Where is all that gravel?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Braindrain
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Braindrain » 18 Jul 2019, 9:04am

Hi. Don't get too hung up on marketing terms. Also, don't assume that people that buy them are following a fad. I've got a "gravel" bike! When I was looking around for a new bike I wanted something to replace my 1980's Falcon racer/tourer, which had wide is his tyres, nice springy frame etc. I wanted something with lower gears and better brakes, but otherwise a more modern version of the same. I did buy a cheap CX bike to fit the brief but it was limited in terms of tyre size, gearing, comfort. An additional plus for me is a higher front end on the gravel bike and more luggage mountain points. I couldn't be more pleased with it (need yet lower gears though). I have a decentish hard tail as well for when I want suspension, but for long distances I prefer drop bars. A Dawes Galaxy or Surly Cross check/straggler would have been other options, but I can fit very wide tyres on the gravel bike compared to the Dawes and have you seen the price of Cross checks recently! My Marin four corners (complete) was not much more than a Surly frame costs on its own. Like all bike genres there are a variety of subspecies, some gravel bikes are very racy, some better for touring, bumbling about. I don't actually think of my bike as a gravel bike, I think of it as a tourer but riding it most closely resembles the fun I had on an old steel framed Specialized Rockhopper till a few years ago (someone tried to steal it and bent the frame :(

pwa
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby pwa » 18 Jul 2019, 9:11am

People argue about definitions for different bike types such as "gravel", "tourer" and "audax", and in the end none of them have strict definitions. But the titles are useful as a starting point, requiring further work to get to a particular bike that meet's a particular person's needs.

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fausto copy
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby fausto copy » 18 Jul 2019, 9:52am

The Highways department have just "resurfaced" the main road near here.
It's the usual hot tar and chippings.
A gravel bike might be most useful for the next month or so until all the loose chipping have been transferred everywhere but where they started. :roll:

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mjr
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby mjr » 18 Jul 2019, 10:29am

fausto copy wrote:The Highways department have just "resurfaced" the main road near here.
It's the usual hot tar and chippings.
A gravel bike might be most useful for the next month or so until all the loose chipping have been transferred everywhere but where they started. :roll:

I've posted a related question at viewtopic.php?f=1&t=131422 asking about claiming for bikes damaged by such surfacing done badly.
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peetee
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby peetee » 18 Jul 2019, 12:18pm

fausto copy wrote:The Highways department have just "resurfaced" the main road near here.
It's the usual hot tar and chippings.
A gravel bike might be most useful for the next month or so until all the loose chipping have been transferred everywhere but where they started. :roll:


One wonders how many tons of chippings end up in the road drains and to what extent that slows the passage of water. Perhaps the strain put on the system by so many paved front gardens wouldn't be such an issue if the pipes weren't already half full of grit?
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mjr
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby mjr » 18 Jul 2019, 12:29pm

peetee wrote:One wonders how many tons of chippings end up in the road drains and to what extent that slows the passage of water. Perhaps the strain put on the system by so many paved front gardens wouldn't be such an issue if the pipes weren't already half full of grit?

Plenty of soakaways are intentionally filled with gravel to reduce blockages by rotting veg, so I doubt that's a significant problem. The problem isn't that it slows the passage of water but that it reduces the volume of water that can be buffered, so flash floods occur a bit sooner once the ground is saturated. It should be cleared when the drains are sucked and jetted at the start of autumn anyway, although I suspect that isn't happening routinely in some places any more due to budget cuts and so higher-altitude drains are only jetted once reported as blocked. So please, report them: http://www.fixmystreet.com in general, unless you know better.
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mjr
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby mjr » 18 Jul 2019, 12:31pm

Over in another place, people are discussing whether blue cycle route signs should be kept for hard-surface all-weather routes and something else like brown tourist route signs should be used for gravel routes. What do you think?
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Mike Sales
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Mike Sales » 18 Jul 2019, 12:36pm

mjr wrote:Over in another place, people are discussing whether blue cycle route signs should be kept for hard-surface all-weather routes and something else like brown tourist route signs should be used for gravel routes. What do you think?


That sounds reasonable.
It would also be useful to distinguish between useful and worthwhile routes and those which are worse than no route (even if the surface is good).

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 19 Jul 2019, 7:40pm

I think it would be hard to enforce a consistent classification. Many routes contain tarmac, gravel, stone dust and mud all in one section (ie. between exits) so it's not a simple matter of saying "this is all-weather, this is gravel". In fact, gravel might often be the all-weather alternative to mud!

It's also conceivable that the need to change signs would be use as an argument against improving surfaces, or at least another point of delay.

The principle has some utility but the application could be counterproductive.

David9694
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby David9694 » 23 Jul 2019, 11:01pm

I run a MB Dronfield 531ST tourer as my gravel bike - cantis, 38mm gravel king tyres, some tough rims, so I’m heartened to hear that maybe I’m not missing too much not having a dedicated gravel bike.

ATB = all tried before.

Back to the OP question, the South Downs Link from Shoreham to Guildford - much gravel there. The New Forest, a fair amount of well compacted woodland tracks, but strangely unrewarding cycling IMHO,despite theoretically ticking a lot of boxes - solitude, traffic-free, nature.

brynpoeth
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby brynpoeth » 24 Jul 2019, 5:14am

Strangely unrewarding why? Because it is a public park, too few hills?

Something feels not quite right about the new forest (new?) ! , I dinnae like the way the light reflects orf it :?
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David9694
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby David9694 » 24 Jul 2019, 6:33am

brynpoeth wrote:Strangely unrewarding why? Because it is a public park, too few hills?

Something feels not quite right about the new forest (new?) ! , I dinnae like the way the light reflects orf it :?


There’s plenty of undulations in the forest. As was said on the other section, you just need to get 200 yards away from the car parks and the tyres on ropes, dog poo bags on bushes and disposed of bbqs disappear.

I guess it’s because the scene doesn’t change, you don’t get the same sense of moving through the landscape e.g. village, farm, fields, Manor House, river, pub. In the parts of the New Forest it where it’s open heathland (and made up roads) I have the same feeling.

I’m working in Gloucester at present and this doesn’t tick too many cycling boxes for me either - on the plus side, the countryside is lovely - hedgerows, oak trees, nice Cotswold stone - however, two sizeable towns, a concentration of motorways and dual carriageways; a big river to the north and west (all with few crossing points) and to the east and south, a fearsome escarpment. Atop the escarpment as I say no doubt some lovely countryside.

cyclop
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby cyclop » 24 Jul 2019, 8:13am

Paulatic wrote:I can ride for miles and miles on gravel in my area. Forestry roads, windmill roads, farm roads and similar to Cycler our smaller lanes are totally neglected and reverting to pot holed gravel tracks.
I ride them on a 93 Orange Clockwork If ever it breaks then I’ll be in the market for a 'gravel bike'.

My weapon of choice.....95 stumpjumper with full mudguards,great for Dalbeattie forest fire trails,sorry,"gravel".

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 24 Jul 2019, 10:55am

David9694 wrote:I’m working in Gloucester at present and this doesn’t tick too many cycling boxes for me either - on the plus side, the countryside is lovely - hedgerows, oak trees, nice Cotswold stone - however, two sizeable towns, a concentration of motorways and dual carriageways; a big river to the north and west (all with few crossing points) and to the east and south, a fearsome escarpment. Atop the escarpment as I say no doubt some lovely countryside.

Try a ride over Alney Island and then up towards Tewkesbury but on the west side of the Severn, through Maisemore, Ashleworth, Hasfield, Forthampton. One of my favourite rides (but no gravel!)