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More Gravel Adventure!!

Old 03-31-18, 09:42 AM
  #1  
jppe
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More Gravel Adventure!!

I'm REALLY enjoying riding the new gravel bike and all the different roads it takes me into some pretty remote areas of NC. Most of the remaining dirt & gravel roads in Western NC are in the hills and mountains. So, every ride I've done (except for the New River Trail in VA) has involved a good bit of climbing.

Yesterday was no different doing a ride out of Love Valley. My friends gave me even more dirt roads to rides and they didn't disappoint. My descending skills are much better now. I was really way too tense descending and it helps to just let the bike go. Getting the tire pressure is critical as well. I think I've found the sweet spot with my 35 mm Kenda Happy Mediums and when these wear out I'll look at getting some 40's.

Who else is enjoying riding gravel roads?

Here are a few photos from yesterday's 61 miler with 6500' of climbing. A pretty big ride on mostly dirt and gravel. You can really get a heck of a workout doing these roads.

The start and finish

IMG_0817 by joe price, on Flickr

Peach trees were in full blossom. There are lots of peach and apple orchards in this area

image4 by joe price, on Flickr

image5 by joe price, on Flickr

A nice distance view (looking east) near the top of one of the longer dirt climbs

image7 by joe price, on Flickr

A really old homeplace way off main roads on another dirt road. Would love to know the history of this old farm

image6 by joe price, on Flickr

I needed to share the dirt roads with lots of horse riders the last few miles. I eased by so as to not spook any horses. Apparently this was a big weekend for horse back riding in the area.

image3 by joe price, on Flickr

Some of the stats

image2 by joe price, on Flickr

image1 by joe price, on Flickr
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Old 03-31-18, 03:22 PM
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While I'm happier on pavement, I have ridden some gravel/dirt roads on my Charge Plug (adventure bike/semi-touring) with 700x38s which I think is the practical size limit with fenders on this bike. I much prefer gravel on my 26-inch MTB, and not because of the straight-bars...I prefer my road-bars; but my MTB allows wider tires. In past non-winter months I have run everything from aggressively-treaded 26x2.00 dirt tires, to 1.5 smoothies, and for me, a pair of 26x1.75 hybrid street/dirt tires was the most enjoyable on dirt/gravel. They had a smooth center section for the road, with knobby "shoulders" for dirt. The volume of the tires provided some cushioning over the rough stuff. Since I mostly commute on pavement I found the loss of grip while cornering disconcerting, but on dirt and gravel the "shoulder-knobs" worked great. I don't know if hybrid knobbies are looked kindly upon, but they worked for me.

I suppose if I could find a drop-bar gravel/adventure bike that could wear 700x45 hybrid street/dirt tires I'd enjoy gravel riding more.

FWIW I have ridden a fat bike with what were at least 4" tires (and most likely wider). Aside from the novelty of riding over parking risers and up a curb, gravel embankment, across a roadway and down some loose flagstone without missing a beat, it was not the "carving up a road" feeling that I prefer and keeps me on the road (well, that and the fact I mostly commute).
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Old 03-31-18, 06:05 PM
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Awesome country
Great pics

What the temps° there?
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Old 03-31-18, 08:30 PM
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That's a fair amount of climbing for 60 miles
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Old 03-31-18, 09:11 PM
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Awesome ride
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Old 03-31-18, 10:42 PM
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Great ride! I'm riding gravel more than anything else these days. Riding for hours and only seeing a few cars is addictive!
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Old 04-01-18, 03:59 AM
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Originally Posted by BobbyG View Post
I suppose if I could find a drop-bar gravel/adventure bike that could wear 700x45 hybrid street/dirt tires I'd enjoy gravel riding ).
My Lynskey can handle 45s and am seeing how wider can be better for ride comfort and handling.
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Old 04-01-18, 06:51 PM
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That's a big ride you did! Haven't heard of Love Valley in years.

I sold my mtn bike last fall (Specialized Rockhopper, 29-er hardtail) and bought a steel touring bike. I had about quit mtn biking. I've done a couple rides over gravel here in the mtns with the touring bike and riding and descending particularly, was not a problem. I was pretty comfortable but probably the best thing I did for this type of riding was the previous mtn biking. The biggest thing I have to remember to be aware of is, I forget I don't have those big tires and front shocks any longer so rather than just bounce on over at speed, I have to slow down on the touring bike.
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Old 04-03-18, 06:44 PM
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Nice photos, got to love Western NC!
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Old 04-04-18, 01:55 AM
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Most of my rides these days are half and half.

Its pretty cool riding some back roads/trails and coming across things.

Google Earth is a great tool for this.
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Old 04-04-18, 10:48 AM
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FYI, an organized weekend ride planned for October Gravel ? Cycle Oregon (NFI)
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Old 04-09-18, 08:43 AM
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Looks like a great area for gravel road exploring.

The selection of gravel tires has exploded in the last two years. See: Wiki list of Gravel tires

My current favorite is the Vittoria Terreno Dry.
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Old 04-09-18, 01:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
Looks like a great area for gravel road exploring.

The selection of gravel tires has exploded in the last two years. See: Wiki list of Gravel tires

My current favorite is the Vittoria Terreno Dry.
Great thread for tire reviews from actual riders.....
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Old 04-17-18, 06:49 PM
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Good stuff! When we lived in NJ north of Princeton, there were lots of gravel options. I rode in the Hell of Hunterdon a couple of times. They've moved the start location to the VFW hall right around the corner from our old house - I see my buddy's house and our old driveway on Hollow Rd. I probably rode up that hill a million times. I miss riding in NJ but sure don't miss NJ.


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Old 04-28-19, 05:58 PM
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Dairy Roubaix 2019

Dairy Roubaix 2019
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Old 04-29-19, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Hydrate View Post
Dairy Roubaix 2019
https://youtu.be/Bp_JeY8EfEs

Looked like fun. Nice hill at 2:10!
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Old 04-29-19, 03:11 PM
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I used to hate riding anything off pavement, but I'm learning to enjoy it. I'm still more comfortable riding gravel solo, but I'm going to try some no-racing group gravel events. I've done a few 30-40 mile solo gravel rides this year, and am ready to tackle a metric century.

For gravel rides I prefer my old Univega Via Carisma, a nice flexible frame and fork to soak up rough stuff, and Continental Speed Ride tires for mostly dry gravel/grass. Speed Rides are both good and cheap, a rare combination. They're nominally 700x42 but measure closer to 700x38. Comfy, stable and smooth rolling around 50 psi (I weigh 155), no problems with pinch flats, etc. Occasionally I'll run the front a bit lower.

At the moment I have Nitto albatross bars on the Univega, which are remarkably versatile and feel fine for gravel. But I'm considering trying a dirt drop conversion, although I'm not sure it's worth the expense of switching to the correct brake levers to work with my old cantilever brakes. The bike works well enough as-is, and I'm not racing or riding with a fast group.
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Old 04-30-19, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by shelbyfv View Post
That's a fair amount of climbing for 60 miles
Yep.
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Old 05-01-19, 11:04 AM
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I've been trying to incorporate more unpaved surfaces into my unsupported tours. Scheduled to head to Missoula on June 15th for a two-week loop in MT and ID. The planned route has several sections of unpaved roads and trails, including a 15 mile climb with 3,100' of elevation gain from St. Regis, MT to the ID border. Once you cross the border, the road becomes paved for the pretty descent. Also part of the route are the Route of the Hiawatha and NorPac Trails. Other unpaved stretches planned as well.
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Old 05-05-19, 09:21 AM
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I've been getting into gravel these days. Some good opportunities here in North Georgia within an hour or two from home. I've got buddies that race the stuff, but short of the odd gravel fondo, mostly I ride for the adventure of it. Often I connect things together with singletrack and short bits of hike-a-bike. My favorite place to ride is on a remote gravel road, under a forest canopy and along side a tumbling mountain stream that is boarded by rhododendron.
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Old 05-05-19, 09:52 AM
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I started with mountain bikes back in the 90s then did some road riding. I still MTB but on tamer trails at this stage I don’t need any more orthopedic operations I find gravel riding to be a good balance you get to see some neat stuff on the backroads and the traffic is light. It is perfect where I live since I have a gravel driveway and access to gravel and back roads right from the garage. The gravel bike is stouter though a bit slower than a dedicated road bike but that doesn’t concern me I still get a great workout on the gravel grinder. Most routes I ride have a mixture of tarmac and gravel and this style suits both well.
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Old 05-05-19, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by IronM View Post
I've been getting into gravel these days. Some good opportunities here in North Georgia within an hour or two from home. I've got buddies that race the stuff, but short of the odd gravel fondo, mostly I ride for the adventure of it. Often I connect things together with singletrack and short bits of hike-a-bike. My favorite place to ride is on a remote gravel road, under a forest canopy and along side a tumbling mountain stream that is boarded by rhododendron.

You’d enjoy these roads!
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Old 05-09-19, 09:14 AM
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More impressed with a 5 hour ride and still have 52% battery life left on the garmin.
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Old 05-21-19, 09:49 PM
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We have so few gravel roads in these parts, however in anticipation of riding elsewhere we got gravel bikes this year. This weekend was the first opportunity to ride them off pavement. It was a mixed ride with gravel trails and paved road, and every time we found pavement we'd go "Weeeeeee".
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