Have you ever wished for a ride with gorgeous views, challenging terrain, and best of all, near zero traffic? Well, Henry Pretzer and Susan Smith lead monthly rides to enjoy all of those elements on "all-roads" rides, aka "gravel grinding."
"Riding gravel" is a newer phenomenon to the mainstream, but cyclists have been “all roads” riding since the dawn of the cycling universe.
Around here most of our roads are paved, but there are also miles and miles of dirt roads, fire roads, and yes, gravel roads. These roads are generally isolated, but that also means that they are low-to-no traffic. Imagine riding 20 miles and seeing one pickup. Pretty cool stuff.
In addition to opening up endless new roads to exploration, riding gravel is also a good complement to your overall road cycling.
Obviously powering your bike over dirt and gravel is more intense than it is on pavement, so you are able to get a more vigorous workout in a shorter time and distance. Going off-road is also great for sharpening your bike handling skills. You encounter a few more “seat of the pants” situations which seem to help balance and feel when back on the road bike.
If any of this sounds appealing to you, consider giving it a try. "What kind of bike do I need?" Pretty much any bike with a wider tire is a good candidate for all roads riding. Mountain bikes, hybrids, cyclocross, and some touring bikes are all great candidates for taking "the road less traveled." I have ventured off the pavement on a regular road bike on occasion too. It's fun and challenging and, well, different.
So, if you see one of our All-Roads rides posted on the schedule, please come join us. If you have questions, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It's an adventure you might just be happy you decided to take.
- Henry Pretzer