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Where are the "older" gravel riders?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like : "Unbround Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Where are the "older" gravel riders?

Old 05-05-19, 10:16 PM
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pbass
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Where are the "older" gravel riders?

I'm in my late 50's and have really gotten into the gravel thing the last few years, coming from a MTB background. I feel like I'm part of a minority, at least around where I ride here in SoCal. I see plenty of geezers like me that are full-on roadies, and then there's the others that are on full-suspension mountain bikes out on the trails(with a smattering of hardtails). But this gravel thing, the "in-between" if you will, seems like a younger riders' scene. The other riders I encounter on gravel bikes are typically all many years (decades, even) my junior. Is this how it is in most places? It's curious. I know it's kind of a "new-fangled" thing, this style of riding, but to me it's actually perfect for the older rider who doesn't want to ride as technical on the trails as one used to, but also doesn't enjoy duking it out with SUVs on the road every ride. That's all, just an observation, coming from an aging hipster Maybe it's still a niche enough thing that it just hasn't caught on yet with the other greybeards...
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Old 05-05-19, 11:39 PM
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51 here been riding gravel before there was a gravel thing. Started 10 years ago riding a cyclocross on gravel roads. Then when I bothered to look at forums there is a gravel biking genre! That is cool but I’m been riding gravel for decades because that is the only roads we have was gravel so I technically started gravel biking in the 1970s gravel roads open a lot of cycling options without cars buzzing you at 75mph. Plus you get to see what the backroads have to offer.
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Old 05-06-19, 04:58 AM
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In the Wichita area, there are plenty of gravel riders your age. A few of the fastest local gravel riders are in their 40s/50s and certainly there are more than a few riders at events pushing 60+. I would guess the average rider age at most of the smaller local gravel events is ~40 or so.
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Old 05-06-19, 05:08 AM
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I'm 65 and I got into riding gravel roads a couple years ago. Pulled my Surly Disc Trucker into service for that. Joined a group ride in 2017 that was a mix of gravel and paved roads and loved it. Since then, I've discovered a lot of beautiful gravel rides in CT, MA, and VT. I usually ride alone and don't see many other riders when I'm on those roads, but I'm guessing I'm not that unique.
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Old 05-06-19, 05:18 AM
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Southern Ontario here, I am 68 but seems all other gravel riders are young un's. Rail trail riders on the other hand are a complete mix.
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Old 05-06-19, 06:06 AM
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55 in North Georgia.

Y'all come down.

https://atlantabikerides.wordpress.com


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Old 05-06-19, 06:13 AM
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I'm in a different part of the country, but I see plenty of 'mature' riders at events around here. And I'm fifty *cough* something.
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Old 05-06-19, 06:42 AM
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Gravelcyclist.com, did a survey recently (link below). There are quite a few riders in their 50s. From my perspective you are the “younger” riders. The survey noted with some surprise that there were a handful of respondents who are 70+ (I’m 70). To my way of thinking gravel is perfect for people my age. It’s non-technical, safer than road riding and the scenery is better.

https://gravelcyclist.com/training-r...avel-part-one/
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Old 05-06-19, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
Gravelcyclist.com, did a survey recently (link below). There are quite a few riders in their 50s. From my perspective you are the “younger” riders. The survey noted with some surprise that there were a handful of respondents who are 70+ (I’m 70). To my way of thinking gravel is perfect for people my age. It’s non-technical, safer than road riding and the scenery is better.

https://gravelcyclist.com/training-r...avel-part-one/
Good for you dude!

OP, we have many older riders in my area. I would tend to agree that in the gravel world most ages I see are ~40-50, so you're in good company.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:37 AM
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I'll be 63 in June and live in Wichita Kansas. There is a rather large group of us who are "long in the tooth" riding gravel.
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Old 05-06-19, 08:51 AM
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In the recent races I've entered, the men's 50+ entry list is about the same or slightly larger than the men's under-50 entry list. For women, the 40+ entry list is about double the number on the under-40 list. So . . . for races in Kansas, Oklahoma, and Tennessee, gravel seems to be almost geezer-centric.

I don't know if this means anything -- it might just be coincidence -- but I see the same (aging) demographics in the triathlons that I enter,
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Old 05-06-19, 08:51 AM
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Interesting, thanks for the replies. Must just be the area I ride in then here and LA, Pasadena, etc. I do of course understand that "riding gravel" has been around as long as there have been bikes, and cross has been around for ages. But as I say, I'm one of the very few guys I see on a rigid drop bar bike on the dirt when I go out who has an AARP card Most appear to be in their 30's, maybe 40's.
Could also have more to do with my region. I was out the other day, coming back down to a trailhead and chatted with a geezer my age on a full sus MTB coming up, and he was poking fun at me for being one of those "tough guys" riding a bike like that off-road (we don't have gravel roads here, but gnarly rocky steep loose dirt). So there is a perception that it is harder on the body(all relative of course). I assured him that I would never even try to keep up with him on his rig on the trail!
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Old 05-06-19, 09:42 AM
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I know you weren't talking about me. But the term "geezer" hit me hard. You will know me when you see me on a white FS XC bike.... gray hair and gray mustache. Sometimes I go Cherry Canyon. A lot of the times I ride on the street to behind JPL.
I see young ones riding the Arroyo behind JPL on drop bar gravel bikes. Some with nice front racks...
I saw one "older guy" in South Pasadena on a gravel bike, but I could tell he wasn't from CA.
You got a lot of nerve riding roads that previously were ridden on with MTBs. I tried riding drop bar in the dirt many years ago, but would always prefer my JC Higgins single speed in the dirt with wide bars. Then came the MTBs in the 80s. For me....XC MTB on these roads
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Old 05-06-19, 10:17 AM
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Those gravel bikers who look 30 and 40 are in fact 50 or 60, they just use a lot of botox and filler
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Old 05-06-19, 10:20 AM
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The midwestern gravel dad has fast replaced the midwestern roadie dad in my neck of the woods. Young people around here don't bike.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by trailangel View Post

I know you weren't talking about me. But the term "geezer" hit me hard. You will know me when you see me on a white FS XC bike.... gray hair and gray mustache. Sometimes I go Cherry Canyon. A lot of the times I ride on the street to behind JPL.
I see young ones riding the Arroyo behind JPL on drop bar gravel bikes. Some with nice front racks...
I saw one "older guy" in South Pasadena on a gravel bike, but I could tell he wasn't from CA.
You got a lot of nerve riding roads that previously were ridden on with MTBs. I tried riding drop bar in the dirt many years ago, but would always prefer my JC Higgins single speed in the dirt with wide bars. Then came the MTBs in the 80s. For me....XC MTB on these roads
Ha! Maybe that older guy was me Perhaps I'm just a glutton for punishment - prior to getting a gravel bike my #1 ride was a rigid singlespeed MTB. Oh well, at least I added gears in my "autumn years"
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Old 05-06-19, 10:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
..To my way of thinking gravel is perfect for people my age. It’s non-technical, safer than road riding and the scenery is better.
My feelings exactly. I don't bomb down technical trails any more so need need for suspension and the weight penalty that goes with it, I hate battling my way in traffic but I like to be able to zip along at a decent pace and get relatively aero when I am on the pavement. It's really the best of all these worlds combined.
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Old 05-06-19, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by Greenhil View Post
Gravelcyclist.com, did a survey recently (link below). There are quite a few riders in their 50s. From my perspective you are the “younger” riders. The survey noted with some surprise that there were a handful of respondents who are 70+ (I’m 70). To my way of thinking gravel is perfect for people my age. It’s non-technical, safer than road riding and the scenery is better.

https://gravelcyclist.com/training-r...avel-part-one/
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Old 05-06-19, 12:27 PM
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That makes sense. Most people I know in the 40-60 age range seem to have gotten smart and realized that those super stiff super skinny tired bikes the industry was selling us on 15 years ago is just stupid.
If you are not doing crit racing (or similar licenced event), there is no reason to be on that type of bike any more. Mature people get this.

Just met a guy yesterday, who was about 50, and he had just shoehorned some 35mm tires on his Diverge, and regulated his road bike to his trainer in his basement. Seems like most people I know in that age range have done the same thing with their road bike.
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Old 05-06-19, 12:43 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Most people I know in the 40-60 age range seem to have gotten smart and realized that those super stiff super skinny tired bikes the industry was selling us on 15 years ago is just stupid.
If you are not doing crit racing (or similar licenced event), there is no reason to be on that type of bike any more. Mature people get this.
I don't believe this for a second.

I still love to road bike at 55 and I'm not the oldest guy in my regular group by far.

Calling older roadies stupid and immature is very insulting.


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Old 05-06-19, 12:50 PM
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In the Central Iowa region, I see a lot of 40s and 50s gravel riders. Some of the really strong local riders are in there 40s and 50s.

https://www.desmoinesregister.com/st...port/33286263/ Sarah Cooper is mid40s. She crossed the country in 13 days and currently oversees 4 gravel races in the region.
https://www.cxmagazine.com/2019-iowa...ansiowa-legacy Greg Grandgeorge is a mid50s triathlete, trainer, and general endurance gravel racer. Ive seen him in a few events and see his name a lot more in all the events i dont dare attempt.

Funny that the 2 links show both riders with relatively slow avg speeds in a post where I say they are really talented, but they were both endurance distance events.






I am late30s and often feel like late50s, so does that count? Age is a state of mind, right?
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Old 05-06-19, 01:00 PM
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It's looking like it might be a regional thing I guess. As I say, here in SoCal we don't really have gravel roads. The closest we have are gnarly rocky fire roads, and understandably most folks think of them as mountain bike terrain. I'm certainly seeing more gravel bikes out there, but it's younger folks. Guess I need to travel more and ride some different locales!
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Old 05-06-19, 01:02 PM
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Originally Posted by TimothyH View Post
Calling older roadies stupid and immature is very insulting.
No worse than what you were posting in your singlespeed/fixie thread in the road forum. Doesnt make what Chas posted acceptable, but it does take a bit of legitimacy out of your sails.


For what its worth, Chas didnt call older roadies stupid or immature. Chas said what the industry was selling consumers 15 years ago was stupid and said that people have realized this(gotten smarter). By saying mature people understand that a wider tire is more comfortable and still fast also isnt an insult to those who are older and dont ride a wider tire, unless you work to make it an insult.

You can choose to be insulted by twisting words and identifying with generalizations, or you can choose to take generalizations for what they are worth- observations by individuals that dont specifically apply to every person since they are, you know, generalizations.
Your choice.
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Old 05-06-19, 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by pbass View Post
It's looking like it might be a regional thing I guess. As I say, here in SoCal we don't really have gravel roads. The closest we have are gnarly rocky fire roads, and understandably most folks think of them as mountain bike terrain. I'm certainly seeing more gravel bikes out there, but it's younger folks. Guess I need to travel more and ride some different locales!
From my unscientific observations the Verdugo Hills have the densest population of gravel bikers. Maybe because its close to town and easily accessed, the trails are relatively short and connect to make a few different loops and the surfaces are relatively smooth, though steep. Great views.
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Old 05-06-19, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Bingod View Post
From my unscientific observations the Verdugo Hills have the densest population of gravel bikers. Maybe because its close to town and easily accessed, the trails are relatively short and connect to make a few different loops and the surfaces are relatively smooth, though steep. Great views.
I'm usually a bit east of that, but it's close by--I should explore over there more.
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