I've recently been enjoying riding gravel roads. I follow the guitar ted site and Mtb Bike radio and there are various opinions on gravel riding (not new...so what's the big deal), gravel bikes are silly, etc. was thinking of this on my ride yesterday and thought I would share my ramblings...maybe they will stir, or continue to stir your passion.
I think it's gaining popularity, in part, because us roadies have been getting bored of the same old thing, and have sought adventure. I know I have. I use to try new paved routes and would have to re-route around the gravel. I sometimes went on those roads with my skinny tire bike with 100+ psi tires...I liked it, but felt beat up so didn't do it much. My steel frame bike with 32mm tires, and my cross bike with 40mm tires 'enjoy' that same gravel so much more.
I like the idea of gravel bikes. In comparison, stiff and light road bikes are great on the road. And yes you can ride the same bike on gravel. Mountain bikes are great on trails...and they can do gravel, but it's a lot if bike for gravel. I've road all types of bikes on gravel. I find a steel frame with 32mm tires at the right psi is perfect on my areas roads. Yes I can ride almost anything on these gravel roads, but why not use something that enhances the experience...
I like the sound the of these gravel 'races', and look forward to them gaining popularity. I do one in Ontario, Canada...Paris to Ancaster (very different from trans-Iowa, Kanza, etc.).
That's it for now...looking forward to hearing about your experiences.