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Anyone's normal route include gravel roads?(4 posts)

Anyone's normal route include gravel roads?FTMD
May 5, 2003 9:04 AM
I'm trying to link up my normal route with some tasty stuff that lies to the north. I can get really close w/quality low traffic roads, but not close enough. My options to complete the link up are: Densely traveled high traffic 2 lane highway with no shoulder for about 3 miles or 4 miles on a gravel road.

When I say gravel, I mean gravel. Most of the time car traffic wears in 2 lanes. Drawbacks to gravel: sometimes the graders come in and it's all loose. I won't know the road condition on each ride till I get there. Also, some people drive fast on the gravel, and stopping distances are going to be greater. Dust could be an issue in the summer dry months. Cyclists aren't common, so my presence could surprise some folks (see stopping distance concerns). Advantages: it keeps my butt off of a dangerous state road with no shoulder.

Does anyone else regularly ride unpaved roads? What precautions can you take against some of the above drawbacks? Any modifications to the bike? I'm running Axial Carbons now which I assume can handle the abuse. Any yes the area I'm trying to get to is a large state park with some massive hills and tree covered lanes. So, some hardship is worth it in my mind. Thanks!
I ride a one-mile gravel driveway from my houseOldEdScott
May 5, 2003 9:22 AM
to the paved road outside my property, and I can tell you something: No way in HELL I would ride an actual gravel road with two-lane traffic on skinny tires. Gravel's dicey enough without throwing in real live crazy cars.

Axial Carbons simply won't do. Nice 'cross tires would be a start.
Almost every day I ride on the C&O Tow Path.MB1
May 5, 2003 9:27 AM
If you do it often you will need tougher tires. I normally run 700X26 kevlar belted tires-anything skinnier than that and you could have control problems.

Running wider tires has no performance drawbacks for training and allow you to ride pretty much where you will. Better for the wheels too.
Almost every day--wider tires help a LOTcory
May 5, 2003 10:00 AM
I live in a (rapidly suburbanizing) rural area near Reno, and until three or four years ago, about a third of my riding was on gravel or dirt. Some of the roads are paved now, but I still use the old roads for a least a mile or two on almost every ride.
The best change you can make, I think, is bigger tires. I weigh 225 and normally run 32s anyway, but even the change from those to 35s (fit easily in my Atlantis and singlespeed; maybe not in your frame) makes a major difference. I've been using Panaracer Paselas at 75 psi, and it's almost like a mountain bike--just plow along until you get through it. Those do slow the bike a bit on pavement, but the 32s around 90-100psi don't seem to. My times don't change appreciably when I go down to 25s.