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How many of you started with Gravel/CX?

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.

How many of you started with Gravel/CX?

Old 02-04-20, 06:16 AM
Sy Reene
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How many of you started with Gravel/CX?

That is to say, beyond riding a bike around as a kid, how many of you when you decided to take cycling seriously as a hobby or sport, started with CX or Gravel?

Or, if your more serious cycling (beyond commuting or bikeshares) pre-dates Gravel or CX riding, did you come from a base of MTB or Road cycling?
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Old 02-04-20, 08:23 AM
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Cycling as an adult started with rides around the neighborhood with my kid(s) and grew into weekend path rides as a family.
The first couple bikes I built up were 80s road bikes, but then I built a modified an early 90s hybrid into a drop bar gravel bike and my solo efforts quickly focused on gravel due to the abundance of gravel around me and the fun of routing and exploring. Thats when I got pretty serious and started accepting being called a cyclist.

So sure- Ill say I started with gravel.
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Old 02-04-20, 08:41 AM
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Started mountain biking in college when there was no suspension. Have been riding ever since.
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Old 02-04-20, 09:21 AM
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You should make this a poll!
I started mountain biking about the same time Gary Fischer did (i.e. as soon as Schwinn started making fat knobby 26" tires.

I searched for decades for a road bike, but never found anything I liked (so I mostly borrowed bikes for road races). It got even worse shortly before gravel took off as the fashion then was super stiff and super tight clearances with 23mm tires*. Who wants that??? Finally with the versatility of gravel bikes and tires I can get a bike I can ride on the road - even if the road isn't pristine (which none of them are around here), I'm not stuck on tires so small they are guaranteed to give me a pinch flat sooner or later, and if I want to take a detour off road, no problem. So with "gravel" I finally could buy a real drop bar bike. :-)

* a few years before gravel and fatter tires got popular, I showed up at a road group ride with 28mm tires and everyone looked at me like I was from mars. It was funny. boy how times change...
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Old 02-04-20, 09:27 AM
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Road for me.
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Old 02-04-20, 10:07 AM
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MTBs in 1990
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Old 02-04-20, 08:33 PM
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I mountain biked in the 1990's as a teenager. At about 18 years old, I raced a triathlon. It hooked me on road bikes. By 22 I'd done 2 Ironmans and maybe 100 shorter distance tri's. I preferred just the bike so I started racing. Got as far as Cat 3 with some decent upgrade points and I turned 27. What is a 27 year old who isn't racing in Europe yet? That's right, a recreational cyclist. My ego couldn't handle it and I packed it all up except a commuter.

I exclusively climbed rocks for the next decade. Great places, hard routes, grand adventures. I found myself becoming an adult a couple years ago. I wanted to get back on my bike so I got one. A very nice road bike. I quickly found the routes I wanted to ride incorporated gravel. My bike could clear 28s so after a season of that, I got a proper late 90's steel, cantilever brake monster that's extroidinarily capable, just a wee heavy (22lbs).

I only enter the odd race to take advantage of aid stations, but I find myself longing for a super light gravel racer. Maybe this spring.
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Old 02-05-20, 06:33 AM
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I started with a road bike, but after a few rides on no-shoulder two lane roads getting close-passed @ 70mph, I made a decision to convert that to a dedicated trainer bike and bought my first gravel bike. Now, other than an occasional road ride with friends or a brief stint between two gravel sections, I pretty much stay off pavement.

I enjoy riding smooth, fast roads, but not when I’m constantly looking over my shoulder. If I lived in a part of the country with better cycling culture and infrastructure, I would ride pavement more. At the same time, I definitely have enjoyed riding gravel...I think of it as 90/10 road/MTB...nice compromise between spinning and some occasional technicality, with good scenery.
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Old 02-05-20, 11:40 AM
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Interesting thread topic. I did MTB first then got into fixed gear and road riding then got "back" into gravel (best of both worlds?). The re-entry into gravel really came about from taking my road bike onto fire roads and then realizing that it would be more enjoyable on a dedicated gravel bike.

I know of folks who were primarily roadies who got into gravel as a way to avoid cars and distracted/inconsiderate drivers (of which there seems to be more of now than, say, 10 years ago).
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Old 02-05-20, 11:46 AM
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When I started as an adult there were no "gravel" bikes. Just road and mountain. I started mountain biking first. When I met my future father in law he was a roadie and convinced me to try road. That and a recurring shoulder issue from an old hockey injury made me switch to road full time. These days I'm doing mild gravel and road. As much gravel as my shoulder will allow. I'm going to have surgery on it later this year and see whee I am after that.
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Old 02-05-20, 02:49 PM
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I came from the road. Moved to rural Kansas about the time the original Warbird Ti came out. In the county I moved to, there were literally only two (2) paved roads -- the two highways that intersected at the center of the County Seat. (Zero curves on those roads.) I was accustomed to riding around 8,000 miles per year on the road so, rather than ride back-and-forth, back-and-forth on those two roads, I bought a Warbird and learned to ride gravel, dirt, and sand.

Things have changed for gravel. That year, the DK200 was just a couple years old. If memory serves correctly, entry for the 200 was $50. And less than a month before the race, I called Jim Cummins to ask about a race rumored to happen, starting in Emporia. He welcomed me to enter and mail a check or pay my fee when I showed up. No lotteries. No website for advance payment.

Also, if memory serves, tire capacity for that original Warbird was about 36mm -- with not much extra room for mud.

Four months later, I moved back to civilization.

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Old 02-05-20, 03:46 PM
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For me it was the usual assortment of bikes as a kid. A lime green & yellow Schwinn stingray with a bananna seat as a kindergartener. My brother had the same bike but red/white/blue American flag seat & 1776/1976 Centennial Celebration paint job.

After that was a motorcycle lookin' thing from the 1960's that looked like a it was intended to be motorized. Motorcycle style coil over suspension. Air/oil motorcycle forks. Heavy. It's appearantly a valuable collectors item now, if only I could remember the name. There's one hanging from the ceiling at the local Recycled Cycles.

Then the endless stream of Huffy's & Murrys from the K-mart.

I bought my first NEW bike with paper route money. A Norco Bush Pilot. Used it for about 2 years & consigned it unsuccessfully when I bought my first car. Also with paper route money. I don't think I ever sold it, I just don't know where it is anymore.

My first car sat in a garage for years in a different state
when I joined the service. So I bought a 1997 Trek 6500zx & that was my primary transportation in & around the island of Oahu. I took it everywhere. That is until I got a girlfriend, and she had a car.

I write all this because although I had a bikes, I knew what bikes were, how to ride, & depended on various bikes at different times...that is different to "How I got started biking" & I wanted to highlight the distinction between first bike & how I got started biking.

After a dozen year dry-spell, I got started biking with a 2013 Scattante DX350 Sora level on close-out from the local Performance Bike. That bike did everything I ever asked of it, no matter how hard I flogged it, it asked for more & became a seamless extension of my self. It was a gravel/cross bike. It was faster, more capable, & more fun, than anything I'd ever rode before & ignited a passion. Good bones, upgradable, nimble, affordable, versatile.

That bike is the Bike of Theseus now...& now, after years of endless improvements in both the bike & myself, it got it's first dedicated gravel wheelset & I am finally "getting started" on gravel...Yes, I got started on a gravel/cx, but it was so much more.
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Old 02-08-20, 08:55 PM
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Late 90’s mountain bike. Eventually locked out the fork and mounted slick tires and Bar ends. I wanted a road bike before realizing I wanted a road bike.
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Old 02-09-20, 02:46 PM
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Road for me.
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Old 02-09-20, 07:06 PM
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I started with commuting around a college campus with MTBs that were overbuilt for my needs and hybrids that were underbuilt for my needs (and weight) and so the middle ground for me turned out to be gravel bikes
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Old 02-11-20, 06:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Sy Reene View Post
That is to say, beyond riding a bike around as a kid, how many of you when you decided to take cycling seriously as a hobby or sport, started with CX or Gravel?

Or, if your more serious cycling (beyond commuting or bikeshares) pre-dates Gravel or CX riding, did you come from a base of MTB or Road cycling?
MTB first (late 90s) Dabbled in road riding, but never really loved it until 2011 when I got a Salsa Casseroll that could clear 35s. That changed everything. Now I love both.
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Old 02-11-20, 10:17 AM
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Started with MTB in high school riding trails, then quit riding for years. Started back up recently as something I can do with kiddo and am hooked again. Fortunately live in a city that has great trail system both paved, gravel, and single track. I went the gravel bike route so I could take advantage of all, and now I just purchased a wide tire MTB since I enjoy the trails so much.
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Old 02-11-20, 08:58 PM
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Like a lot of geezers, I spent the 70's and early 80's on a stingray kind of bike, all day, everyday. Mountain biked in the 90's in NorCal--Marin, etc---largely on what was essentially a crappy hybrid(with the crashes to prove it). Always had some kind of bike over the years but only got seriously interested the last 8-9 years. Started with an entry-level roadie, then a hardtail MTB, then I only rode a ss rigid 29'r MTB for a few years, everywhere. It all lead me to wanting one do it all bike, so the gravel/adventure thing was a shoe-in for me once I realized I wanted to really get into cycling as...a way of life. I ride both my bikes (Cross Check and Rove ST) everywhere, any conditions, you name-it. The only distinction is if I want to go ss or geared.

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Old 02-11-20, 09:53 PM
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When in my early teenage years I rode my three-speed bike off-road a lot. My sisters and I rode through some fairly rugged stuff on those 26" x 1&3/8 tires.

It sure extended the range we could bicycle.

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