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Anyone else ever ride gravel roads on Road Bike?

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

Anyone else ever ride gravel roads on Road Bike?

Old 10-16-05, 08:23 AM
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Anyone else ever ride gravel roads on Road Bike?

I read somewhere that Lance Armstrong trains on gravel roads and rock roads for better bike handeling skills...Not sure where I read or heard about it but I did....So my question does anyone else for any other reasons and what are the reasons and does it help?
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Old 10-16-05, 08:38 AM
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I ride in and out of a long gravel driveway when i stay at a family wknd house. i don't like it and would not do it just for fun or for training. i'm not sure it teaches me anything except to be VERY careful, which I am. I often unclip one foot and ride without turning the wheel much.
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Old 10-16-05, 08:41 AM
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Today I avoid gravel roads on my road bike. I used to ride a bit of gravel, usually short stretches of road that connected to low traveled pavement roads. Actually, just yesterday I did a ride that included a 1 mile paved stretch of road to a Mississippi River ferry crossing that used to be gravel. I used wider, tougher tires back then than I have on my road bike today.
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Old 10-16-05, 08:46 AM
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Paris-Roubaix racers ride on the preffered line off the cobbles on the dirt or gravel beside the road. You will drift front and rear wheels on hard packed gravel, it teaches bike handling skills that you can lose on smooth pavement. You may find that you like it so much you'll get into cyclocross.

The other reason is that you are likely to have fewer cars around. I wouldn't be surprised if pros do this, just for the fact that pavement riding can get boring at their training levels.
Old 10-16-05, 09:19 AM
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I do upon occasion. It's all right if you keep a steady pace and avoid ruts.
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Old 10-16-05, 10:23 AM
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Yup, I'll take a gravel or dirt road on my road bike. Although, that's when I have fatter tires on it (25 or 28). Quite fun I'd say, different definately.
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Old 10-16-05, 10:35 AM
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I do it all the time. It's really not a big deal.
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Old 10-16-05, 10:45 AM
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There are short gravel sections (up to 3 miles) on several of my normal cycling routes. Riding a road bike on these is OK, but a little slow. For longer gravel roads (over 1 hour at a time), I usually take my mountain bike instead. I think mountain biking really helps my road bike handling skills.
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Old 10-16-05, 10:58 AM
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There's a 7-mile packed-dirt fire road right after Reagan's ranch on the back side of Figueroa Mtn. that descends down to Solvang. I'll take an old touring bike with 27x1-1/4" wheels for that ride. The climb's a pain, but the dowhill's worth it! Really great for practicing learning the limits of handling. Slips and slides occur much slower on dirt than on pavement so you can get a feel for them and how to make corrections with countersteering and balancing the brakes.
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Old 10-16-05, 11:12 AM
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Just get good tubes if your run clincher tires other wise you tend to knock the air right out of the tire. I got cheap pyrimid tubes on my bike and i have to reinflate my tires after every ride on the tow path when i get in to a ruff area. As for tires i run 25s a avocet crit 20 on back and vittoria on the front (forgot the tire model of the vittoria its one of the kevlar jobs with 3d compound.)

I generaly ride on the tow path for longer rides. It has a surface of crushed lime stone thats packed paved areas and some cinder. The cinder could be considered gravel i suppose never a isue other than what i mentioned above. Just make sure you dont skimp on tubes and get cheap ones. Next season im getting some tufo tubular clincers the diamond 28s most likly. They should give me a nicer ride on the towpatyh and not sacrafice much on the road in handling or rolling resistance. By my mesureing i can go up to about a 35 width tire on my cdale t400. So the 28s will work nicly.
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Old 10-16-05, 11:21 AM
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I ride on crushed limestone trails almost daily in Chicagoland (Prairie path), but those trails are not that much rougher than concrete, and a lot smoother than some asphalt road.

Dirt trails? Sure, ridden a few stretches.

But gravel? To get to the Hennepen Canal trail from the end of the I&M Canal trail there are several miles of road, no shoulder, fast moving trucks, far just too dangerous. So we rode along the railroad tracks for about 7 miles instead. There's about a 4 inch swath of dirt inbetween the gravel, cleared by the bikes before us, so the gravel wasn't all that bad.
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Old 10-16-05, 11:37 AM
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Untill a year ago I use to ride on a bunch of dirt and gravel roads. I started with some small patches of rough dirt roads on road tires to get to some hidden nice asphalt roads. Then I decided I wanted to do more of the dirst roads and so I put some realitively smooth 28c cyclocross tire n my road bike and would ride those roads a lot.

I road them because I was able to get into some nice areas where there were not many cars and the views were really nice. It broke up my routine of the same rides allways being done and I got to explore areas that I normally never went to.
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Old 10-16-05, 11:40 AM
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No apprehensions whatsoever.

A lot of riders could learn a thing or two by doing it. Mainly: don't ride with a death grip on the bike. You gotta let it breathe under you.
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Old 10-16-05, 11:49 AM
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Depends on the "gravel."

Our Highline Canal (70 miles long) trail has long sections of crushed "fines" which I do just "fine" on my 700x25's.

A portion of several of the Ride the Rockies routes, over Cottonwood Pass, are gravel/dirt. Seems to be fine for roadies from the reports I get.
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