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What was your first gravel ride?

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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 : "Unbound Gravel". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

What was your first gravel ride?

Old 02-19-20, 09:32 PM
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gravelslider
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What was your first gravel ride?

I couldn't help but wonder as I read BF today about what folks used to ride on gravel before we all had gravel bikes. I'll go first and am curious to hear others.

My first "gravel" ride was on my 1975 Peugeot 10 speed I got for Christmas. I rode that everywhere and traveled from home far enough to be on some unfamiliar roads looking for a small swimming pond we found on a map. We just kept following the route we planned and eventually got to the last 4-5 miles or so on a dirt road that had some really big cobbles in it. I got less than a mile and flatted my rear 27-1/4 gumwall. I patched the tube and 'vulcanized' it in with a match to the extra rubber cement. I rode the rest of the way to the pond on the shoulder and a lot more careful about rocks as I was out of rubber cement for my last patch. We made it to the pond but it looked too private and we were afraid to trespass so we just looked at it for a while over the fence then turned around and rode back home with our towels still dry. Haven't made it back yet but still planning to with a little more nerve next time...

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Old 02-20-20, 08:06 AM
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Early 90s Univega cromoly hybrid frame that I converted to a drop bar bike mostly with components I had on hand. This was to see if I would even like the activity and also to help me decide what I did and didnt want in my proper build bike. The Univega was way too small, but I kludged it together to fit well enough to do rides up to 30mi and ended up selling the frameset on this site.
I used the original wheels, bb, tires, cassette, seatpost, and canti brakes. I added new flared drop bar, new brake levers, old crankset, old bar end shifters, old stem, and old saddle. Evenutally some quality tires were added which made a huge difference.

That bike helped me decide how I would build up my Black Mountain Cycles frame a couple years later.

And both those helped me decide how I would build up my current Fairlight Secan frame.

Still love this paint!

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Old 02-20-20, 08:43 AM
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hmmm '68? '69? Schwinn Stingray with knobby / textured tires for riding around my school yard in 6th grade. funny never got a photo of it. I guess this is close but mine had a metallic blue saddle.



then later, I remember hunting for 27" tires w/ 2 center beads instead of just the single bead most tires had. guess I was still looking for dirt? then later looking for the textured gumwalls ...
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Old 02-20-20, 08:44 AM
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I only started cycling in 2015, so my first gravel adventures were on the hardtail MTB I had at the time.
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Old 02-20-20, 09:41 AM
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I rode the 180k D2R2 route with a few friends back in 2007. Due to scheduling conflicts, our ride was a few weeks or months away from the official event (which was still a fairly small affair). We moved our start point to allow for convenience stores every 30mi or so. We ended up going slower than expected, second-guessing the cue sheet a few times, and ultimately cutting the distance short to make it back to our cars before dark. It was an epic day in the saddle and certainly a memorable experience for us.

My bike that day was a Ti cross bike with 700 x 30mm knobbies and a 50/36 x 11-26 9-speed drivetrain and canti brakes. I think I spent most of the day in my lowest gear. I recall thinking that 30 or 32mm slicks would have been faster than my cyclocross tires; and that lower gears would be nice. Most other folks were on cyclocross bikes with similar tires and gearing. One of the riders in our group was on an XC MTB -- I noticed him in his 24x34 low gear a few times.

I've gone back to do the official ride a few times since then, including this past summer. D2R2 is an event that doesn't disappoint with terrain or scenery.
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Old 02-20-20, 12:28 PM
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I grew up on a dirt road. Most of my rides started with gravel. On 20mm 650c tires on a tri bike or 23mm on my road bike. I don't really count those though.

I think in the summer of 2001 I rode from SLC to Logan, and it was before smartphones. The path I ended up on, well east of the main road went over a rutted out road. 23mm tires, I rode it fast, I loved it.

Possibly related, my 1" carbon steerer fork came separated from the aluminum crown about 6 months later. With the change in seasons, that actually was only a few rides later. Who knows.

I also raced the Boulder Roubaix around then, still on 23mm tires.
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Old 02-20-20, 01:09 PM
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When I lived in Santa Fe, NM in the 90’s my rides road rides typically started and ended on dirt and gravel. 26mm tires were sketchy and I could not move quickly and had to be careful in sand and loose dirt. A gravel bike with 40mm semi-knobbies would have been a dream bike.
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Old 02-20-20, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
hmmm '68? '69? Schwinn Stingray with knobby / textured tires for riding around my school yard in 6th grade. funny never got a photo of it. I guess this is close but mine had a metallic blue saddle.



then later, I remember hunting for 27" tires w/ 2 center beads instead of just the single bead most tires had. guess I was still looking for dirt? then later looking for the textured gumwalls ...
Nice! I still remember those brick-tread front tires...
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Old 02-20-20, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dwmckee View Post
Nice! I still remember those brick-tread front tires...
they really make an impression me. I can still feel the excitement as I rolled over dirt & grass patches dodging acorns & smelling fermenting leaves. if we were able to go back in time & re-live little snipets of our lives, that one be one of them
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Old 02-20-20, 02:44 PM
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Mine was a regular single speed coaster brake bicycle. WE kids rode that type of bicycle everywhere.

Cheers
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Old 02-21-20, 09:38 AM
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Just started last year and rode the Snaggy Ridge 105 in Tipton, IA early October.

https://snaggyridge105.com/

This was my first official gravel event and I did the much tamer 26-mile route on a cold, rainy day!

We got lots of gravel roads here in Iowa with lots of small grass-roots events, which is how I like it. Plan on doing the Sterile Iowan in May this year. Maybe a 50-mile route.

https://www.bikeiowa.com/Event/13264...wan-100-or-200
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Old 02-21-20, 12:57 PM
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
hmmm '68? '69? Schwinn Stingray with knobby / textured tires for riding around my school yard in 6th grade. funny never got a photo of it. I guess this is close but mine had a metallic blue saddle.



then later, I remember hunting for 27" tires w/ 2 center beads instead of just the single bead most tires had. guess I was still looking for dirt? then later looking for the textured gumwalls ...
Yup! Stingray late 60's on farm trails in rural suburbia with my up-to-no-good buddies. Loved it! My first "gravel ride" and "first mountain bike."
I chuckle now at MTB "hardtail" advocates and reply "been there, done that" - long long ago.
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Old 02-21-20, 01:36 PM
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Probably the crushed limestone trail in the park across the street, on my 16"-wheeled BMX bike. I was in the single-digits age at the time.

Unrelated: PickleRick , have you tried these yet?

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Old 02-21-20, 02:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Probably the crushed limestone trail in the park across the street, on my 16"-wheeled BMX bike. I was in the single-digits age at the time.

Unrelated: PickleRick , have you tried these yet?
Ha!!....no, but one of my nieces, who is also a Rick and Morty zealot, informed me of their existence. Will have to check out Wegmans next time I get groceries.
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Old 02-21-20, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Probably the crushed limestone trail in the park across the street, on my 16"-wheeled BMX bike. I was in the single-digits age at the time.

Unrelated: PickleRick , have you tried these yet?

And just about the right size to fit in a bottle cage on my down tube. Note to self: Have to get these for next ride...
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Old 02-23-20, 01:51 AM
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My first gravel ride was mabye in 2015 when I took my new road bike up a fire road and instantly regretted not buying a 'cross bike. Was able to get my hands on a 'cross bike in 2018 and have never looked back.

Actually it is in road mode now and I still enjoy very much the paved road. Having the option of riding pavement or gravel is really great.
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Old 02-23-20, 08:34 AM
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1996?

First gravel bike was a conglomeration of rigid, butted steel 26" mountain bike frame with drop bars and 3x. I also raced cyclocross with it. '97 while working at GT bicycles, I scored a 7005 butted aluminum European trekking frame. Slapped on old V brakes, 2x 105 Shimano with XT long cage derailleur, 700x45 hybrid tires. Roommate liked the bike so much that he built one similar. We did a lot of adventuring in the mountains and undeveloped areas of Orange County around that time.

I just chuckled when friends in 2014 were telling me about this new thing called gravel riding. I got a similar chuckle my friends a years few ago started telling me how cool single speeding was, as the person who finished on the podium of the inaugural single speed world championship back in 99

I'm old!
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Old 02-23-20, 05:18 PM
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1992 or 1993 Fuji Suncrest.
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Old 02-23-20, 06:04 PM
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We moved to the country when I was 8 and the road beside our house was gravel.
I can't remember the brand but the bike had ape hangers, a banana seat and sissy bar. Rode it like I stole it.
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