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Road Bike on Gravel

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

Road Bike on Gravel

Old 07-23-12, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by nstone
I just moved to Iowa from a heavily paved region of the country, and, unsurprisingly, the area has a ton of gravel roads. I ride a pretty traditional steel road bike with fairly tight geometry and I was hoping some folks might have advise for the preservation of bike and body on this new terrain.
I should have read your post more closely. With a steel bike -- certainly frame saver would be good. With most gravel types, you likely are risking paint chips from rocks being sent up from your tires. Since you reference roads and not gravel bike paths, I suspect that means farm and auto traffic, which will likely make the roads dusty. That dust gets everywhere on your bike. If it's dry it doesn't seem to harm, but if it is wet, it can be a mess to get off. Larger tires would be good (if there is clearance).

I don't find vibration/road noise to be to troublesome or fatiguing on gravel (but I ride larger tires).

The real danger on gravel, imo, is handling. I went out this wknd, and the road looked hard packed, but it wasn't. I was sure glad to have a CX bike. Road tires weren't meant for roads in that condition.

Also, if you are rural roads, riding in the wheel tracks is usually the best in terms of road condition. But keep in mind, that if you meet traffic (car, tractor) you may need to get over, and the edges of those roads can be a sandy and dangerous to get into. I've had both my front and my rear wash out in those conditions.

If you can afford a CX or MTB bike, I would suggest that. It makes the gravel riding far less stressful. If you can fit on some larger tires on your current steed, do so.
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Old 07-23-12, 02:51 PM
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Another point to consider. Here in OK either something they put in the gravel or the gravel itself is pretty corrosive if wet. Its good to wash everything after a ride especially if you're on steel.
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Old 07-30-12, 09:39 PM
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My "Dirty Girl", & "Tank/curvy girl".

When it gets really wet,slushy/snowy, I put my 42's on this girl.

I like seeing her wet, she wears Gatorskins in 28's. She seen rainy days, & more training when I know the road are going to be unpredictable.
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