- Any Bike Is A Gravel Bike: Look- we do not need a gravel specific bicycle. That said, we do not need 27.5 inch wheels for enduro bikes, we do not need gears, and we do not need electronic controlled drive trains either. But ya know what? Those things make doing specific rides and tasks easier. The industry is capable of doing them, and consumers like it. Okay? So if the industry wants to pursue a gravel specific bike, I say, "get the dang thing right", and that was part of the point with yesterday's post. With the amount of hits and comments I have gotten from yesterday's post, I'd wager there is some significant interest in having a gravel specific rig, or nothing would have come of it. Right?
- What Gravel Is To You May Not Be What Gravel Is To Someone Else: I get that some folks see "gravel roads" in the context of where they live. That might mean mountain fire roads. That might mean backroads which are dirt only. That might be a foreign concept, since some places don't even have gravel roads for a point of reference. When I give my opinion on this sort of bicycle, it is based upon where I have ridden all across the Mid-West, which is arguably the "World Center of Gravel Roads".(<===Not my idea. Actually this was brought up by a West Coaster I recently spoke with.) I've seen and ridden on lots of different types of gravel roads, and that's where I base my "what is best" from. It is not going to be a bicycle for everyone, (but then again, neither is a 5" travel 27.5"er enduro rig either, or a cyclocross bike, for that matter), so if you see this as a big waste of time, I get that.
- Brakes: I knew my thoughts on brakes would get some attention, and it did. Look- I ride disc brake bikes on gravel roads. I know lots of folks that do as well. It isn't terrible if you want those sort of brakes, but I will also stand by my take that disc brakes are overkill for gravel roads. That doesn't mean they shouldn't be offered for gravel road bikes. I just do not think it is the best way, for the reasons I detailed yesterday. (Disc brakes ARE the most marketable way to do a gravel bike though, which is an entirely different thing.)
Dirty Kanza 200: Right now there are a lot of folks in Emporia Kansas, or getting there, that will be testing themselves against 200 miles of flinty goodness. I salute each and everyone of you, and wish you tailwinds and to keep the rubber side down.
I elected not to go this year. I had an open invite from the race, which I always feel weird about, (for several reasons), but the reason I can not go is just the nuts and bolts of money and time away from my job and family. I have another trip to Nebraska in three weeks or so which will eat up some time off, and also the GTDRI about two weeks after that, so adding another big trip without the family- well.....it just ain't right. For me anyway.
So, have a great ride, if you are in the DK this year, and I look forward to all the great stories that will surely be told afterward.
3GR: Well, if it isn't raining like last week, I'll be at Gates Swimming Pool parking lot in Waterloo at 8:30am for the 3GR. Cedar Falls trail network, which I utilize to ride out of town on a normal 3GR, is all inundated with this flooding, so a W'Loo departure this time again! I am thinking of doing the loop up past Denver and back down again,just in case you are coming.
July 13-14 mark your calendars and come to Eastern Iowa for a hilly son of a gun called the "GTDRI" for short. It's a no drop group ride and is being put on by the Slender Fungus Cycling Association, which are some cool cats, if I do say so, (and I do!)
One thing that "El Presidente' Ari" is asking for is that if you are coming, please say so here. Several gravel grinding aficionados have already committed, so why not you? Once the SFCA knows a bit more about what to expect for rider numbers, they will hit us back with details on lodging/camping, route, and whatnot.
While I am not privy to the route details, I've seen enough recon photos to know that you'll want to be geared low and be able to carry plenty of food and water. There will be some stops, but in July, with expected hot weather, it is always wise to plan ahead! The route should be over 100 miles and no more than 150. It'll be an all day ride fer sure!
Maybe I'll bust out the Gravel Mutt Project bike for this one!
Okay, ya'all have a great weekend, and ride those bikes!