|So, it is dirt, tell me this isn't road riding. Go ahead......|
First off, road riding isn't dead. it merely moved. Might I add that this was for several reasons, not the least of which is the roadie culture which the "Snob" has made his reputation on. But that aside, gravel riding and racing, (which is commonly put down by many in the established cycling media), has siphoned off a lot of road racers and potential road racers with its grassroots appeal of just "riding whatcha brung", lack of "rules", and open armed welcoming of anyone to the fold. So what if your skewers are on the wrong side and so what if you run a fannypack and a seat bag under the saddle. Whatevs'. Bring it on and let's have some fun.
Then there are the obvious things. Some of which the Snob alludes to. Like the family friendly vacuum that has always been an issue with criterium and road racing in the US. That definitely is not the case with the gravel riding scene. Heck, I saw a mother with her two children meeting a rider at a convenience store to watch him come in and out at Gravel Worlds a week ago, and they did that happily all day, as far as I knew. Many families come out to these events to do things in the communities the gravel events pass through or are hosted in. Family friendly? I'd say yes, it is. Gravel rides are definitely welcoming to all.
The roads, at least the paved ones, are rife with distracted drivers, so, heck yeah, why not go ride gravel? Or a back road? Or a Forest Service road? (NOTE: The word "road" is part of all of these places to ride.)
The lament that road cycling teaches things you cannot learn anywhere else is pure BS. Obviously the draft lines at Dirty Kanza, Trans Iowa, and Gravel Worlds have gone unnoticed or were ignored by the Snob, and a lot of those riders learned how to do that on gravel. not being yelled at by some crusty old patron of some cycling club. He claims road riding on pavement is accessible. Well, thank you, Captain Obvious. No kidding. But saying that "gravel can be difficult or even impossible" to find doesn't include other types of roads like dirt, Forest Service, or even long forgotten trails and byways which are waiting to be explored everywhere. Oh, and by the way, there are gravel events in almost all of the 50 states and internationally many countries have gravel road events. It isn't all just here in the Mid-West. Far from it.
So check it out. Road riding is not dead, it just moved to a more fun, less restrictive, and more welcoming set of roads. And that's a good thing.