Registered: 1483135151 Posts: 10
Reply with quote #1
You know, I've been riding bikes for a long time. Probably 30 years or so, and on all types of surfaces all over the country. Grew up in southern Wyoming and now live in Colorado.
For most of my adult life, I've tended toward singletrack and have sought out trail riding. Around here, though, I've found the singletrack sessions to be a bit of a hassle, especially with so many people using the trails. Constantly yielding, worried about crashing into folk, etc. Not that the sweet swoopy singletrack in the mountains isn't awesome, I just think I actually *gasp* prefer riding dirt roads, gravel roads, double track, etc. Feels weird to say that, only because there is such a huge cult of mtb around here - but I know what I like. Did a great late-December gravel ride (28 miles, 2k' climbing) on Friday and found my mojo. All smiles. Thanks for this cool little forum - looking forward to being a part of some fun rides.
Registered: 1435074096 Posts: 30
Reply with quote #2
For me, I love figuring out routes that weave it all together. My Better Half and I did a great ride today, which included some pavement, some dirt roads and some really fun singletrack - 27 miles and 3100' of climbing. We were talking at the end of the ride about how our bikes (I have a Straggler built up mountain-cross style and my wife rides a Fargo) are so incredibly versatile, and make it
all fun. There may be other types of bikes that would excel on any one of those surfaces, but would not be that fun the rest of the time. For where we live and where we ride, the 'mountain-cross' build just covers so many bases.....
Registered: 1481133467 Posts: 28
Reply with quote #3
I agree - I'm loving being able to ride anything. I used to search out single track, or search out a good road ride, (or ride in ovals at the velodrome). Now I just go everywhere, and I am discovering so much to do just outside my front door.
Google Maps and Strava Heat maps helps me find short cuts, hidden passages, alternative routes. I'm searching out things I would never do if I was strictly skinny tire or strictly fat tire.
Registered: 1479433997 Posts: 78
Reply with quote #4
Add me to the list! Its a lot like when I started mountain biking, back before suspension forks were common. My friends and I would just get on our bikes and go and just ride whatever we ran into, singletrack, gravel roads, paved trails etc. Back then mountain bikes were much more road worthy than offroad worthy, so most people I knew rode their bikes to trails. Now its load up your full suspension bike that really can't be ridden on the road because of the huge tires and low gearing and drive to a mountain bike park, ride and then drive back home. Don't get me wrong I still mountain bike, but it doesn't have that same sense of adventure as just exploring on a "gravel bike" or "all road bike" or whatever trendy name you want to use for these type of bikes.
Registered: 1454421284 Posts: 7
Reply with quote #5
I think the term is Adventure cycling, and it is the most fun way to ride. Pack a lunch and hit the road with no clock running. I ride a Specialized Diverge with 36mm tires and they pretty much take me everywhere with some caution riding over single track trails. I could definitely see a good xc bike working also, depends where you live I guess.
Registered: 1457454779 Posts: 374
Reply with quote #6
I've not really hit any single track yet on my gravel/adventure bike. No reason other than I haven't had the chance. I plan to hit some up soon though. My mountain bike is a full rigid so it's not a far departure from my gravel bike really. But dropbars vs straight bars will make an interesting comparison once I get the gravel bike out on some trails.
Registered: 1483969238 Posts: 30
Reply with quote #7
I like all riding but I like gravel the best. I like road riding but only when there are few cars. Heavy traffic sucks. Single track mountain biking is fun too but I find that I'm paying way too much attention to the trail for obvious reasons and not the wonderful woods and surroundings. Plus I don't like trees in my way, I hurt when I hit them. Gravel there are no trees and few cars and the surroundings are usually very rural. Nice.
Registered: 1435074096 Posts: 30
Reply with quote #8
To expand on what folks are saying in this thread - we have never seen a time in cycling where there are more specialized niches, and I hear people complaining all the time about how 'specialized' bikes have become. Yet at the same time, if you look around at the right areas of cycling design right now, we are also seeing some of the most versatile bikes that the industry has offered in a long time (if ever). "Gravel" bikes are one current area that exemplify this, in my opinion - bikes that you can take just about anywhere and do lots of different things with.
Another area where I am seeing this is with many of the "plus" mtn bike designs that are being offered right now. They may not be a lot of fun on roads necessarily like a gravel bike, but I think they are some of the most truly versatile off-road mountain bikes we have seen in a long time. The best examples of these bikes are equally fun on trails and can take you on a week-long bikepacking trip if you want. They harken back to what mtn bikes were when I first got into mtn. biking decades ago - general purpose, off-road vehicles for exploration that you could take anywhere. Fairly simple and straightforward, mostly hardtails with ample triangles for frame bags, etc. but with fun geometry and capable of being ridden aggressively at the same time. It's a funny time in the industry right now, where yes, there is an absurd level of highly specialized niche offerings, at the same time that we are seeing more versatility embodied in certain types of bikes than I think we've seen in a long time. Maybe it's a reaction to all that specialization...
Registered: 1483135151 Posts: 10
Reply with quote #9
Some great points - agree with all of you; this gravel thing is pretty special and pretty close to the optimal type riding for taking it all in, seeing the sights, enjoying the countryside. Probably some kind of fundamentally basic truth in it that connects us back to our childhoods or something.
I love the plus tire craze too - most fun I've had on singletrack has been on a set of 29+ Chupacabra tires. Something to be said for some high mountain trail action and the shade you get with forest riding, but I'll take a 50+ mile ride on country roads any day.