Liberate the French dirt roads! (route expansion)

This is to some degree a sub-topic of the generic future courses thread. However, it’s sufficiently specific that I thought it justified it’s own thread.

There’s all of the tantalizing dirt roads branching off from the roads in France. Surely these aren’t to mock us, but Zwift plans to liberate them for public access. Please do so! Meanwhile there’s multiple gravel bikes for sale in the Drop Shop, but they’re all basically useless. The only sustained dirt section is the Jungle Loop, which is faster on a mountain bike.

I took a low-resolution copy of the French map (from ZwiftInsider) and sketched in some of the dirt roads already drawn on the map. In some cases I took artistic license and connected stubs. Look at the possibilities!

Think Tro-Bro Léon in France, or of course Strade Bianche in Tuscony. Zwift needs this to make those gravel bikes fly off the drop-shop shelves.

Here’s my map, showing just a brief attempt to draw in some routes. Of course there could be more paved routes in France as well, for example “le Midi-GPM” to complement “le Petit GPM”, but that’s a separate matter. Here I show a dirt road which serves a similar role, bypassing a larger portion of the Ventoux climb, working off what I see already available on the map. I drew in the yellow, in many cases tracing over what was originally there. Some of the original dirt which I did not trace over is visible as a darker brown.

This is version 3 of my map, after Eric was nice enough to send me a high-resolution France map. Note the road out to St Michel, which exists and is paved IRL, and was used in a Tour de France time trial.

Note the dirt which parallels the climb towards Ventoux is adjacent to the railway. The railroad enters a tunnel: the terrain is relatively rugged there. So I’m assuming some way to get from there to the paved road.

I’ve also added a proposed paved climb from the coast because… why not?

thanks for sketching those out. i think you’re right, they are there for a reason. there has to be a future expansion in the works, hopefully out soon. i would love to see some mixed surface courses, combined with steering they could really come up with some fun stuff. imagine a dirt road, ruts on one side, pot holes in the middle, only smooth gravel is on the other side. line choice could make for some new strategy in races.


it does seem to be very quiet on the mountain bike/gravel front for some time now. Hopefully there will be some sort of big off road expansion soon. As you clearly point out, the trails are already there!

As a mountain biker myself, I would welcome these routes with open arms. Whilst I still enjoy ‘road’ riding in zwift, its the MTB stuff that get me going!


I support this. We need uses for the bikes they put in the drop shop.

Still hard to believe that was a year ago they released those bikes and still they haven’t added anything to the game to utilize them effectively.


You are missing a gnarly mountain bike trail down the backside of Ventoux.

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That’s brilliant: imagine a 1500 vertical meter dirt climb with gnarly steep sections, like the Moab “Whole Enchilada”. Maybe use the Repack Ridge steering option.


Great map. I think some pave would work well in this world on these routes. Proper Paris-Roubaix pave mind, not the gentle cobbles we see elsewhere in Zwift

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Oh, my – so obvious in retrospect! I’m amazed this hadn’t occurred to me. Surely this needs to happen.