I'd like the hear from the forum on a couple of things.
(1) I've been riding a road bike for about a year now, a LeMond Reno. My favorite ride is along a beautiful mountain stream in Tennessee for five miles, then along the scenic French Broad River in North Carolina for another seven. We usually ride out and back for a total of about 25 miles, with a lunch or ice cream stop at Hot Springs, NC. All the ride is paved and very smooth except for a section of 3.5 miles along the river. Technically this section is gravel but now most is just hard packed dirt with some rock remaining. This part is pretty rough on a road bike but I can handle it and it I figure that it is a good way to break in my Brooks. I rode it for years on a mountain bike but just prefer riding the road bike when possible. My question: Is riding on rough surfaces like this potentially damaging to my bike? I've done this ride on the Reno about ten times this summer with no problem so far. I love this ride but would hate to crack my frame, etc.
(2) I have a lady friend that bought a nearly new Cyclocross Bike at half price, a Redline Conquest. The problem is the bike is a little too big for her and her legs are completely extended at the lowest saddle position. When she rides, sometimes she pedals with her toes and other times, she has to rotate her hips. She is an aerobics and yoga instructor and is in excellent shape. I have two questions here: Will riding like she is doing potentially cause knee, hip and/other problems? Her seat post bottoms out before reaching the bottom of the tube. Would it be OK to cut off a couple of inches of the bottom of the seatpost so a lower saddle position could be achieved, without being unsafe?