Join Date: Jul 2011
Bikes: Santa Cruz Blur TR, Cannondale Quick CX dropbar conversion & others
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That pretty much nailed it. My wife and I actually rented a pair of Giant Rapid bikes when we were in Ohio over Memorial Day, and they were pretty nice. However, we did have a section of fairly rough gravel to & from a relative's house, about 1 mile of that was all my wife wanted to take. It has some washboard and 2" rock.
If it's smooth gravel, no worries, but if you're on rough gravel I would advocate something with a suspension fork, like the Roam. I doubt very much the Roam would give up much on bike paths, either.
If you're looking for a townie type of bike with a suspension fork, Cannondale has that pretty much dominated with their headshok-equipped Adventure models. The cheaper ones don't have an air headshok though-- just an elastomer. Still, it works fine for absorbing bumps and cracks in bike paths and good paved roads, and it looks like a city hybrid.
And finally, since we are in the MTB forum after all, I would like to say that if you'll be on rough gravel or trails a lot, obviously you get a mountainbike. With the right tires they're fine on bike paths, and they're obviously ideally suited for rough terrain.