to help transport his faithful two-wheeler, Sebastian found that reaching this off-road biking destination was just as fun as the cycling adventure itself. He explains that finding a vehicle that fits perfectly with his ideal lifestyle can play a sizeable role in enabling it. “I just want to see more and ride new terrain,” he says. “The right car is a factor in making that a reality.” All it takes for him to go off-road in a classic 2002 Cayenne is to simply secure his bike on the roof, load the rest of his kit into the boot, and then he’s good to go and seek out his adventure.
Gravel vs mountain bikes – what’s the difference?
To the untrained eye, gravel and mountain bikes may appear almost indistinguishable at first glance. So, what sets the two apart?
Built similarly to road bikes, they are generally shorter than mountain bikes, but capable of fitting much wider tyres in order to be versatile across the terrain. Overall, their frame set-ups have a more relaxed geometry which help improve comfort and stability.
Capable of tackling most kinds of terrain, differing suspension set-ups are one of the marked differences when comparing them to a gravel bike. Built to ride down small, technical trails that would be unmanageable on a gravel or road bike, mountain bike tyres are heavier and slower rolling, which gives you an advantage of being able to handle rougher roads.
Having a car that has strong off-road capabilities, like the first-generation Cayenne, can greatly improve your experiences – so you shouldn’t worry about getting it dirty!
Taking the route to physical and mental wellbeing
Accessibility is just one of the reasons why so many people have become attracted to cycling around the world in recent years. Road biking is a great activity when days are longer, lighter and warmer. But come wintertime, gravel biking in wooded areas provides additional safety – dark roads, bicycles and passing traffic aren’t an ideal combination – for those looking for an opportunity to stay in the saddle when seasonal conditions become more inclement.
It’s not just the physical advantages of being able to keep training throughout the more challenging times of the year that excites Sebastian. He says that it has huge mental benefits too, especially during long, cold and dark wintry days. Riding new forest trails and discovering each route’s characteristics is liberating and exhilarating, he explains. What’s more, these shorter and higher intensity rides offer more action than the long-distance endurance races to which he’s accustomed – and are guaranteed to keep him warm in the process. All these elements combine for a positive effect on his mental health. “To see and experience as much as possible on the bike is the cornerstone of my happiness,” says Sebastian.
Don’t be afraid to get your hands (and the rest) dirty
Location is everything when it comes to gravel riding. Once you have a capable vehicle like the first-generation Cayenne to get you to remote trails, the real fun can begin. Pushing it into the kind of varied driving situations for which it was designed is what off-road thrills in the Porsche SUV are made of. Oh, and a quick heads-up – don’t expect to make a clean getaway at the end of a day. “Having a car that has strong off-road capabilities, like the first-generation Cayenne, can greatly improve your experiences – so you shouldn’t ever worry about getting it dirty!” says Sebastian.
After two decades of excelling both on and off the road, the Cayenne has earned its classic status. The vehicle was the fastest series-production SUV at the time of its release in 2002 as a result of its all-wheel drive innovation, which features a dynamic centre differential lock and optional air suspension. It resulted in exceptional off-road capabilities then – and still does today.
For Sebastian, the combination of the car, bespoke fitted roof rack and room for all his gear amounted to a perfect day of winter training. His Porsche Cayenne road trip into Luxembourg has left him itching for another chance to drive it, and return to explore Mullerthal in more detail – with some mates and their bikes too. “With this set up, the first-generation Cayenne can easily fit a few friends and their bikes,” he says. “It makes it so much fun.”
The vehicles shown are show cars. They are for illustrative purposes only and have been modified from their series production condition and equipped with accessories, some of which do not originate from Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG and which cannot be purchased from Porsche or from the Porsche sales organization. Dr. Ing. h.c. F. Porsche AG has not tested these modifications and accessories and has not approved them for use.