Where is all that gravel?

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

Postby pwa » 13 Jan 2019, 8:31pm

MikeF wrote:
pwa wrote:If you want gravel (stone chippings to be accurate) there's loads of it here in South Wales. But I'm not sure I'd take anything less tough than a full-on mountain bike on proper gravel. Rough bits commonly have chippings of 4 cm or bigger, with the odd rock sticking out. And you can venture off onto dodgy side paths if you have a proper off-road bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6526141 ... 6?hl=en-GB
Miles and miles of gravel around this valley, but cyclists there tend to be on MTBs, not "gravel bikes".
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6553338 ... 6?hl=en-GB
I'd be happier doing this corner on an MTB than a gravel bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6548196 ... 6?hl=en-GB
On a gravel bike you might feel more comfortable sticking to the smooth track below, leaving the adventurous stuff to MTBs.
A rough surface does not equate to gravel. None of that is gravel, but perhaps the Americans call it that. :wink:

There's a short section of path near me that is gravel and it's extremely difficult to cycle along.

You are quite right. Gravel is not what is normally used for cycle paths made of stone particles. That is why I referred to "stone chippings", which are used in a mixture of grades right down to "dust", the latter binding the larger bits together after rain and drying out to form a firm bed. Gravel, if that were used, would be constantly shifting and you would sink into it. True gravel is small particles of stone formed by natural processes, not from humans crushing blocks of stone. So the term "gravel bike" must have been concocted by someone who didn't know one aggregate from another.

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NATURAL ANKLING
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby NATURAL ANKLING » 13 Jan 2019, 8:39pm

Hi,
You don't need gravel.
SDC14451.JPG
This Is A Motorway

SDC14494.JPG
This Is More Difficult

Just keep some air in the tyres, fatter and more tread is more comfortable but thinner and less tread is faster, take your pick.
If You Don't Try You Don't Do.....Don't Do You Don't Get...I'm Still Trying....Well Very..
You'll Find Me At The Top Of A Hill...............Somewhere...After Dark..

reohn2
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Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2019, 8:48pm

pwa wrote:If you want gravel (stone chippings to be accurate) there's loads of it here in South Wales. But I'm not sure I'd take anything less tough than a full-on mountain bike on proper gravel. Rough bits commonly have chippings of 4 cm or bigger, with the odd rock sticking out. And you can venture off onto dodgy side paths if you have a proper off-road bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6526141 ... 6?hl=en-GB
Miles and miles of gravel around this valley, but cyclists there tend to be on MTBs, not "gravel bikes".
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6553338 ... 6?hl=en-GB
I'd be happier doing this corner on an MTB than a gravel bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6548196 ... 6?hl=en-GB
On a gravel bike you might feel more comfortable sticking to the smooth track below, leaving the adventurous stuff to MTBs.


The kind roads I love to ride on my Vaya with slick Hypers :)
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

pwa
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby pwa » 13 Jan 2019, 8:53pm

reohn2 wrote:
pwa wrote:If you want gravel (stone chippings to be accurate) there's loads of it here in South Wales. But I'm not sure I'd take anything less tough than a full-on mountain bike on proper gravel. Rough bits commonly have chippings of 4 cm or bigger, with the odd rock sticking out. And you can venture off onto dodgy side paths if you have a proper off-road bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6526141 ... 6?hl=en-GB
Miles and miles of gravel around this valley, but cyclists there tend to be on MTBs, not "gravel bikes".
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6553338 ... 6?hl=en-GB
I'd be happier doing this corner on an MTB than a gravel bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6548196 ... 6?hl=en-GB
On a gravel bike you might feel more comfortable sticking to the smooth track below, leaving the adventurous stuff to MTBs.


The kind roads I love to ride on my Vaya with slick Hypers :)

I'm a bit of a wuss off-road so my idea of what can be done safely on drop bars will be different to yours.

peetee
Posts: 1363
Joined: 4 May 2010, 10:20pm

Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby peetee » 13 Jan 2019, 9:06pm

Eyebrox wrote:I've got a Grovel Bike. Took me ages and a lot of DIY to get my wife to agree.


:lol: :lol:
Current status report:
Latter side of fifty and feeling less than nifty.
Too many bikes on pegs and too few miles in the legs.

reohn2
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Joined: 26 Jun 2009, 8:21pm

Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby reohn2 » 13 Jan 2019, 11:12pm

pwa wrote:
reohn2 wrote:
pwa wrote:If you want gravel (stone chippings to be accurate) there's loads of it here in South Wales. But I'm not sure I'd take anything less tough than a full-on mountain bike on proper gravel. Rough bits commonly have chippings of 4 cm or bigger, with the odd rock sticking out. And you can venture off onto dodgy side paths if you have a proper off-road bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6526141 ... 6?hl=en-GB
Miles and miles of gravel around this valley, but cyclists there tend to be on MTBs, not "gravel bikes".
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6553338 ... 6?hl=en-GB
I'd be happier doing this corner on an MTB than a gravel bike.
https://www.google.com/maps/@51.6548196 ... 6?hl=en-GB
On a gravel bike you might feel more comfortable sticking to the smooth track below, leaving the adventurous stuff to MTBs.


The kind roads I love to ride on my Vaya with slick Hypers :)

I'm a bit of a wuss off-road so my idea of what can be done safely on drop bars will be different to yours.

I have to confess that my latest Genesis Vagabond on 2inch RaceKings is better still :)
-----------------------------------------------------------
I cycle therefore I am.

Tangled Metal
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Tangled Metal » 14 Jan 2019, 12:24am

Gravel bikes are also known as adventure bikes. I think they're an attempt at differentiation in the same way mountain bikes are differentiating into bikes fit for the types of riding you do.

What are they for? Whatever you want and can handle. I took a road bike off road as a kid. Early days of mountain bikes or just before they took off I can't remember. Did it with my dad on his built up skip racer that was built around a 60s or 50s Italian road bike. Both on 23s I think. Actually I think I saw proper mtbers riding the other way muttering we were nutters for being there.

I once saw the map man programme with Nicholas crane following a cycling guidebook description of a cycling route in the lakes. He was stimulating the ride and route from when the book was printed which was from the very early days of the safety bicycle. Complete with the clothing of the day iirc. The route? Over the mountain pass which was rough and unrideable for most of the route even with mtb.

As for what I ride off road? Its a planetx London road, the same bike I use for every other ride (except for this summer tour on a recumbent). If I can be bothered I'll put a 35 or 37mm tyre on but usually I leave the hypers 32mm on. Mud, rock but especially gravel tracks in the x Lakes are no problem. Well I have found them a bit squirrely at times. Oh! It's fun when you ride through a mud patch and get stuck with your wheel spinning without grip. When that's happened it's foot down but one time I somehow balanced and kept spinning until somehow my wheel dug down to something it could grip on and out I went without foot down.

IMHO a bike might have a marketing name but generally a good basic bike can be set up to do a lot. Gravel bikes could just be a variation of touring bikes or CX bikes. What's with a name when it's really just about riding a bike? Does a name matter?

As to terrain, the gravel bike might have gravel in the name but it can be set up for a wider range of terrains. Up in the Lakes you can see drop barred bikes in the hills. 50mm nobbly tyres are good for a lot.

As to writing them off as marketing that's what the whole cycling trade has been doing for a long time. MTBs started as rigid framed bikes with his tyre clearance right? Sounds familiar with gravel bikes. Flat bars had been around before the mtb so what was really new in the early days of mtb?

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Sweep
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Sweep » 14 Jan 2019, 9:30am

Eyebrox wrote:I've got a Grovel Bike. Took me ages and a lot of DIY to get my wife to agree.

Good pun but at the risk of a divert, these sort of statements always intrigue me.

Does she need your permission to spend her money?
Sweep

pete75
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby pete75 » 14 Jan 2019, 9:41am

pwa wrote:
PH wrote:
pete75 wrote:What will a so called gravel bike do that an ordinary touring bike can't?

Sell to the yoof

And take bigger tyres, and less baggage.


PH probably right. My tourers one built with a long hall trucker frame and the other with a Roberts roughstuff will take wide tyres along with mudguards. As an aside I thought most keen cyclists tend to buy the frame and components and build up the sort of bike they want rather than something ready made - is this not the case?

Garry Booth
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Garry Booth » 14 Jan 2019, 10:21am

An interesting discussion as ever with fellow CTC members.
Re the path bike, were they used more on an outdoor track than an indoor wood block surface?
Another thought occurs to me: cinders anyone?
https://uk.video.search.yahoo.com/searc ... ction=view

PH
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby PH » 14 Jan 2019, 10:53am

pete75 wrote:
pwa wrote:
PH wrote:Sell to the yoof

And take bigger tyres, and less baggage.


PH probably right. My tourers one built with a long hall trucker frame and the other with a Roberts roughstuff will take wide tyres along with mudguards.

Alongside my flippant comment, there are some differences, a variation on a theme rather than the same thing re-badged. Not really designed for load lugging, the geometry, weight and stiffness can be different to a trad tourer. There's been plenty of light tourers before, but in modern times lightweight meant narrow tyres, an Audax bike before the UK discovered Audax. There were a few exceptions, from Surly think Cross Check rather than LHT and mainstream the Specialized Tricross does now look like it was ahead of it's time. But canti brakes have been unpopular for at least a decade, so it wasn't till discs became popular that the idea took off.
I have enough bikes, all my cycling needs are well covered, but if I was starting from scratch an OTP so called Gravel bike would probably be among the mix, might even replace two.
You asked what can it do that a tourer can't and I'd say absolutely nothing. It can do some of those things a little better and some a little worse, which will suite some and not others, but the idea that one might be intrinsically better is IMO nonsense, and as Tangled Metal says dismissing it as marketing is no more relevant than for any other bike.
As an aside I thought most keen cyclists tend to buy the frame and components and build up the sort of bike they want rather than something ready made - is this not the case?

Depends on the company you keep! Amongst those keen enough to spend time on the forums, that's probably correct. But amongst those cyclists I know who I'd describe as keen, the vast majority, at least 70%, are riding bikes they bought complete. The remainder are split evenly to those who had the bike put together to their spec and those who did it themselves.

Bmblbzzz
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Bmblbzzz » 14 Jan 2019, 11:03am

Tangled Metal wrote:What are they for? Whatever you want and can handle.

Same as all bikes, obvo! :D I remember an issue of C+ from the late 90s, when it was still a decent magazine, where they took various styles of bikes of the day - road bike, mtb, cx, tourer, IIRC - and used them for other purposes. Some worked better than others in their non-designated roles but all worked to some extent, particularly if you're prepared to take a bit more care, walk a bit, not win a race, leave something at home, etc.

PH
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby PH » 14 Jan 2019, 11:59am

Bmblbzzz wrote:
Tangled Metal wrote:What are they for? Whatever you want and can handle.

Same as all bikes, obvo! :D I remember an issue of C+ from the late 90s, when it was still a decent magazine, where they took various styles of bikes of the day - road bike, mtb, cx, tourer, IIRC - and used them for other purposes. Some worked better than others in their non-designated roles but all worked to some extent, particularly if you're prepared to take a bit more care, walk a bit, not win a race, leave something at home, etc.

More recently Dan Joyce did a one bike for everything* feature in Cycle.
Conclusion:
In short: one bike can do everything, if it’s good enough at the things you care about most. On the other hand, if you’ve got the funds and space and don’t want to compromise, having more bikes is more fun.

https://www.cyclinguk.org/article/can-y ... everything

* Your everything may vary

Tangled Metal
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Tangled Metal » 14 Jan 2019, 12:03pm

I really like seeing MTBers looking at me on my drop barred bike, even now after dirty kansas and other gravel races have hit the cycling media for years, as I'm mad. We're riding on gravel tracks and smaller trails with mud, gravel, rock and generally non - demanding terrain. Why would you need full suspension for that? They weren't faster and tbh my bike handling skills were a lot better. If I didn't have my partner and 5 year old with me I'd have possibly taught them how to ride off road on my rigid road bike with mudguards and full rack.

I've met people who prefer their gravel bike with tubeless tyres for riding in the lakes. Usually experienced cyclists who ride them because they're more fun pushing the boundaries. Imagine your bike isn't a good as the MTBer on rocky Lakeland routes but you still hang with them because you're using your skill and experience to compensate for the bike weakness.

At the end of the day you do what you want to do but don't expect your opinion to amount to much if you really don't understand what other options can give you. Ruling something out without understanding it makes no sense to me. Ho hum!

Richard Fairhurst
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Re: Where is all that gravel?

Postby Richard Fairhurst » 14 Jan 2019, 12:10pm

Recently my current "go-anywhere" bike has become my folder - a Bike Friday New World Tourist. It'll go off-road, it's a very capable tourer, it's great in the city.

My proper bike is a Croix de Fer which is much closer to the classical definition of a go-anywhere/adventure/gravel bike, but there's two places it won't go. Not round town, because it looks nice and is eminently nickable unless I take a heavy D-lock with me; and not on a train without pre-booking, since GWR brought in their accursed new trains. I note that train travel was one of the two blockers in Dan Joyce's article, too.

The NWT's obviously not as comfortable or fast on a long ride as the CdF. Its main drawback (on mine at least) is probably the very low rear derailleur ground clearance, which picks up dirt too easily and slightly restricts it off-road. But it's the bike I reach for most often right now.

Also, it's great fun on a "noddy bike" keeping pace with roadies on the hills round here.
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