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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 :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

Travel for gravel?

Old 11-09-19, 03:12 AM
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horatio 
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Travel for gravel?

Used to be (when I was a kid) gravel/dirt roads were common around these parts. Now, not so much. For those of you who must travel for gravel rides, how far are you typically going? 20 miles? 30 miles? More?
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Old 11-09-19, 03:21 AM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Used to be (when I was a kid) gravel/dirt roads were common around these parts. Now, not so much. For those of you who must travel for gravel rides, how far are you typically going? 20 miles? 30 miles? More?
30 miles for me for the closest decent gravel.
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Old 11-09-19, 05:50 AM
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It's a 1 hour drive for me to get to any decent gravel riding. For organized events, I will typically drive 2 to 4 hours to get to some nice hilly gravel routes.
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Old 11-09-19, 06:04 AM
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my limit is approx 2 hrs drive. was debating where to go & I chose the moderate distance. I want to do an overnight in a cheap motel to try some further places. hard to justify the cost of the room w/o Wifey tho. we've gone places together but I want to do more than she does

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Old 11-09-19, 08:58 AM
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I am 6.5 mi from a western entrance to gravel. It's side roads and a MUP to get to hundreds of miles of gravel.
Or I am 7mi from a southern entrance to gravel. But that route is a couple miles of gravel, then a few miles of rural pavement, then hundreds of miles of gravel. Again its side roads and a MUPto get to the start.

15 miles to get northwest, 20 miles to get north, and 20 miles to get east.

If I ride after work, I will bring my bike and ride the north or eastern roads because I ride those the least.
If I ride from home, I will go west or south since those are closest. I will sometimes drive from my house, but its 20% of the time and it's to try out routes that are farther from me that I wouldnt normally ride.


West is hilly, south is hilly, east is hilly, north is flat and northwest is a mix of hilly and flat.
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Old 11-09-19, 11:47 AM
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I live 13 miles NW of Atlanta, GA. Closest riding gravel is either W to Dallas,GA 30 miles or SW to Chattahoocee Hills, GA. Both have 20+ miles of gravel loops to ride.

Driving-wise, good gravel starts about 45 minutes away and gets really good around 1.5-2 hours.
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Old 11-09-19, 08:54 PM
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Here in Pittsburgh in the spring all of our roads are blessedly returned to their natural gravel state until the paving trucks get funded again... After that there are a lot of gravel patches about an hour or just a bit more from the city on every main compass point...
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Old 11-09-19, 08:58 PM
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I guess we're lucky here, i just hop on my bike and ride a few miles into the county, and there is gravel everywhere!
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Old 11-10-19, 03:45 PM
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A little under 2 hours for me to get to good gravel - but it's very very nice when I get there. Wish it were closer then I would get there more than a few times a year.
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Old 11-10-19, 04:21 PM
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Originally Posted by SalsaShark View Post
I guess we're lucky here, i just hop on my bike and ride a few miles into the county, and there is gravel everywhere!
Same here. Nothing challenging in terms of accents and descents, just miles of rural gravel.
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Old 11-10-19, 07:04 PM
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Originally Posted by srode1 View Post
A little under 2 hours for me to get to good gravel - but it's very very nice when I get there. Wish it were closer then I would get there more than a few times a year.
I was just riding in SE Ohio today. Tons of gravel there!
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Old 11-10-19, 07:37 PM
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You guys from Iowa crack me up. I grew up in Burlington and at least back then, there were more gravel roads that paved roads. We used to hate riding gravel but could never completely avoid it because gravel roads were everywhere. Despite the latest craze, I can't imagine loading my bike on the car to seek out a gravel road. Especially since I live in Chicago now and don't think there's a gravel road within 50 miles other than the Des Plaines River Trail which is under water most of the time.
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Old 11-10-19, 09:31 PM
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Kinda lucky on this one. We live in Dallas, GA and can ride by bicycle from home a few miles and pick up some nice gravel, or chunky singletrack gravel if you prefer. There isn't tons of gravel close by, but there might be more as we have been here a year and a half , and I'm still exploring. A typical route with 30-40 miles could incorporate a fair amount of gravel. Some of it is rough, with deep ruts and potholes too. Makes for interesting night gravel rides.

Dave
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Old 11-10-19, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by kingston View Post
You guys from Iowa crack me up. I grew up in Burlington and at least back then, there were more gravel roads that paved roads. We used to hate riding gravel but could never completely avoid it because gravel roads were everywhere. Despite the latest craze, I can't imagine loading my bike on the car to seek out a gravel road. Especially since I live in Chicago now and don't think there's a gravel road within 50 miles other than the Des Plaines River Trail which is under water most of the time.
Not sure why we crack you up.
Also not sure why you are posting in a forum you dislike(if unread your post correctly).

I grew up in winnetka/Arlington heights and still go into the W/SW burbs every few months. There is gravel just west of Aurora, so not near you but relatively accessible to millions in your area. Yeah most of what would be gravel in Chicagoland is just hardpack limestone trails.
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Old 11-11-19, 03:25 AM
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Originally Posted by gravelslider View Post
I was just riding in SE Ohio today. Tons of gravel there!
Unfortunately I'm in SW Ohio - Cincinnati Area. Great place to live, but Zero gravel near by. Shawnee State Forest is my go to place in Ohio for gravel.
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Old 11-11-19, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Not sure why we crack you up.
Also not sure why you are posting in a forum you dislike(if unread your post correctly).
I guess it didn't come out right. I intended that as a compliment to Iowans. Gravel riding isn't some new thing in Iowa. Anyone from Iowa has been riding gravel as long as they've been cycling whether they like it or not. It's unavoidable because gravel roads are everywhere. As you say, hundreds of miles in every direction. What's new is guys from the suburbs loading their bikes up on their cars and driving so they can ride their bike on a gravel road. I've got nothing against gravel, and if I still lived in Iowa, I'd be riding gravel all day long, but driving my car specifically to ride my bike on a gravel road is not something I ever see myself doing unless it was for a race or some organized endurance ride.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:23 AM
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Many cyclists, at least in the US in larger cities, pack up their bikes (road or gravel) to drive to safer areas to ride. I certainly wouldn't drive a couple of hours on a regular basis to ride gravel but I do drive ~35 minutes for decent gravel on weekends.
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Old 11-11-19, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by bonsai171 View Post
Kinda lucky on this one. We live in Dallas, GA and can ride by bicycle from home a few miles and pick up some nice gravel, or chunky singletrack gravel if you prefer. There isn't tons of gravel close by, but there might be more as we have been here a year and a half , and I'm still exploring. A typical route with 30-40 miles could incorporate a fair amount of gravel. Some of it is rough, with deep ruts and potholes too. Makes for interesting night gravel rides.

Dave
I've on the east side of Atlanta. Do you happen to have a route file (RideWithGPS or just a gpx file) you can point me to? The main gravel I do is the Dirt Sheets Ride that's around Cochran Mills park. It's a 20 mile loop so works well
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Old 11-11-19, 11:26 AM
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Originally Posted by biketampa View Post
I've on the east side of Atlanta. Do you happen to have a route file (RideWithGPS or just a gpx file) you can point me to? The main gravel I do is the Dirt Sheets Ride that's around Cochran Mills park. It's a 20 mile loop so works well
I've heard of the dirty sheets ride. Definitely can send you some loops. There's a couple of areas I enjoy doing gravel riding in. A lot of it is in Dallas. If you have a land pass for the Wilderness management areas, it is an added bonus (IIRC they are fairly inexpensive). There are a lot of gravel roads if you ride there (when it isn't hunting season). Will dig some up later tonight when I have a chance.

Only caveat is the dogs. Certain parts of the route have loose dogs and most likely will chase you. Definitely suggest carrying pepper spray just in case.

Dave
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Old 11-11-19, 04:05 PM
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I've got one decent gravel loop about a 45 minute drive from my home in CT. My favorite gravel rides, though, I'm probably about 1 1/2 hour drive in different directions for different loops. Western CT/Kent, NW CT into SW MA, and then, North Central MA, starting in Greenfield. Parking in Greenfield, I ride north into southern VT and piece together different sections of the D2R2 routes for some amazing, albeit painfully hilly, rural gravel rides.
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Old 11-11-19, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by biketampa View Post
I've on the east side of Atlanta. Do you happen to have a route file (RideWithGPS or just a gpx file) you can point me to? The main gravel I do is the Dirt Sheets Ride that's around Cochran Mills park. It's a 20 mile loop so works well
I have a couple of gpx files put together, and can think of maybe one other route to add to it. If you don't mind, PM me with an email address, and I can send them over.

Dave
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Old 11-12-19, 04:04 AM
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3 miles to a very wooded park on the edge of town that is fun for shorter rides 1.5 hours or less.
6 miles to better woods, gravel and singletrack that is better suited for rides of 2 hours +
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Old 11-12-19, 08:27 AM
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A lot of gravel is a short bike ride on some chip seal from my driveway. I will travel for gravel though. My limit is I must ride the bike for 2x the time in the car. Most of my "drive to rides" include at least 6 hours of seat time so I'm good. I don't remember the last time I used my car to get to a place to ride on a real paved road.

+1 on dogs in rural areas. No one tethers their dogs in the rural country.

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Old 11-12-19, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by u235 View Post
A lot of gravel is a short bike ride on some chip seal from my driveway. I will travel for gravel though. My limit is I must ride the bike for 2x the time in the car. Most of my "drive to rides" include at least 6 hours of seat time so I'm good. I don't remember the last time I used my car to get to a place to ride on a real paved road.

+1 on dogs in rural areas. No one tethers their dogs in the rural country.
ive been chased a few times. Luckily not been bitten. Iíve read carrying treats to toss at dogs can work. But I need to get some pepper spray in case I canít get away
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Old 11-14-19, 07:32 AM
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I live small town Kansas 1 mile either way its all dirt roads to anywhere. Flat mostly but still dirt gravel roads. Then its just a little over a hour and I am on the dirty Kanza roads. Always disliked living here until we started doing this gravel thing.
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