|Going up K Avenue in Tama County. It's gravel. It's a grind.|
Following are a few examples and my comments. I should say that, yes, you can point a finger at me and say I am in the "cycling media". You could say that because I am a partner in RidingGravel.com and it would be you, the readers here, pointing said finger at me. However; I happen to know that there are more than a few "media" folks who wish I wasn't "in the cycling media", either because I'm not perceived as "a real journalist" or because, simply, I am a pain in the ass sometimes. Those folks might also point a finger at me, but it probably wouldn't be the index finger. So, with that out of the way then.......
First up we have a perennial offender in the term gravel grinder. You can find all sorts of folk that will get their anger on and start spewing derisive comments at the mere mention of that term. Recently I heard a podcast where a prominent set of cycling's cognoscenti were making pronouncements on which terms in cycling should be permanently banned. Yep! You guessed it! Gravel grinding was right up there with the several other terms tossed in the trash bin on that podcast. I still find it amusing that the term gets folks all out of sorts.
|"They" say I must be using these wheels because I "lack skills".|
See what I mean? Gravel grinding, while not even possible to do in many places, since they have no gravel roads, is the term folks use. It's the vernacular driven by the grassroots of the riding populace. Just like "mountain bike" was back in the 80's.
Then there was the comment made by a prominent editor of a storied title to the effect that unless you use B+ wheels on really gnarly terrain, you are just making up for a lack of skills by choosing those wheels.
Gee. I guess this guy knows what everyone should be riding since he knows "what real skills are". Thanks for the diss, dude. That will certainly encourage others to be on their bikes and be using them to get fitter and use less polluting forms of recreation and transportation. Yeah......a super-uplifting comment there. That's real helpful. So what if folks dig 27.5+ wheels? They are fun, they have benefits and compromises, just like anything else we use. You know, the more I thought about that comment, the more I realized that maybe I am wrong about the guy who made that statement. He probably rides a totally rigid, fixed wheel, fat tired bike on rocky, mountainous down hill terrain and is just a super "psick", skilled rider. Why else would this man spew such drivel?
|Gravel bikes don't need mud clearance because they will never see the mud-pits that cyclo cross bikes do.|
Really?! Check out any early season 2015 gravel race in the middle of this great country for a refutation of that statement! There were several, really long mud pits at a lot of gravel events last year. We usually have a few at Trans Iowa, and ask any of the almost 2000 participants at last year's Dirty Kanza 200 how long that mud pit was. I'd say it was about 200 miles long.
Yeah, forget about it. Gravel bikes would never need a lot of mud clearance. Pffft!
The ironic thing about all of this for me is that all of the people saying these things are cyclists and probably really do want cycling to grow and get stronger. You know........that way they would make more money from another niche we..... Oh! wait a minute. Let me rephrase that....
They would stand to gain from helping cycling grow, but their comments are not geared toward that end many times, as I have hopefully shown here. Many times the narrative is derogatory, unnecessarily uninformed, or just downright negative. I guess if you want to become an unhelpful cyclist, these are great examples to follow.