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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.

Suburban Mixed Surface

Old 06-19-23, 05:39 PM
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Suburban Mixed Surface

I live in a suburb that has around 50,000 population over an area of 25km (squared). To our West, North and North-East are fairly quiet roads, with the next suburbs 20km away or further. Itís a good area for road rides, but I think itís even better for mixed surface rides on gravel/cross bikes (or whatever youíre rockin). I like riding from my house and having a general direction in mind but I let the route develop spontaneously. Typical ride is 20-30km with a longer ride to an adjacent town pushing it to 40-60km. Every one of these rides includes gravel trails (double track, city built, multi-use) that are rarely flat or straight, a bit of single track, wooden boardwalks, quiet neighborhood streets (many with bike lanes), flattened paths through grass fields, sidewalks, parking lots, tunnels under train tracks...I think that about covers it!

Iím guessing a good deal of people here (20-30%?) live in a similar area, or even if in a bigger city but with just more of above.

Anyway, I really enjoy these rides and theyíre definitely fun!
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Old 06-20-23, 03:34 PM
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Nice! 😎 I live in a fairly rural area, so most of my "gravel bike riding" is on gravel roads.

I can go a little further and hit some coastal singletrack, graded multi-use trails, and more urban environments though. Mixing it up keeps the mind fresh. That is certainly the beauty of the gravel bike. You can be riding along and see a path/trail/track and go "yep! let's take that!" and simply see where you end up out the other side.
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Old 06-20-23, 07:39 PM
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Probably 70% of my solo rides are mixed surface.
5mi paved to hit gravel, 10-40mi of gravel, then a different 5-7mi of paved to get back home.
It's my favorite style of riding and my gravel bike is set up for it specifically.
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Old 06-20-23, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
...I’m guessing a good deal of people here (20-30%?) live in a similar area, or even if in a bigger city but with just more of above. Anyway, I really enjoy these rides and they’re definitely fun!
Bravo... Me too...

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Old 06-21-23, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr
Probably 70% of my solo rides are mixed surface.
5mi paved to hit gravel, 10-40mi of gravel, then a different 5-7mi of paved to get back home.
It's my favorite style of riding and my gravel bike is set up for it specifically.
This type of ride is an option for me as well. The further I ride the more gravel roads there are (to the North). I also have two rail trails not too far. While I do these longer paved/gravel ďroadĒ rides on occasion (with the rail trail option), what I really enjoy, and mentioned above, was riding within the suburb, on 10+ types of surfaces (constantly switching between them; never flat for long, and never straight for more than 1km). There are so many route options and every decision and turn includes different surfaces. Granted, these are shorter rides in comparison to to the paved/gravel road rides I can do as these can be as long as 100-200km (these days Iím not riding that far, for one reason or another).
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Old 08-21-23, 07:57 AM
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I live in an area that on the surface seems to have no gravel and just a bunch of roadies sniffing each others butts in a line. However if you start to look in those places that feel like they're "keep out" but actually arent, you can find such glorious things. And bears, you can find bears too so be careful
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Old 08-22-23, 03:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Wspsux
I live in an area that on the surface seems to have no gravel and just a bunch of roadies sniffing each others butts in a line. However if you start to look in those places that feel like they're "keep out" but actually arent, you can find such glorious things. And bears, you can find bears too so be careful
Extremely relatable. Not the bears as much. But otherwise extremely relatable. I get a lot of comments from roadies about the width of my bars and how wide my tires are and how I'm missing a chainring. It's weird to me the idea that folks get into this lifestyle, pick a lane, and never shall they deviate. When I moved from the roadie world into mtb and then into off-road touring many years ago now (I guess people recently are resurrecting the term "ATB"), it opened a whole new horizon of adventure. Don't they get bored in that peloton? Not curious as to what else can be done with a bike besides hit the state park trail network? But yeah the "POSTED No trespassing" signs over an area that on the map looked rideable surges the adrenaline every bit as much as hucking a drop. The feel that at any moment Farmer McJohn might come out with a shotgun. Something appealing to me about it, haha. The other day I encountered one such sign. To go around, I had to traverse around an 8 foot sheer drop where a flash flood previously cut a channel into where a dirt road used to be, to circumnavigate around their property. That's what I call an impromptu adventure! lol.
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Old 08-24-23, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Wspsux
I live in an area that on the surface seems to have no gravel and just a bunch of roadies sniffing each others butts in a line.
You seem fun.***
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Old 08-24-23, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Wspsux
... just a bunch of roadies sniffing each others butts in a line.
Thank you letting everyone know that you have no idea what you're talking about with regards to high-level road riding.

Originally Posted by cellery
Don't they get bored in that peloton?
No. Rolling along with a big group of strong riders at 30+mph is anything but boring. I guess it's one of those things that you have to experience to understand. An outside observer watching a group ride by doesn't see the constant action and flow of movement.
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Old 08-24-23, 12:55 PM
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I wish there were more variety here in central CT. Where I live, there is no gravel. I have to drive an hour to the nearest gravel rail trails, which, are both very nice. If I were not limited timewise, I would make that drive more often. So, for me it's road riding, which includes a paved rail trail.
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Old 08-24-23, 02:08 PM
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I live at the edge of the suburban sprawl of a major metropolis, up against a good-size mountain range. Around me, I have multiple dirt areas with fire roads and singletrack, and a large majority of my rides start from my driveway, regardless of whether I'm on a road bike, gravel bike, or MTB. I love the versatile capabilities of my gravel bike, and linking different combinations of dirt and pavement, depending on what I'm feeling like on that day.
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Old 08-24-23, 03:15 PM
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re: Roadies and road cycling

I've always considered myself a 'roadie', but didn't realize that many people think of roadies as riding along in pelotons on group rides (like in pro road cycling). I've been riding the road for close to 20 years and have been in pelotons less than 10x (charity events). It's not that I'm against that type of riding, but I do love the low stress of riding along or with one, maybe two other cyclists (these days half my rides are with one other person). My head is often up looking at the forests adjacent to the roads, farms, country houses, or whatever. The feeling I get riding along a trail on my gravel bike is very similar to riding solo or with a friend on a road ride. I've always viewed them as one and the same.

I don't discriminate against any form of cycling...we're all in this together! Triathletes? Hmmm
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Old 08-24-23, 03:59 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
re: Roadies and road cycling

I've always considered myself a 'roadie', but didn't realize that many people think of roadies as riding along in pelotons on group rides (like in pro road cycling). I've been riding the road for close to 20 years and have been in pelotons less than 10x (charity events). It's not that I'm against that type of riding, but I do love the low stress of riding along or with one, maybe two other cyclists (these days half my rides are with one other person). My head is often up looking at the forests adjacent to the roads, farms, country houses, or whatever. The feeling I get riding along a trail on my gravel bike is very similar to riding solo or with a friend on a road ride. I've always viewed them as one and the same.

I don't discriminate against any form of cycling...we're all in this together! Triathletes? Hmmm
I raced on the road, MTB, and CX...then took a 15 year break from cycling. I got back on the bike about 4 years ago, and built back my fitness to a level where I can ride with my friends that didn't take a break from it. I have zero desire to race in the manner I used to, but still enjoy some of the local fast/competitive group rides in my area (which are often 100+ riders). The dynamics of these rides are a very different animal than casual/charity events. Learning to handle your bike at high speed, while putting out big watts, just inches away from the rider(s) next to you is a skill...and a thrill. I also enjoy moderate-paced tempo rides with a few friends, either on the road or in the dirt. Some days, riding solo is the therapy my brain needs. Currently, one of my favorite things is just being a "finisher" some of the big, organized gravel races in my area. Pushing the limits of my endurance over 5+ hours of varied and demanding terrain is a different challenge compared with my previous racing experiences, and I'm digging it.

I'm a bike rider. #rideallthebikes
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Old 08-24-23, 05:11 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
I raced on the road, MTB, and CX...then took a 15 year break from cycling. I got back on the bike about 4 years ago, and built back my fitness to a level where I can ride with my friends that didn't take a break from it. I have zero desire to race in the manner I used to, but still enjoy some of the local fast/competitive group rides in my area (which are often 100+ riders). The dynamics of these rides are a very different animal than casual/charity events. Learning to handle your bike at high speed, while putting out big watts, just inches away from the rider(s) next to you is a skill...and a thrill. I also enjoy moderate-paced tempo rides with a few friends, either on the road or in the dirt. Some days, riding solo is the therapy my brain needs. Currently, one of my favorite things is just being a "finisher" some of the big, organized gravel races in my area. Pushing the limits of my endurance over 5+ hours of varied and demanding terrain is a different challenge compared with my previous racing experiences, and I'm digging it.

I'm a bike rider. #rideallthebikes
I don't have the nerve! First time in a group along those lines was a charity ride with a lot of fast riders (our group was mid-pack, 28-32km hour avg). We had 4 days of 175-220km per day. First day I crossed wheels with someone 60km in and went down. Wasn't an enjoyable 160km ride to the finish! I love watching fast racing but know it's not for me. I'm too guarded, risk-adverse. I think my next thing (kiddy getting older, quick!) will be those big events and being a finisher. Nice to meet others and suffer/smile through it. I may even do some volunteering, which I've never done but look forward to.
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Old 08-24-23, 05:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Noonievut
I don't have the nerve! First time in a group along those lines was a charity ride with a lot of fast riders (our group was mid-pack, 28-32km hour avg). We had 4 days of 175-220km per day. First day I crossed wheels with someone 60km in and went down. Wasn't an enjoyable 160km ride to the finish! I love watching fast racing but know it's not for me. I'm too guarded, risk-adverse. I think my next thing (kiddy getting older, quick!) will be those big events and being a finisher. Nice to meet others and suffer/smile through it. I may even do some volunteering, which I've never done but look forward to.
As I said, riding in a tight and fast peloton is a skill. It's something you have to practice to be comfortable and confident with, and there's definitely a learning curve. Rule #1...ALWAYS protect your front wheel. Do not let it overlap the rear wheel of the bike in front of you (as you learned the hard way). Despite my comfort with it years past, I have had to re-learn that comfort/confidence level again as an older rider.
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Old 08-25-23, 03:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Thank you letting everyone know that you have no idea what you're talking about with regards to high-level road riding. No. Rolling along with a big group of strong riders at 30+mph is anything but boring. I guess it's one of those things that you have to experience to understand. An outside observer watching a group ride by doesn't see the constant action and flow of movement.
The stench of arrogance that wafted its way in here is a good reminder why I have that opinion. But don't let it get you up in a tizzy. I'm not saying you shouldn't like road cycling in a peloton. I'm saying a lot of former roadies like myself get bored or disillusioned after a long time and like this side of the sport better, and some don't. That's cool. If you wanna tell me this weird gravel ATB thing sucks compared to the A-group semi-pro sunday shop ride then feel free. I hope you understand that you can engage on this topic without resorting to personal attacks.

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Old 08-25-23, 03:43 PM
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I’ve recently met a number of riders that are mixing road, MUP / rail trails, and gravel - and they are having a blast
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Old 08-25-23, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by cellery
Hey that's not very cool you don't know me. I know what it's like to have someone hit your rear wheel at over 30mph when you're surrounded by like 30 other people. And for me it sucks compared to what I like to do now. That's my opinion of fast road group rides now, it just is. But don't let my opinion get you up in a tizzy. I'm not trying to say you shouldn't like road cycling in a peloton. I'm saying a lot of former roadies like myself get bored of it after a long time and like this side of the sport better, and some don't. That's cool. If you wanna tell me this weird gravel ATB thing sucks compared to the A-group semi-pro sunday shop ride then feel free.
The first sentence of what what you quoted above wasn't directed at you.

You asked if it's boring in a peloton. This is the kind of question that gets asked by someone who hasn't experienced it. Apparently, you know that it's not. I've been there and done that, too. Yes, I still enjoy a fast/competitive group rides as part of my cycling diet. Your response, however, jumps to the conclusion that I only do one kind of riding, and have disdain for anything else. If you read through the rest of my comments in this thread, you will see the actual picture. I love my road bike(s)...and my gravel bike...and my MTB...and my singlespeed MTB. I dislike the "us vs. them" animosity that I see between different groups of riders (most often, MTB'ers towards roadies). This "gawdamn lycra-wearing roadie" might very well be happily sharing the dirt with you tomorrow. #rideallthebikes

EDIT: My previous response to you was not intended to be insulting (which is different than the other person I quoted in the same post). My apologies if it came across that way.
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Old 08-25-23, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by t2p
Iíve recently met a number of riders that are mixing road, MUP / rail trails, and gravel - and they are having a blast
Frequently!
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Old 08-25-23, 04:27 PM
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Depending on direction, I can be on gravel in less than half a mile or two miles if I head west. I have the Rockhopper set up with Schwalbe Land Cruisers so it rolls good on pavement and is stable on rural dirt roads. Previous years I rode with a buddy. He got sucked into a writing project so I ride alone. On the dirt roads I will sometimes go several miles without meeting or being passed by a vehicle. Nice change from the 65-75 mph pavement I have to use to get there.
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Old 08-28-23, 11:52 AM
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I forgot how easily the butts get butthurt on this forum
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Old 08-28-23, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by Wspsux
I forgot how easily the butts get butthurt on this forum
Disparaging and divisive comments towards a type of riding that is different than what you prefer is simply unnecessary.
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Old 08-28-23, 12:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Eric F
Disparaging and divisive comments towards a type of riding that is different than what you prefer is simply unnecessary.
Well thats like your opinion, Man

Personally, I dont see anything wrong with sniffing butts. I guess you do.

This divisiveness really is unnecessary.
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