Thursday, September 26, 2013
I am a rider that likes to ride across hill and dale. I used to do this activity on paved county roads on what the bicycle industry commonly refers to as a "road bike". However; the traffic concerns, attitudes of some road cyclists, and the average uncomfortable nature of road bikes these days led me to riding even deeper into the hinterlands. A place where cars and attitudes are sparse. A place where a different kind of bicycle rules the day.
Many call these bikes "gravel grinders", and that's fine by me. However; it is perhaps a bit of a limiting name. Many places do not have gravel roads, and many riders may not want to do a gravel road ride for several reasons. That said, it is my firm belief that a fatter tired, slacker angled, more stable road bike is exactly the sort of bike the industry ought to be concentrating on. It would be more comfortable, easier to ride, more versatile, and therefore has more potential appeal than road racing style bicycles and the culture they represent, which I would suggest is not the culture the majority of potential cyclists can aspire to, or relate to. The gravel bikes appeal on a more basic level. They can be associated with relaxed rides, versatility, recreation, and yes, even racing.
These bicycles need not be heavy. They can be nearly as light as racing bikes. They definitely are not touring bikes. But what is missing is a good name for them. Several have been suggested on this blog over the past few days. There are 76 comments between these two posts with name suggestions: (Here and Here) Take from it what you want.
I have no horse in this race, and neither do the core group of gravelists that commented here. My aim is to broaden the appeal of such bikes for the masses. It is my firm belief that this sort of bike is the best bike for the majority of the populace for all sorts of roads no matter how they are surfaced or not.