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Riding on dirt roads(7 posts)

Riding on dirt roadsgildomilo
Aug 27, 2003 2:59 PM
Anyone here do riding on dirt/gravel roads? I took a loop threw the state forest today and felt like I was trying to downhill through a boulder field. I was riding my fuji touring bike, and thought that packed gravel should be managable. Man was I wrong. One pinch flat and two sore wrists later and I'm home safe.
Do it all the big are your tires?cory
Aug 27, 2003 4:12 PM
I live in a formerly rural area that's rapidly being subdivided, and there are dirt roads all over. Probably a quarter of my riding time and 15 percent of my mileage is on dirt. The surfaces are packed and pretty manageable, which yours may not be, but it's fun--I started doing it just for shortcuts, but now I seek them out to explore. For what it's worth, the best combo tires I've tried are Panaracer Paselas in 700x35--big enough for stability, but they roll well on pavement. Spec. Nimbuses in 38 are good, too, but they won't fit a lot of frames.
You could try letting some air out, too--10-20 pound makes a big difference. I weigh 225 or so and don't pinch flat with 70psi in the Paselas.
You are so right...PT
Aug 28, 2003 6:18 AM
about the Paselas and the joys of gravel roads. I've got a 75 mile ride that I've done a few times that is 1/2 gravel road -- it is just a stupendous ride and beats the heck out of spending the whole time with semi trucks and SUVs (there's a difference) rolling by. Earlier this summer I traded in my road bike for a cyclocross bike just so I could spend more time off-piste as it where, exploring the myriad of gravel roads in my area.
re: Riding on dirt roadstheBreeze
Aug 27, 2003 4:18 PM
I occasionally ride up to a mile and a half of dirt/packed sand/gravel on one of my routes, and regularly cross a dry wash on another. They are more rideable a day or two after a good rain. Here in New Mexico the roads turn into either sand pits or washboard when very dry. That's when I choose an alternate route. Loose gravel or sand is the hardest to ride, especially with narrow tires.

You don't mention if you have any mountain bike experience. I use those skills a lot even on the road bike. Pick a gear where you can always pedal and keep power going to the wheels, keep your upper body relaxed and your elbows slightly flexed. Loosen the death grip on your handlebars.

re: the pinch flats, I guess make sure you have a decent amount of tire pressure. Are you a big guy? I'm definatly small and have never had a problem with flats on dirt.

A touring bike should be able to handle rough stuff better than a lighter racing bike. Better yet go for a cross bike if you want to play in the dirt regularly.

Good luck!
re: Riding on dirt roadsgildomilo
Aug 27, 2003 4:27 PM
I'm riding on 28cc tires. The biggest problem was that it seemed as though an excavator had just gone over the road. Which made the road surface extremely loose. I've ridden all over the forest on my MTB and never had a problem. I'm a big guy about 225 and keep 65-70 lbs in my tires. I'm probably going to save those roads for my MTB, the side single tracks are way tooo tempting while traveling the major arteries.
I was bombing down a hill hitting some fairly big rocks, that's when the pinch flat came.
Thanks for the advice.
Pressure Drop: Riding on dirt roadschar
Aug 27, 2003 6:51 PM
I ride on dirt roads a lot on 25c or 28c tires. 70 lbs is way too low for riding rough stuff downhill. You need to up the pressure in the tires to 90-110 for the downhills. You can drop the tire pressure while going up, but I have found that for the downhill, you need to increase the pressure to avoid the pinch flats, and you will still get them anyway.

re: Riding on dirt roadsxxl
Aug 27, 2003 6:17 PM
Interestingly enough, I rode a Fuji tourer down many a dirt/gravel road in Amish country, on 1 1/4" tires, and didn't have any pinch-flat problems. I do remember every downhill was a real adventure, though. Try running the widest tires your bike can handle; Panaracer/IRC, Ritchey, and Continental all make some nice wider tires for road/cross stuff.