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Please help me understand gravel riding?

Old 09-13-20, 09:11 AM
  #26  
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Originally Posted by tomato coupe View Post
I didn't buy a gravel bike to ride slowly on a dirt road for a few miles. On my last outing, I covered 123 miles and topped out at 44 mph.

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Old 09-13-20, 09:38 AM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Riding gravel means you get to buy another bike.
This is the best answer and the one I suspect is reality for most folks.

Some of my favorite places to ride have a mixture of forest service gravel roads and rural paved roads. And that's true over much of rural America. Take a look at this Google map. The roads you see here are a mixture of gravel and paved. Perfect for a gravel bike.

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Old 09-13-20, 09:56 AM
  #28  
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Originally Posted by IGH_Only View Post
I get what gravel bikes are and what their purpose is (I think). And I get that some people live in areas (and driveways) where gravel is used for paving over dirt so they ride on gravel. What I'm confused about is that there appear to be people who ride specifically on gravel for enjoyment??? Is that correct? And if so, why?
If you think that people buy Gravel bikes specifically for riding on only gravel, then I think you do NOT in fact understand why most people buy them.

Everyone I know who has gotten a gravel bike has done so to ride a mix of pavement and gravel. These have replaced their road bikes, which most have now sold.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:01 AM
  #29  
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Where I live road cycling is a bit restrictive. Not many roads with smooth shoulders, or low traffic no-shoulder roads, and since there are not a lot of road cyclist, drivers are not as aware of cyclist as they should be. I can't change change that, even though I honestly would like to do more road cycling when the weather is bad, to just do a predicable workout outside, or to just have fun going fast.

Gravel on the other hand is totally unrestricted. I have a lot of fun planning out trips; it's kind of like a game to fit in certain roads, go through towns, past landmarks, etc. with stops at gas stations to re-supply, and grab a quick bite of real food maybe. The massive reduction in cars is also quite welcome, and while farmers are often puzzled to see cyclist out on gravel, they usually wave (how often do cars on the highway wave after you've held them up). It's just quiet out there too; I don't listen to music, or mess around with my phone while riding.

I also have to agree through that "gravel" seem to be a pretty big marketing thing now to sell bikes. Not necessarily a bad thing, but the image of the fearsome individualist with an epic beard and tattoos that goes where he wants, and does as he pleases as the face of gravel used in practically every gravel advert is comical. At the races and group rides, there's an awful lot of shaved legs, $5K+ bikes, and all the egos of roadies.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:02 AM
  #30  
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I don't understand gravel riding. I don't understood why I should pack up my bike, drive 20-30 miles to gravel roads, and go for a ride on a surface I'm more likely to crash on (even with gravel specific tires) and are the only roads I've actually been hit by other vehicles, when I can leave my driveway on my road bike and put in a 50 mile ride past lakes and farms and encounter less than 100 vehicles the whole time? It is more of a hassle than an enjoyable time to me.

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Old 09-13-20, 10:14 AM
  #31  
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Before I purchased a gravel bike, I would throw some gravel tires, with small knobs in center, knobby on outside, onto my steel touring bike. It weighed about 28 lbs as it has really beefy tubes and heavy and durable touring wheels. Plus it’s got bar-con shifters for reliability while touring. It’s a beast.

Meanwhile my carbon road bike (5 years old) will only take a 25mm tire, but it’s a nice 17 lbs.

My Topstone gravel weighs 22 lbs, so a nice compromise. It has disc brakes which are terrific, and as result of the clearance discs allows I can swap between wheels with 45mm gravel tires, and road wheels with 32mm tires. It’s a perfect all round bike whose weight is reasonable. Has 3 bottle cage positions, a top tube bolt on set, really good gearing and as result, I ride it about all the time.

So yes I’m happy for this style of bike.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:24 AM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
There are many great gravel routes in the Bay Area. Many include fire roads and singletrack which are best doe on a gravel bike. There are mixed-surface rides all over.

To the OP, many folks have also ridden drop bar skinny-tired bikes (CX, before gravel became a thing) on the same dirt roads and singletrack that they ride their gravel bikes on. Underbiking can be great fun and turn roads or trails that are ho hum on a MTB into routes that are more interesting.
This reminds me of the GCN video, suggesting that gravel bikes are becoming more popular because MTBs are so much more competent than they were 20 years ago that riding off road is now boring.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:33 AM
  #33  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post

Last year Gravel World's was asking for $100USD to ride. For 1 day. With NO support, no SAG, no wrenching. On open public roads. $100 got you a bib and a bit of swag, and that is it. Which is nuts. Dirty Kanza is worse.
to be fair, gravel worlds had some really well stocked rest stops with volunteers so it helped to have water refills and not have to carry as much food, and I believe that itís more of a fundraising thing for nonprofits vs enrichment like DK. That said, I agree that a lot of gravel events seem to be a bit of a cash grab.

living in eastern MA there isnít any gravel and roads are good for riding and have low speed limits, and Lincoln is definitely bad for road riding and itís exactly as you describe earlier. Having finally had my CX bike with me doing gravel worlds, it was nice to have such easy access to gravel roads from my in laws house. Although after I did gravel worlds I spent the rest of my time riding the Jamaica north/homestead trail, I didnít want to see another rolling gravel road for a bit lol
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Old 09-13-20, 10:35 AM
  #34  
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As recently as six months ago I swore I would be a pure roadie for life. Then came the lockdown. Then came the reopening and the drivers in my area not only forgot how to be courteous, but also became aggressive. I went gravel to escape them. Why this is in italics I can't say
I do it on a vintage road bike

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Old 09-13-20, 10:38 AM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by Mulberry20 View Post
In reality though, gravel biking is really boring.
Boring to you but fun for others...If you find gravel riding boring then don't do it.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:39 AM
  #36  
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I don't understand gravel riding. I don't understood why I should pack up my bike, drive 20-30 miles to gravel roads, .
You donít. You RIDE to the gravel roads.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:44 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
You donít. You RIDE to the gravel roads.
Depends on locale, of course.

Where I lived years ago, there simply were none within 80mi or so. Wasn't going to happen, riding 80+ miles and then doing 20+ miles on gravel, only to have 80mi return trip. And so, we'd pack up the bikes and travel.

Next spot I lived in, there were gravel and hard-pack roads everywhere, and very near to town. (Small towns can be great, that way.) No need to pack up the bikes to go anywhere. As you say: ride to the roads you want.

Where I live now, again there aren't many gravel and hard-pack roads nearby. So, travel to them is vital if there's to be any meaningful amount of riding done there, without getting tanked with the travel to and from.

Every place is different.
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Old 09-13-20, 10:49 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by seedsbelize View Post
... Why this is in italics I can't say
....
Italics is different! Different is good. Like riding on gravel.
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Old 09-13-20, 11:07 AM
  #39  
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A friend once said, "Some people build wagons and some people just hop on the wagons."

Gravel riding can be fun, though I haven't done it since I was 13 years old, on my 10 speed (2x5) Murray road bike. However, like everything else, it's a fad. Like, a while back EVERYONE was into cyclocross and that's all you heard about. Then, EVERYONE was into bike-packing and that was all you heard about. Now, EVERONE is into gravel and that's all you hear about. Tomorrow it will be something else...
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Old 09-13-20, 11:16 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by mrblue View Post
A friend once said, "Some people build wagons and some people just hop on the wagons."

Gravel riding can be fun, though I haven't done it since I was 13 years old, on my 10 speed (2x5) Murray road bike. However, like everything else, it's a fad. Like, a while back EVERYONE was into cyclocross and that's all you heard about. Then, EVERYONE was into bike-packing and that was all you heard about. Now, EVERONE is into gravel and that's all you hear about. Tomorrow it will be something else...
My take on 'fads' is this - things that are good, and fun, are still good and fun whether or not they're popular. If gravel riding is fun, it will still be fun when the fad moves on. Fads just expose you to possibilities you might not have considered.
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Old 09-13-20, 11:16 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
It's a crazy long lasting fad then. I was a latecomer and have only been doing it for 20+ years. Lots of folks were doing long before I started.
I totally agree with you but it hasn't been until the last couple of years that people have been embracing it to the point where we actually have gravel-specific bikes and components. And people I know talk about getting an actual "gravel" bike.
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Old 09-13-20, 11:17 AM
  #42  
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Originally Posted by genejockey View Post
My take on 'fads' is this - things that are good, and fun, are still good and fun whether or not they're popular. If gravel riding is fun, it will still be fun when the fad moves on. Fads just expose you to possibilities you might not have considered.
Totally true!
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Old 09-13-20, 11:30 AM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by HD3andMe View Post
Fads, by definition, are short-lived.

Has gravel riding been short-lived?
I would say, the act of gravel riding in and of itself, no. It has not been short lived. However, the latest trend/campaign by the cycling industry to market gravel-riding to the masses (in order for manufacturers to remain relevant and move more units, which is the fad I am referring to) and its longevity is yet to be determined.

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Old 09-13-20, 12:07 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by wolfchild View Post
Riding on gravel and dirt for recreation has been around for a long time. Only a troll would ask a question why people do it. It's obvious that OP and some other posters feel bothered by how and where other people choose to ride and he is just trying to stir things up.

First off, even if it has been around for a while, what makes you think I have been following biking for a while. Before 2 months my last experience on a bike apart from a couple of random short lived rides, was an an early teen riding my BMX bike in the 1980s so I don't understand a lot of cycling lingo and what not.

I appreciated everyone's response, especially those who posted pictures. What I had in mind was a different thing altogether.
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Old 09-13-20, 12:29 PM
  #45  
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Originally Posted by RGMN View Post
I don't understand gravel riding. I don't understood why I should pack up my bike, drive 20-30 miles to gravel roads, and go for a ride on a surface I'm more likely to crash on (even with gravel specific tires) and are the only roads I've actually been hit by other vehicles, when I can leave my driveway on my road bike and put in a 50 mile ride past lakes and farms and encounter less than 100 vehicles the whole time? It is more of a hassle than an enjoyable time to me.
Some of us don't live where you live.
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Old 09-13-20, 12:29 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by mrblue View Post
I would say, the act of gravel riding in and of itself, no. It has not been short lived. However, the latest trend/campaign by the cycling industry to market gravel-riding to the masses (in order for manufacturers to remain relevant and move more units, which is the fad I am referring to) and its longevity is yet to be determined.
I don't know what the future of the marketing is, but the bikes themselves I think are here to stay for a while, and are going to take a decently sized bite out of the pavement-only road bikes as many people realize that a more versatile bike like many of the Gravel offerings are way more useful than the pavement-specific niche bikes that have been pushed on us for so long.

Gravel bikes are what Road bikes should have been all along.
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Old 09-13-20, 12:30 PM
  #47  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
Some of us don't live where you live.
Thats crazy talk
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Old 09-13-20, 01:02 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I don't know what the future of the marketing is, but the bikes themselves I think are here to stay for a while, and are going to take a decently sized bite out of the pavement-only road bikes as many people realize that a more versatile bike like many of the Gravel offerings are way more useful than the pavement-specific niche bikes that have been pushed on us for so long.

Gravel bikes are what Road bikes should have been all along.
I'd sooner say...'gravel bikes' are what 'road bikes' used to be--before 'road bike' came to mean 'exclusively paved road racing bike'. Hence why '700C' ends with a 'C'; and there used to be 700A, B, C, D, and E versions. These things ebb and flow.

I suspect that is part of the popularity of 'gravel racing'. It is a throwback to the Hard Man days of the 1900s where it was a lunatic alone on his bike trying to rough it through a ride....without a Team Car and Team Mechanics there to replace his entire bike at an radio askance instantaneously because it got a flat or a dropped chain--and a million-dollar Team Bus to whisk the racer to his Team Hotel afterward to get a spa treatment from the Team Masseuse and a prepared Team Dinner catered by the Team Cook that was formulated by the Team Nutritionist.

Of course...all that is shifting with UCI Pro Teams wanting to invade major events like DK200.
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Old 09-13-20, 01:03 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by Kapusta View Post
I don't know what the future of the marketing is, but the bikes themselves I think are here to stay for a while, and are going to take a decently sized bite out of the pavement-only road bikes as many people realize that a more versatile bike like many of the Gravel offerings are way more useful than the pavement-specific niche bikes that have been pushed on us for so long.

Gravel bikes are what Road bikes should have been all along.
I would say it's all subjective. For me, a gravel bike is more of a niche bike. Why? Because for me to get to any gravel roads would probably take more effort than I want to put into it. It's easier for me to just step out my front door and do a road ride. However, when the time comes (and I can convince my wife) to leave this suburban Hell-hole I will probably live in a place where a gravel-specific bike would make more sense.

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Old 09-13-20, 01:22 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Marcus_Ti View Post
I'd sooner say...'gravel bikes' are what 'road bikes' used to be--before 'road bike' came to mean 'exclusively paved road racing bike'.
I completely agree.
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