Riding and racing on gravel roads have become extremely popular in the last few years.  Road and cyclocross bikes on skinny tires share the country lanes and forest service roads happily with MTBs.  Gravel events are springing up all over the country.  The Speedhound geometry is perfect for off-road adventures where farm dogs outnumber motor vehicles.

Gravel riders face a variety of conditions from dusty hard-packed roads to muddy, rutted lanes that barely qualify as “roads”.  That diversity of terrain requires a different set of skills and a greater attention to the road surface.  Wise gravel riders take corners at much less than criterium speeds to avoid laying the bike down in a spray of pebbles.  Safe drafting distances increase, also.  It’s particularly important to use the brakes lightly – that keeps skidding and slipping to a minimum.  Of course, staying on the right side of the road is absolutely critical, especially on country hills.  Farm vehicles don’t expect cyclists to occupy their lane as they come over the top of those rolling hills and won’t be able to stop or swerve in time to avoid you.  Remember that the speed limit on unpaved roads can be as high as 55 mph.

Accessories can make a major difference in gravel bike performance.  Most gravel riders run at least 28 mm tires with some tread.  Many opt for cyclocross tires if the surface is particularly rough or muddy.  A set of flared drop bars can create a stable ride with multiple handholds.  The shorter drop these bars offer means the height difference between the saddle and your hands is minimized.  Cantilever or V-brakes allow more clearance when mud and dirt collect on your tires.

There’s a world of gravel riding adventure out there.  The Speedhound Only One frameset makes a perfect partner for off-road trekking.  If you’re interested in learning more about gravel riding and racing check out these resources:

Events

Barry-Roubaix – MI

Almonzo 100 – MN

Trans Iowa – IA

Dirty Kanza 200 – KS

 

Websites

Guitar Ted Productions

Gravel Grinder News