Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
Reload this Page >

So what is gravel grinding???

Notices
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.

So what is gravel grinding???

Old 02-19-15, 12:37 PM
  #1  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
VeloCross's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 14

Bikes: 2009 Cannondale Caad 8, 2012 Bianchi Iseo

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
So what is gravel grinding???

Total noob question, I know. Just moved to PNW last year and got dragged to this bike racing even named cyclocross by my friend. Next thing I know I'm riding my road bike a ton and looking at cross bikes online patiently waiting until aug/sep. I just found this forum and I'm even more of a noob to what gravel grinding is, but it looks amazing. Longer distance cyclocross racing or something? I get nervous about road racing due to massive sprint finishes and aggressive peleton riders, but gravel races look similar but with the pack getting spread out a bit and finishes having a few ppl at a time vs. 30 guys who think they will win. Any direction I can go to find out more about gravel cycling???
VeloCross is offline  
Old 02-19-15, 04:57 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
Andy_K's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Beaverton, OR
Posts: 14,859

Bikes: Yes

Liked 4,092 Times in 1,515 Posts
You should ask about this on the OBRA site. You'll find people there who can tell you more about the local gravel races. I haven't done a gravel race, but from the reports I've heard it sounds like the pack gets spread out the way you describe. I definitely wouldn't compare it to a cross race though. No barriers, no grass and too long for full gas intensity.

The thing is, gravel grinding is a pretty broad term and gravel racing is just a small corner of the gravel grinding scene. You just missed (or maybe didn't miss, for all I know) a great gravel ride in the Salem area. That was just a bunch of people going out and riding gravel roads together. A bunch of people rode it fast. A bunch rode it slow. All had fun. There's another ride like that next month, the Dalles Mountain 60. It's two weeks before the Gorge Roubaix, which has both racing and non-racing option, so you can get your feet wet before diving in.

Of course, the other thing you can do is just go out exploring. There are a lot of gravel roads out near the Gorge. Closer to Portland everything gets paved but you can find some good gravel roads not too far away.
__________________
My Bikes
Andy_K is offline  
Old 02-19-15, 05:09 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2014
Posts: 187

Bikes: Pinarello Veneto

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
that is from 50 Shades of Grey.
Lone is offline  
Old 02-20-15, 05:59 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Jiggle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere in TX
Posts: 2,266

Bikes: BH, Cervelo, Cube, Canyon

Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
It's an event where organizers charge you money for the privilege of riding on unmarked non-roads with no support.
Jiggle is offline  
Old 02-20-15, 06:33 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
mobilemail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Gateway to the West
Posts: 821

Bikes: You mean this week?

Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 21 Posts
I have seen parts of Nebraska and IL where it's just the new name for "going for a bike ride", because paved roads were few and far between. I wonder if the locals laugh and joke about our "newfound sport".
mobilemail is offline  
Old 02-20-15, 07:35 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Show-Me State
Posts: 397
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
To me, it is simply riding gravel roads on purpose, either in a race, group, recreational event, or (like most of my rides are), solo.

As a kid, I lived on a gravel road in the country, so all of my riding was "gravel grinding", though at 13 I was envious of my friends who lived on paved roads with faster riding. Now I drive 30 minutes to ride on gravel roads - the lack of traffic and great scenery make it very enjoyable, and I prefer it to riding on pavement.
DirtRoadRunner is offline  
Old 02-21-15, 12:53 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 949
Liked 266 Times in 129 Posts
It's between road and mountain biking. But who really cares what anyone says or thinks, try riding a gravel road with whatever bike you have, drop the tire pressure if it's a road bike, see how you like it.
Noonievut is offline  
Old 02-21-15, 01:01 PM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
mobilemail's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Gateway to the West
Posts: 821

Bikes: You mean this week?

Likes: 0
Liked 30 Times in 21 Posts
They used to call it touring, but nobody was in a hurry.
mobilemail is offline  
Old 02-22-15, 09:30 PM
  #9  
Junior Member
Thread Starter
 
VeloCross's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2015
Posts: 14

Bikes: 2009 Cannondale Caad 8, 2012 Bianchi Iseo

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by Andy_K
You should ask about this on the OBRA site. You'll find people there who can tell you more about the local gravel races. I haven't done a gravel race, but from the reports I've heard it sounds like the pack gets spread out the way you describe. I definitely wouldn't compare it to a cross race though. No barriers, no grass and too long for full gas intensity.

The thing is, gravel grinding is a pretty broad term and gravel racing is just a small corner of the gravel grinding scene. You just missed (or maybe didn't miss, for all I know) a great gravel ride in the Salem area. That was just a bunch of people going out and riding gravel roads together. A bunch of people rode it fast. A bunch rode it slow. All had fun. There's another ride like that next month, the Dalles Mountain 60. It's two weeks before the Gorge Roubaix, which has both racing and non-racing option, so you can get your feet wet before diving in.

Of course, the other thing you can do is just go out exploring. There are a lot of gravel roads out near the Gorge. Closer to Portland everything gets paved but you can find some good gravel roads not too far away.
oh wow, thanks for the info! I didnt even realize that there were tht many races/gravel events. I like the whole "ride it fast, ride it slow but have fun" attitude.
VeloCross is offline  
Old 02-24-15, 12:25 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
GravelMN's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Rural Minnesota
Posts: 1,604
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
Originally Posted by Jiggle
It's an event where organizers charge you money for the privilege of riding on unmarked non-roads with no support.
In my area (ND and MN) the vast majority of these rides are free. Support is minimal but there are usually maps (paper or upload to your device of choice) and/or que sheets and at least a few rest stops, often in the form of small town convenience stores. Often there is some kind of meal waiting at the end. As these grow in popularity, LBSs and sales reps are jumping on the bandwagon and I've seen some nice door prizes in a sport where the awards are usually hand made out of spare bike parts.
GravelMN is offline  
Old 02-24-15, 07:49 AM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Jiggle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Somewhere in TX
Posts: 2,266

Bikes: BH, Cervelo, Cube, Canyon

Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by GravelMN
In my area (ND and MN) the vast majority of these rides are free. Support is minimal but there are usually maps (paper or upload to your device of choice) and/or que sheets and at least a few rest stops, often in the form of small town convenience stores. Often there is some kind of meal waiting at the end. As these grow in popularity, LBSs and sales reps are jumping on the bandwagon and I've seen some nice door prizes in a sport where the awards are usually hand made out of spare bike parts.
Lucky!

Here's an event in Texas. Castell Grind: HOME

60 miles, $60, no road markings, support, or even rest stops with little fruits.

Not much public land in Texas. But at least the course should be marked.
Jiggle is offline  
Old 02-24-15, 10:10 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
GravelMN's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Rural Minnesota
Posts: 1,604
Likes: 0
Liked 2 Times in 2 Posts
The Woodchipper 100, the Hawley Hills Half and Hundred and the Innuendo 200 are all right in my backyard and all are free. Looking at last year's calendar from around the area, about half of the rides are free and some of the others are in the $20-$35 range and include food and/or a t-shirt. There are some that cost considerably more. I highly recommend Hawley which had it inaugural ride last summer. Great mix of rolling hills, sandy double track and a couple sections that barely qualified as trails. Great door prizes and a hot meal hosted by a local church are all part of the deal and it takes place during a community festival.
GravelMN is offline  
Old 03-02-15, 10:51 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
GravelGuy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2014
Location: MidWest USA
Posts: 82

Bikes: Colnago Super, Giant, Waterford X11, Look 785 Huez, Merlin Titanium, in past times...Gitane Super Corsa, Ron Stout, Ciocc San Cristabal, Ciocc CX, Colnago Master, Pogliaghi TT, Crescent

Likes: 0
Liked 9 Times in 4 Posts


This is
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
DirtyKanza.jpg (99.4 KB, 44 views)
GravelGuy is offline  
Old 03-02-15, 11:11 AM
  #14  
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Driftlessburg, WI
Posts: 144

Bikes: 1989 Greg LeMond Le Vanquer, 2005 LeMond Zurich, 2010 LHT, Marlboro Fuji Folder

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
I'll be riding this again in April. Fairly tough ride on back roads through the Driftless region of Wisconsin. Very relaxed and low key. Pay what you want.

Dairy Roubaix 2015 - 4/18/2015
curlyque is offline  
Old 03-02-15, 11:19 AM
  #15  
working on my sandal tan
 
ThermionicScott's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: CID
Posts: 22,649

Bikes: 1991 Bianchi Eros, 1964 Armstrong, 1988 Diamondback Ascent, 1988 Bianchi Premio, 1987 Bianchi Sport SX, 1980s Raleigh mixte (hers), All-City Space Horse (hers)

Liked 2,579 Times in 1,586 Posts
The essential definition is: Seeking out gravel/low-maintenance roads to ride on as opposed to paved roads -- much akin to "underbiking." If you want to race, and/or pay money for the "privilege" of doing it, that's optional.
__________________
Originally Posted by chandltp
There's no such thing as too far.. just lack of time
Originally Posted by noglider
People in this forum are not typical.
RUSA #7498
ThermionicScott is offline  
Old 03-02-15, 11:42 AM
  #16  
meh
 
Hypno Toad's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2014
Location: Hopkins, MN
Posts: 4,705

Bikes: 23 Cutthroat, 21 CoMotion Java; 21 Bianchi Infinito; 15 Surly Pugsley; 11 Globe Daily; 09 Kona Dew Drop; 96 Mondonico

Liked 1,013 Times in 519 Posts
Originally Posted by GravelMN
The Woodchipper 100, the Hawley Hills Half and Hundred and the Innuendo 200 are all right in my backyard and all are free. Looking at last year's calendar from around the area, about half of the rides are free and some of the others are in the $20-$35 range and include food and/or a t-shirt. There are some that cost considerably more. I highly recommend Hawley which had it inaugural ride last summer. Great mix of rolling hills, sandy double track and a couple sections that barely qualified as trails. Great door prizes and a hot meal hosted by a local church are all part of the deal and it takes place during a community festival.
Westside Dirty Benjamin - free, great fun!
Almanzo 100 - free, much smaller event for 2015 vs previous years
Miesville FiftySix - Free, wife will join me on this one, planning to ride fatbikes

You can race, you can tour... either way you should have fun; or you're just doing it wrong. Last years Westside Dirty Benjamin, there was not pack, most riders turned back after the pouring rain and 40 mph winds (60 mph gusts), wimps.
Hypno Toad is offline  
Old 03-02-15, 12:33 PM
  #17  
Banned
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: NW,Oregon Coast
Posts: 43,598

Bikes: 8

Liked 1,360 Times in 866 Posts
It used to be what you did on the farm where roads were just Gravel .. Now its a new thing with its own bike Niche

to oneupsmanship each other on the bikes bought , and someone has created an Event to meet up and do.

and you ride over gravel farm Roads in the big mid west farm country where the Gravel Side Roads are .

around here they're Logging roads and they go up hills rather steeply.
fietsbob is offline  
Old 03-02-15, 12:56 PM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Tim_Iowa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2013
Location: Cedar Rapids, IA
Posts: 1,643

Bikes: 1997 Rivendell Road Standard 650b conversion (tourer), 1988 Schwinn Project KOM-10 (gravel/tour), 2013 Foundry Auger disc (CX/gravel), 2016 Cannondale Fat CAAD 2 (MTB/winter), 2011 Cannondale Flash 29er Lefty (trail MTB)

Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Gravel grinding is just riding on gravel roads, with an alliterative term.
Gravel racing is whole 'nother thing that I don't know about; I don't race.

Why gravel?
As the others have said, lots of places have mostly gravel, so that's just what you ride. Personally, I seek out gravel because there are way less cars (and those you meet are slower and usually more congenial), the roads are more curvy and interesting, and the sights are further away from the city.

Gravel bike?
I find that you can ride just about any kind of bike on gravel.

The concept of a specialist "gravel bike" seems like a very fine niche, however it seems like the "gravel bikes" the big manufacturers are making are basically a cyclocross bike with a bit more relaxed, endurance-oriented geometry. Not as racy as a cross bike, because cross races are 45 minutes and a gravel ride can go for days. Lighter than a touring bike, they're basically what was called a "sport tourer" back in the day; something with medium tires and provisions for a light tour, but modern components and materials. Sounds like a great, versatile bike! The smaller makers don't usually use the "gravel bike" name, but go for "forest explorer, all-rounder, any road" type terms. Same concept.

However, one doesn't need a specialized "gravel bike" to ride gravel. Skinny 23 mm tires don't do well, but I've seen folks pull it off. The minimal tire width for comfort seems to be "cyclocross" size, about 32 mm.

My gravel bikes are a steel Rivendell Road I converted to 650x38b tires, a vintage rigid steel Schwinn MTB (converted to drop bars), and my fat bike.
I can ride gravel about 95% as fast (with roughly the same effort) as pavement on my 1.5" and 2.1" tires (38 mm and 55 mm, respectively). I prefer wider/softer tires than the minimum 32mm, for the larger lime rock that they use around eastern IA.
The fat bike is more effort regardless of surface, but is a monster for snow or off-road. Plowed gravel is an awesome winter surface, btw. Ride groomed (gravel)!

I found a small local club and we do regular weekly rides on rural gravel and B-roads (was gravel once, now un-maintained). You can pay for events if you want, but I suggest just finding some back roads and going for a ride.
Tim_Iowa is offline  
Old 03-03-15, 07:23 AM
  #19  
Banned.
 
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Driftlessburg, WI
Posts: 144

Bikes: 1989 Greg LeMond Le Vanquer, 2005 LeMond Zurich, 2010 LHT, Marlboro Fuji Folder

Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
Originally Posted by curlyque
I'll be riding this again in April. Fairly tough ride on back roads through the Driftless region of Wisconsin. Very relaxed and low key. Pay what you want.

Dairy Roubaix 2015 - 4/18/2015
  • Skankingbiker I don't qualify to reply to your private message.....to answer your question I rode the 54miler.. mostly hard packed.. some loose gravel that you can maneuver around... occasional washboard and ruts.. and plenty of paved stretches......I rode it with 26x1.85 commuter tires
curlyque is offline  
Old 03-03-15, 08:57 PM
  #20  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Posts: 10
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
It sure looks that way.
Melissa Davis is offline  
Old 03-03-15, 09:28 PM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
southpawboston's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Somerville, MA and Catskill Mtns
Posts: 4,134
Liked 182 Times in 89 Posts
Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa
Gravel grinding is just riding on gravel roads, with an alliterative term.
Gravel racing is whole 'nother thing that I don't know about; I don't race.

Why gravel?
As the others have said, lots of places have mostly gravel, so that's just what you ride. Personally, I seek out gravel because there are way less cars (and those you meet are slower and usually more congenial), the roads are more curvy and interesting, and the sights are further away from the city.
This pretty much nails it. I 'grind gravel' because I grew up on a gravel road in mountainous farmland. For me gravel roads will always be associated with that. Mostly, the gravel routes that I ride (MA/NH/VT/NY) remind me of where I grew up. I can spend a day on the bike and spend so little of that time dealing with vehicles. The sights and sounds are always interesting and the air is clean.

For me the ideal bike for gravel is a fast, comfortable road bike that can take fat tires (35-42mm). My two gravel bikes are built for 650B wheels and ride on 650x42B tires.
southpawboston is offline  
Old 03-06-15, 07:17 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
ricohman's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Saskatchewan
Posts: 2,465
Likes: 0
Liked 6 Times in 5 Posts
Gravel "grinding" makes me laugh.
Since I grew up without paved roads, I guess I was "grinding gravel" every ride. Even when I was on my tricycle.
ricohman is offline  
Related Topics
Thread
Thread Starter
Forum
Replies
Last Post
advrace
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
18
03-27-17 08:38 AM
bennybenny
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing
13
09-13-16 09:19 AM
Yep
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing
21
03-14-15 06:54 AM
9five9
Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational)
2
01-04-15 08:51 PM
Randy5040
"The 33"-Road Bike Racing
49
05-03-10 12:06 PM

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.