Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Gravel dust tastes so sweet

Pavement Ends: Adventure Begins!

Gravel Ends: Nebraska Begins!

Looking North out on the "Bohemian Alps" from the "Summit" of NW 70th street. 

I took my Specialized Crosstrail Sport on a round trip to and from my in-laws place (aka "The Funny Farm") on Sunday. It's a 43 mile round trip, 26 of those miles were on gravel roads, 2 were on hard-packed dirt. The rest was in-town streets and bike trail.

The first couple off-road miles were shaky while I tried to hammer with the bike skipping across the rock towards the ditch, but I found a sweet spot between speed and control. I had a grand old time riding into Raymond at 13mph.

The road I took into Raymond largely follows a rail line, so it's flat.

I turned left about a mile north of Raymond and entered the Bohemian Alps. Short and steep monsters. I just put it in the stump-pulling gear and spun up at 7mph and coasted back down at 15. Evil things, the Bohemian Alps.

The ride back wasn't bad. I had a lot more confidence in my ability to keep a straight line and decided to bomb down the Alps at 30+mph. I rode the one mile section of dirt road in about four minutes on the way back. (Hard dirt is a lot smoother than gravel.)

During those 28 off-road miles, I saw a total of six cars. Two were on the way out and four on the way home. Not a bad car/mile ratio for a bike ride. I can see why riding a bike on gravel roads has been growing in popularity.

Doing my best Lloyd Dobler impression: "Gravel is the cycling of the future."

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