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Why all the Gravitation toward Gravel ?

Where did all this Gravel come from and how was it possible to ride it in the old days ie; last year....

 

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Why all the Gravitation toward Gravel ?

Where did all this Gravel come from and how was it possible to ride it in the old days ie; last year....

Yeah! Agreed... MTB with drop bars. What gravel? There are places with hundreds of miles of gravel roads? Those are close to 3" looking tires? At least 2.5" right? Drop bar fatty? Weird... I guess there just arent conditions, or enough conditions, at least where I live, to help me understand this phenomenon?
 

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Not just drop bars, but a rigid fork, road bike gearing and shifters/hoods.

I have a 29er hardtail. I've ridden it twice.

Last year I demo'd an 'adventure' bike and fell in love with it. Same comfortable riding position as my road bike, but it makes more roads and trail accessible, which means less riding in traffic, on roads, and on paved MUT's.

I ride mine 100-200 miles a week, at about 80% on gravel. No way I could or would do that on my 29'er.
 

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Not just drop bars, but a rigid fork, road bike gearing and shifters/hoods.

I have a 29er hardtail. I've ridden it twice.

Last year I demo'd an 'adventure' bike and fell in love with it. Same comfortable riding position as my road bike, but it makes more roads and trail accessible, which means less riding in traffic, on roads, and on paved MUT's.

I ride mine 100-200 miles a week, at about 80% on gravel. No way I could or would do that on my 29'er.
Go everywhere bikes are back! :thumbsup: I hear the tires are now a lot lighter, too, in those big sizes. All they need is fenders, and maybe two chain rings. That one 39t? chainring is dumb, with all that cross chaining necessary, and that huge pie plate gear in back! There's some planned obsolescence, right there. :D
 

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For years we road gravel and even soft sand on standard racing bikes and 23c. Even some of our road races included some dirt stretches. Just made you a better bike handler. I guess I just don't get it.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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Yeah! Agreed... MTB with drop bars. What gravel? There are places with hundreds of miles of gravel roads? Those are close to 3" looking tires? At least 2.5" right? Drop bar fatty? Weird... I guess there just arent conditions, or enough conditions, at least where I live, to help me understand this phenomenon?
It is called rails to trails....and yes there's hundreds of miles of it everywhere.

Here in Nebraska we have something called the Cowboy Trail that was originally a pony express line...then became the transcontinental railroad line...now is rails-to-trails.

I believe the original telegraph poles first put up still dot it.
 

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Yeah! Agreed... MTB with drop bars. What gravel? There are places with hundreds of miles of gravel roads? Those are close to 3" looking tires? At least 2.5" right? Drop bar fatty? Weird... I guess there just arent conditions, or enough conditions, at least where I live, to help me understand this phenomenon?
Where I live there are 50 great gravel roads for every one good paved road. Bikes like this make perfect sense, faster than an MTB on a gravel road and not as sketchy as riding a road bike on a gravel road, whats not to understand about it?

From the perspective of a road system that was untapped to ride I am surprised that it took the mainstream bike industry this long to figure it out.
 

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Adorable Furry Hombre
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Where I live there are 50 great gravel roads for every one good paved road. Bikes like this make perfect sense, faster than an MTB on a gravel road and not as sketchy as riding a road bike on a gravel road, whats not to understand about it?

From the perspective of a road system that was untapped to ride I am surprised that it took the mainstream bike industry this long to figure it out.
I think it also gained popularity recently. Lots of folks are getting scared of riding on road with the streets being warzones of homicidal daydreaming texting and talking drivers that kill someone and get off with a $200 fine. Many see gravel riding as a way to get in riding without the fear factor of having motorists close enough to kill.
 

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The gravel races are really fun: almost no cars, the terrain is more interesting, and you feel closer to nature. Also, in Minnesota, they're usually free and have a great low-key vibe even though the races are harder than hell!

No, you don't need a gravel-specific bike, but in yesterday's event I was envious of the people running the wide tires. They're definitely better on the loose stuff. I was running a 30mm tire in back and a 28 up front with rim brakes. I don't mind sliding around a bit in the gravel, but as I got more tired, the wider tires looked better and better. Maybe that's their advantage, over the long haul, just a little bit easier to handle.
 

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For those of us who live near them, national forest service roads, fire roads, etc... offer literally thousands of miles of rideable gravel roads. They offer beautiful scenery away from the dangers and hectic nature of road and MUT trail riding. I can ride my gravel bike west for two or three hours, just taking random roads, and end up sitting on the shore of a lake, with not another human, or vehicle, etc... within sight or earshot... for hours.

This kind of riding has brought a lot of new energy and enthusiasm to my riding, which had become stale and boring riding the same loops on the same dangerous roads mile after mile.

Next summer, once I've fully recovered from getting hit by a car last summer, I'm going to start doing these 'Vicious Cycle' mixed surface Gran Fondo gravel/pavement.

11k feet of elevation gain over 90 miles on mixed surfaces, varying from rough forest roads, to a few miles of pavement rides and nearly ZERO cars.
Gran Fondo Winthrop – Vicious Cycle

The RideWithGPS route
https://ridewithgps.com/routes/10377698

Note: This event is limited to 200 and is pre-registration only.

Warning! This ride is HARD and is intended for experienced cyclists. There will be approx 10,000′ of climbing and descending (which is A LOT), much of which is on rough Forest Service roads. Weather is a big gamble at 7000′ in Sept.
Course Map: Look at the elevation profile, miles, intersections…. it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with it so you know where your at. Even better; you can down load it directly to your Garmin or smart phone.

What you get:
You will receive a super cool limited edition Gran Fondo Winthrop souvenir, a well thought out, and well marked course to ride, well stocked aid stations to refuel at, and a meal to refuel post ride. We will also post the times of all finishers for bragging rights.


Route:
The course is designed to give riders a glimpse of some very mountainous, out of the way parts of North Central Washington. In the spirit of remote and rustic Washington, much of the route is primitive Forest Service roads. There will be four aid stations at approx. mile 14, 26, 48, and 63. These will also serve as bail out points. We will not have sag vehicles roaming the course so as to minimize the amount of traffic riders have to contend with on these mountain roads.


Gear:
With so many variable course conditions it is hard to say what’s right or wrong. Road, cross, or mtb, any one will work, but all will have a disadvantage at some point. Personally I would run my Raleigh Roker with BIG tires, as in 40+. There will be LOTS of climbing so plan accordingly. There will be a few sag wagons and an aid station, but it’s a good idea to be somewhat self sufficient. Weather is always something to consider with this type of ride. It may be 70 and sunny, but high in the mountains anything can happen. Bring on the adventure baby!
I'm hoping for more organized gravel/pave mixed surface type events. We have a few now, but I'd like to see more, and with more options.
 

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The geometry on my Gravel bike is nearly identical to my Road bike so it handles about the same, runs well on the road with slicks, or stick some CX tyres or fat gravel tyres on it and have some fun off road to. Makes a great winter bike, can take fenders and racks if needed, fat tyres and disc brakes. Benefit of wide tyres - lower pressure, more grip, more comfort, awesome fun :)

Not just for gravel roads either, can get off into some light single track too.

Wheel Bicycle tire Tire Bicycle wheel rim Mode of transport
 

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I've been doing the gravel / light trail riding thing for several years now. I've gone from 28c road tires doing dual duty road and dirt, to getting a second set of wheels with proper 33c cx tires, to now running 40c (f) and 38c (r) (down from a 40c, to lose weight and rolling resistance). The extra traction and bit of suspension from the larger tires are great, especially for long days. Here is last weekends ride.

I could see going bigger with the tires into drop bar 29er territory. But that's going to depend on the terrain, goals of the ride and the frame/fork ability to take the pounding those bigger tires are going to inspire.

Riding cx/gravel bikes is outstanding fun. So fast, so nimble and so unforgiving to mistakes. They spice things up and add variety to ones riding experiences, and are the perfect weapon for big days on dirt roads and trails.
 

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Wow. Jealous... We just don't have enough unpaved road to make a bike like that usable. We have some gravel and some park paths... But nothing like what's being described in this thread. We have miles and miles and miles of beaches to ride though. So I do that outside of road season.
 

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Good looking bike and we have the gravel here in Oz to justify it at 60% of the 820,000km of roads still unsealed. But yes, it will be a fun bike, closer to a MTB than a CX... have to agree, basically looks like my fully rigid Niner Single Speed with gears and drop bars.
 

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Gravel bikes are huge here in Iowa... You have double the gravel as you do paved roads. Almost all of them are good to excellent condition.

Also, I feel safer on gravel overall. With now 10 riders killed in Iowa this year on the road (one was killed riding to Ragbrai on the first day). Gravel makes for a safer option sadly if no bike trails around.
 

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Bicycle tire Tire Bicycle frame Wheel Bicycle wheel I enjoy it as well, and have lots of areas to ride. Mine is more of a pure cross bike though, running narrow-ish 31mm tires. Can really beat you up at times compared to 29er hard tail. View attachment 315433
 

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I took off the wheels with my 28 mm slicks and put the wheels with the 40mm treads back on the bike. Slows it down a bit on the road (10% is my estimate), but well worth that small price in terms of versatility. My mountain bike sits neglected in the garage as I ride the trails on my "adventure road" bike.

I'd love to see details of that Marin ride. Got a RideWithGPS (or similar) public link?
 

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I'd love to see details of that Marin ride. Got a RideWithGPS (or similar) public link?
No, afraid I don't. You need to change your settings to accept PMs or send me a PM with an email address, and I'll give you the link to share that strava ride with you.
 

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Like others, I like gravel because it's safer (fewer cars) closer to nature, and it's just a nice change. We don't have any close by, I have to drive 1.5 hours to get to places to ride, but it's a blast. The climbing where we go to ride is awesome - we get over 100 feet / mile with plenty of double digit grades. In the Fall the views are just awesome. When road biking with a group we are normally doing fast pace lines so not as much time to enjoy the scenery as on gravel where speeds are lower.
 
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