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Tried Riding Gravel ... Meh

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Tried Riding Gravel ... Meh

Old 02-18-20, 01:24 PM
  #26  
Rides4Beer
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Originally Posted by UsedToBeFaster View Post
I just bought 30 TPI tires which I run at 60 PSI. Will dropping to 40 really make a difference? I also wonder whether a higher TPI tire will help.

Rides4Beer Totally agree. The lack of traffic is a huge plus.
caloso I see your in the Sacrmanto area. I am there for work and did these rides on the West Sacramento Levees (River Rd). I did notice there are some "forest" trails along the American River Bike Trail but it seems most are off limits to cyclists (limited to horses and hikers). Any suggestions for forest style trails in your area?

Thanks!
Can't speak to tubes at lower pressures, since I've only ever run tubeless on gravel. If you can drop the pressure without pinch flatting, it'll def help, tubeless would be even better.

I ride gravel like this at high speeds with no issues at 38psi, totally comfortable.

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Old 02-18-20, 01:30 PM
  #27  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
Except burn scars. Those are beautiful.
I remember climbing Sherman Pass in WA for the first time and stopping at an old burn area from a large fire. There were interpretive board explaining the benefits of fires. Burning away the old trees allows new ones to start growing. The new vegetation that springs up from the no longer canopy covered ground provides food for creatures such as deer. And woodpeckers and other types of birds thrive off the insects that that set up home in the brunt trees. Pretty neat. Neat enough that I stopped in a light snow to check it out.
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Old 02-18-20, 01:44 PM
  #28  
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fwiw - on my MTB w 2.25" tires I run 21 psi front 25 psi rear w/ tubes
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Old 02-18-20, 04:49 PM
  #29  
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Gravel riding is a lot like mtb. The bike logs most of its miles in or on your car or truck. There is no gravel where I live, unless folks are calling mtb trails gravel. You might find a short stretch somewhere, off a paved road, but it won't be very long and may be a private path to someone's home, where you are not welcome.
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Old 02-18-20, 05:42 PM
  #30  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Like it or not, gravel is an ambiguous term - what you describe as "actual gravel" is no more of a standard than a dozen others. Aggregate size and uniformity as well as composition will vary from region to region and application to application.

Around here, the most common would be limestone Class 5 gravel. Class 5 has chunks up to ~1" along with smaller stuff that serves as a binder and will eventually pack down well. Limestone is sedimentary and the bigger chunks will break down the more it's traveled upon. It can be exceptionally smooth and fast, but you'll also hit washboard sections and plenty of loose stuff.

Any gravel without a sufficient binder, like what you describe, is a pain in the ass.
I can get behind that. It's when people call a dirt road with no rocks at all gravel that I have to scratch my head.
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Old 02-18-20, 05:49 PM
  #31  
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Originally Posted by WhyFi View Post
Schwalbe G-One Allround.
Some friends have started doing gravel type rides and I was thinking about putting some fatter tires on an old touring bike I have and joining them to see if I like it.

Do the All Around type tires wear faster when you ride them on the road? I was thinking of trying some regular road tires on the dirt. I've ridden my road bikes on dirt on 23s before.
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Old 02-18-20, 05:52 PM
  #32  
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Originally Posted by DaveSSS View Post
Gravel riding is a lot like mtb. The bike logs most of its miles in or on your car or truck. There is no gravel where I live, unless folks are calling mtb trails gravel. You might find a short stretch somewhere, off a paved road, but it won't be very long and may be a private path to someone's home, where you are not welcome.
I hate driving bikes; but, I do drive my bikes to gravel rides and races, OTOH I'm a huge fan of riding to/from races. I'll ride 20 miles (each way) the Westside Dirty Benjamin (100 mile race), and ride 10 miles (each way) to Gravel West (75 mile race). I also car-pool with buddies (4 bikes and riders in my rig). I also ride 6 miles to get to the nearest single-track trails - that's what I did today to ride some fresh snow at Theo in Mpls.

That said, nearly every gravel race has an issue with parking, most people will not ride to the race or car-pool.
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Old 02-18-20, 06:07 PM
  #33  
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Gravel is a loose aggregation of rock fragments. Gravel is classified by particle size. ISO 14688 grades gravels as:
fine - 2 mm to 6.3 mm
medium - 6.3 mm to 20 mm
coarse - 20 mm to 63 mm
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Old 02-19-20, 06:51 AM
  #34  
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Old 02-19-20, 07:18 AM
  #35  
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15 miles. 3,300' of elevation gain. Four vehicles.

Former Milwaukee Road right of way outside of Avery, ID.
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Old 02-19-20, 07:47 AM
  #36  
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Gravel bikes may work on really smooth and compacted trails. Anything more than that and you need an MTB to have a decent comfort.

I don't know of any single trail that is as smooth as the ones pictured here that falls less than a hundred km from my house. No gravel for me.
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Old 02-19-20, 08:11 AM
  #37  
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Gravel bikes may work on really smooth and compacted trails. Anything more than that and you need an MTB to have a decent comfort.
I don't know of any single trail that is as smooth as the ones pictured here that falls less than a hundred km from my house. No gravel for me.
Pretty sure its different for everyone. For YOU, a gravel bike would only work on really smooth and compacted trails. But for others, many others, a gravel road bike works well on...gravel roads. Many do quite fine riding on gravel roads and not just smooth trails.

Geography is for sure a consideration- if someone lives in a large metro, there may not be much need/use for a gravel bike. If someone lives in an area with no gravel roads and only has access to ungraded trails, then there may not be much need/use for a gravel bike. I live in a state with over70,000mi of gravel roads and only 3million people. Many can throw a rock off their porch and hit...more rocks on the road out front.
A lot of interest is geographic.
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Old 02-19-20, 08:30 AM
  #38  
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Gravel bikes may work on really smooth and compacted trails. Anything more than that and you need an MTB to have a decent comfort.
I wasn't riding a MTB in any of my shots. Neither was my companion. I was on a Surly LHT with full cooking and camping gear. My companion rode the same bike pulling that trailer. Comfort was decent enough most times. Rockier and wasboardy sections were a bit of a pain, but worth it. The nice thing about riding on extremely low-traffic roads is that you can often ride anywhere on the road that you want, especially if there are good sightlines. That can allow you to find a smoother track. On the roads in my last two photos I spent some time riding what would have been against traffic if there had been any to speak of.
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Old 02-19-20, 08:41 AM
  #39  
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Try to alleviate the vibration

As big a tire as your frame will accommodate is the first step. Lower pressure is the second step. Run the lower pressure listed on the side of the tire, or even lower. (Watch out for pinch flat causing situations though. Tubeless setup helps here.) A shock absorbing stem is a good, though pricey, next step. Shock absorbing seat posts can also help, but I would get one with pivots or flexures rather than one that depends on telescoping tubes, they stick.
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Old 02-19-20, 09:24 AM
  #40  
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Originally Posted by mstateglfr View Post
Pretty sure its different for everyone. For YOU, a gravel bike would only work on really smooth and compacted trails. But for others, many others, a gravel road bike works well on...gravel roads. Many do quite fine riding on gravel roads and not just smooth trails.

Geography is for sure a consideration- if someone lives in a large metro, there may not be much need/use for a gravel bike. If someone lives in an area with no gravel roads and only has access to ungraded trails, then there may not be much need/use for a gravel bike. I live in a state with over70,000mi of gravel roads and only 3million people. Many can throw a rock off their porch and hit...more rocks on the road out front.
A lot of interest is geographic.
Indeed
Here in southwest IA "gravel" roads are really crushed-rock roads and can be almost as fast as paved roads when they are compacted. That can suddenly change when the dump trucks roll in and unload another top coat of rocks. Then, they become a nightmare to ride on with anything less than 50s. Even then, I just avoid them if I can or just pretend I like it and plow through to a better path.
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Old 02-19-20, 11:07 AM
  #41  
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Originally Posted by Amt0571 View Post
Gravel bikes may work on really smooth and compacted trails. Anything more than that and you need an MTB to have a decent comfort.

I don't know of any single trail that is as smooth as the ones pictured here that falls less than a hundred km from my house. No gravel for me.
EDIT - after posting this, I see you are located in Catalonia. Europe is different than North America. Like Europe has the Paris-Roubaix on the cobbles. In the US, we have very little cobble roads, but lots of gravel roads. So, gravel grinding is not an option in all regions.

"smooth"? Are you talking about gravel roads or dry creek beds? Gravel grinding is about riding on rural gravel roads and MMR (Minimal Maintenance Roads), mixing in a little single-track and bushwhacking.

I use my gravel bike for single-track trails - Breezer Radar Pro (pic below). I'm very comfortable (see post above about dialing in your tires and pressure). But this Toad also built a drop-bar Pugsley for the Almanzo 100 because of the deep/soft gravel with high-speed descents (I love that rig and ride many gravel races with it every year).

BTW - The joy of gravel grinding, run what you brung. At nearly any gravel race in Minnesota, you see gravel bikes, rigid MTBs, full-suspension MTBs, fatbikes, commuter bikes, tandems, road bikes with 'wide' tires ... hell, I was riding with a guy on a 167-mile race and he's on a comfort bike with grip shifters - Scroll up to post 20 and watch the videos, hard to name a bike that's not on these races (ok ... no recumbents, no unicycles, and not penny-farthings)


Last edited by Hypno Toad; 02-19-20 at 11:12 AM.
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Old 02-19-20, 06:51 PM
  #42  
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Where I live in northeast Indiana, the scenery (cornfield or soybean field) riding gravel roads is the same as "paved" chip and seals roads. I'd rather ride the smoother road, never more than one or two miles parallel.
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Old 02-19-20, 07:27 PM
  #43  
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Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
I can relate. was having fun on unpaved rail trails until I reached large gravel for about .5-1 mile. quite unpleasant. I think the term "gravel riding" is quite broad. I've since found more pleasant places to ride, mostly dirt or smaller gravel w/ dirt mixed in. I also switched from a rigid fork hybrid type bike to a 29er w a cheap sus. fork

stuff like this is easy enough




this stuff is a lot less fun




keep looking until you find the really fun trails
The "lot less fun" stuff looks like RR right of way ballast. Ugh!
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Old 02-19-20, 08:42 PM
  #44  
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Originally Posted by bobwysiwyg View Post
The "lot less fun" stuff looks like RR right of way ballast. Ugh!
haha yup they pull up the rails, ties & spikes & leave the rest. I have found pieces of coal tho, that was fun


Last edited by rumrunn6; 02-20-20 at 07:48 AM.
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Old 02-20-20, 08:06 AM
  #45  
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another rail line was just abandoned & over the 100 or so years since has filled in w/ debris. parts of it are rideable, but it's no speedway. there's talk of paving it for "bicycles" yuk yuk












the old bridges are a gas

power line gravel can be fun if it's compacted
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Old 02-20-20, 06:19 PM
  #46  
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Originally Posted by Seattle Forrest View Post
I think it's a little unhelpful that we refer to anything that isn't pavement as "gravel." I hate riding on actual gravel - pea sized rocks, bunch of them, especially when it's deep. We have a lot of hard packed dirt roads here, and these can be fantastic to ride on.

Like others have said, it's about scenery and traffic. For me it's also about having more places to ride, and about being able to make a loop out of what would be an out-and-back otherwise. I think we only have 5 (?) roads that cross the Cascade Range, and we have a lot of roads (that mostly serve hiking trails) that are paved for about 10 miles, then turn to dirt. We also have a maze of dirt roads throughout the mountains, so I can ride those first 10 miles, and instead of just turning around, I can keep going. Lot of beautiful paved roads, but eventually you get to the point where you've ridden most of the ones that appeal to you.


are you going to buy an aspero next?
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Old 02-20-20, 08:57 PM
  #47  
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The fire and SCE roads near me are hardly inspiring compared to the pics in this thread. For me better scenery is more accessible by asphalt roads then dirt/gravel. I admit I'm just a little envious of the majestic gravel rides I see here.
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Old 02-20-20, 09:45 PM
  #48  
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Originally Posted by Hypno Toad View Post
Setting up a gravel bike is an art (not science). I have a different set up for nearly every race ... different bike, different tires, different pressures .... tune the bike for the course and conditions.

I simply enjoy the adventure, enjoy the challenge
+1 above
I do not race. That being said.. I have easy access to a lot of gravel nearby, no car needed to get there. I view the paved sections of my routes as a necessary evil to get to the non paved sections. I have three sets of "gravel" tires mounted that are different and respond differently to changes in pressure and I use each of them for different conditions. Even on a century that may be 50 miles asphalt, I choose the tire and pressure of the day strictly on what I expect on the non paved section. If you pick the wrong tire on the road it's no big deal (assuming no stopwatch involved), you pick the wrong tire for the non road and it can be a literal pain in the... or maybe you just have to be extra careful when you turn ALL DAY. Gravel and trail can mean a lot of different things. Even a single one mile long gravel road can be totally different at one end from the other and be totally different a week later. I enjoy that, constantly finding the right line, hardpack rollercoaster bumps or thick gravel next to it, go through, lift front over, or go around that. Looking ahead and around. It adds a constant mental component and tasks to the physical one. On the road, I just stay glued to the edge of the road, head down and go. It's just a physical challenge at that point and only a mental one to remind the physical one there's more gravel and trails ahead, keep going!!!

This is typical for roughly 1/2 of my 40 mile routine workout, the other is asphalt in random smoothness. The rain actually smooths it out a bit, as it dries the fines settle back down and the gravel pops back up and it gets loose.

Last edited by u235; 02-20-20 at 11:32 PM.
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Old 02-20-20, 11:30 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by redlude97 View Post
are you going to buy an aspero next?
If you are, grab one quick. Apparently they are going to be hard to come by this spring/summer.
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Old 02-21-20, 08:35 AM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by CAT7RDR View Post
The fire and SCE roads near me are hardly inspiring compared to the pics in this thread. For me better scenery is more accessible by asphalt roads then dirt/gravel. I admit I'm just a little envious of the majestic gravel rides I see here.
then you'll hate this thread

Gravel Ride Pics

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