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The allure of gravel bikes and riding on gravel and maps?

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Cyclocross and Gravelbiking (Recreational) This has to be the most physically intense sport ever invented. It's high speed bicycle racing on a short off road course or riding the off pavement rides on gravel like :The Dirty Kanza". We also have a dedicated Racing forum for the Cyclocross Hard Core Racers.

The allure of gravel bikes and riding on gravel and maps?

Old 11-08-17, 01:16 PM
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raria
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The allure of gravel bikes and riding on gravel and maps?

So three big questions for an avidly interested reader:

1) What is the allure of riding on gravel for you?

2) What is the allure of riding a gravel bike?

3) Where are there maps to see what gravel rides are near where I am.
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Old 11-08-17, 01:38 PM
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1) After being hit by a car on my commute I turned to gravel grinding to be able to ride far without the permanent worry of passing vehicles.

2) I did gravel with a hardtail MTB at first and wasn't hooked. My gravel bike feels faster, lighter and more agile than the MTB. It's also more comfortable to ride over several hours (most of my gravel rides are 3-4hrs long)

3)I've found Wikiloc is a good option for searching routes around my area but I haven't used it much because I ride with a group so I just follow whoever knows the route that day lol.
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Old 11-08-17, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
1) What is the allure of riding on gravel for you?


2) What is the allure of riding a gravel bike?
It can handle rough and loose surface and also be a capable road bike; it doesn't need to give up much for its versatility. Aside from being willing to take my gravel bike places that I'd hesitate or refuse to take my other drop-bar bikes, it's just another road bike in my stable.
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Old 11-08-17, 02:21 PM
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I starting riding the Des Plaines River Trail in suburban Chicago about 5 years ago. It provided a long ride that was free of vehicle traffic. I also enjoyed the flora and fauna. Now I ride gravel events in rural Missouri. The scenery combined with the athletic and technical challenges has made gravel rides my most anticipated type of cycling.

Almost any bike will work on a typical rails-to-trails gravel path. However, fast descents and steep climbs require appropriate tires and gearing. A gravel bike with the right tubeless tires and the right gear range really improve the gravel experience. This is especially true if the gravel is loose and the route is hilly.

Gravel routes can be found by attending events. Online tools exist: https://www.bikeforums.net/cyclocros...o-you-use.html
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Old 11-08-17, 02:38 PM
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it's interesting & a little spooky. but then, I was raised with exploring every weekend

















https://www.traillink.com/

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Old 11-08-17, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
So three big questions for an avidly interested reader:

1) What is the allure of riding on gravel for you?

2) What is the allure of riding a gravel bike?

3) Where are there maps to see what gravel rides are near where I am.
1) Something different.
2) Something different.
3) Google
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Old 11-08-17, 04:03 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
So three big questions for an avidly interested reader:

1) What is the allure of riding on gravel for you?

2) What is the allure of riding a gravel bike?

3) Where are there maps to see what gravel rides are near where I am.
1- challenge. explore. quiet.
2- i am able to actually ride gravel with a gravel bike.
3- googlemaps. county DOT maps. iowagravelroads.com(probably not helpful for you).
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Old 11-08-17, 05:38 PM
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I like exploring forgotten places and finding new ways around. I like riding a bike on which I can cover lots of ground on the roads and still navigate technical mtb trails (albeit slowly) to avoid busier routes. I like being able to explore unmarked lanes in the woods and know that I can get home quickly by pavement if I am running behind schedule. I even like playing with maps (openstreetmap, Strava, various forms of Google maps imagery) to connect places together and see the countryside from a new angle, filling in the gaps between the places I know, and picking-out landmarks, so that I can just ride when I'm out there. I love riding down old roads that are so unused that the grass reaches my axles. I get a particular pleasure from popping-out on a road with a Private Property sign behind me facing where I've arrived, having never seen a sign on the other end of the route that I connected from the next town over, knowing that the way I went was so obscure and untrammeled that nobody bothered posting it. I don't repeat these, of course, and it makes a fine excuse to explore some more. I like the hidden back alleys of towns when I'm on foot, and gravel riding is the open country version of the same.
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Old 11-08-17, 07:00 PM
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I don't know that gravel has any specific allure for me. And I'm using "gravel" to mean unpaved roads, not pea-sized loose crap. Somebody mentioned the lack of cars, which is nice. And their drivers are usually paying attention to the road and not their phone. But there are paved roads like that, too. Most of the roads I ride on that are like this are paved part way, and their character (other than the road surface) is pretty much the same on either side.

The allure of a gravel bike is that I can ride these roads when I get to them. I don't need a map to tell me where the paved roads are, I can just ride, and know I'll be able to handle what I come to.
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Old 11-09-17, 02:04 AM
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Thanks. So a follow up question. Have a Fuji touring bike. Is it good enough to take on gravel?
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Old 11-09-17, 02:17 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Thanks. So a follow up question. Have a Fuji touring bike. Is it good enough to take on gravel?
Probably. If you're unsure... a good test would be to try riding it on your gravel.
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Old 11-09-17, 04:10 AM
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1) There's a gorgeous 30 mile loop that goes around a lake and through a national park & forest that starts pretty much at my doorstep...and it's 2/3 gravel. I've figured out I'm not comfortable doing it on 28mm road slicks. There are also a ton of forest service and logging roads that I'd like to explore, as well as some easy singletrack I could probably ride on a gravel bike if I improve my bike handling.

2) I don't like flat bars, and I'd like to ride more places that just paved surfaces.

3) I look at forest service maps, but I live next to a national forest. I'd also check your LBS. They have a nice map of local routes, and gravel roads are included. And google, but google doesn't map forest service roads unless you put yourself on them manually.

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Old 11-09-17, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Thanks. So a follow up question. Have a Fuji touring bike. Is it good enough to take on gravel?
Yes. I had one and it's a moderately capable gravel bike. I used mine as a tow-path bike and it was an excellent performer on moderately smooth trails. Mine was limited to 700x35 rear tires. I'd ride the bike as-is but bring two or more spare tubes and be ready for flats if you are using the original tires and wheels.

After some experience, consider upgrading to tubeless ready rims and tires. Fit a tire that is bigger than original but has sufficient clearance between the chainstays.

Where are you located and where are you planning on riding?
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Last edited by Barrettscv; 11-09-17 at 10:46 AM.
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Old 11-09-17, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Thanks. So a follow up question. Have a Fuji touring bike. Is it good enough to take on gravel?
Totally depends on the type of gravel around you. It varies region to region.
Heck, around me it even varies county to county.

Most likely- itll work fine. Toss some 35 or 38mm tires on it- whatever fits with a couple mm clearance on either side for the tire- and try it out.
I would definitely hold off on buying an entirely new tubeless wheelset until you decide if you even like it...thats a lot of $ to drop without knowing if you like it.
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Old 11-09-17, 02:53 PM
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Here is the said Fuji touring bike

https://archive.fujibikes.com/2009/Fuji/touring3

It's virtually brand new though its a 2009 model.
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Old 11-10-17, 10:32 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post

3) Where are there maps to see what gravel rides are near where I am.
Strava heat maps.

You'll find hidden secrets here you will find no where else.
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Old 11-10-17, 12:19 PM
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Originally Posted by chas58 View Post
Strava heat maps.

You'll find hidden secrets here you will find no where else.
Thanks!

You mean this https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#12....40395/hot/ride

But that just shows me all rides in an area. How do you work out which ones are on gravel?
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Old 11-10-17, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
Thanks!

You mean this https://labs.strava.com/heatmap/#12....40395/hot/ride

But that just shows me all rides in an area. How do you work out which ones are on gravel?
I'm looking for interesting creative routes, so the heat map gives me great ideas in my local area. It works great in conjunction with Google maps and Street view to find hidden cutthroughs and routes.

Of you only want gravel, try this-
https://gravelmap.com/#
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Old 11-11-17, 08:46 AM
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Originally Posted by raria View Post
1) What is the allure of riding on gravel for you?
Gravel is what's easily available where I live. Five minutes drive gets me to a parking area in the national forest that opens up hours of gravel.

2) What is the allure of riding a gravel bike?
It's the suitability to the terrain. I like wide, soft tires on gravel, but not suspension.

3) Where are there maps to see what gravel rides are near where I am.
I mainly just use a combination of local knowledge, roadmaps, and sometimes I just head out and follow a road to see where it goes. More often, I'm trying to close some sort of loop that I've half-figured out from a map. One of my favorite short loops is gravel to an old rail bed to pavement, and back the parking area. It's just an ad-hoc loop that I happen to like when all I have time for is maybe a quick hour on the bike.
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Old 11-11-17, 06:15 PM
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Originally Posted by HTupolev View Post
.
I always enjoy your posts. You have such a fantastic combination of local knowledge, intrepitude, photographic skill, and bike mechanical knowledge. I've driven (especially to Darrington) to do rides because of photos you've posted.
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