|Not bad out on Saturday.|
The things is, you don't need a "gravel bike" to gravel bike.
Mountain bikes, maybe even some dual suspension ones, make gravel biking fun, but there may be a few things one might want to tweak out for a better experience. Things like, you know.......tires.
Tires make the biggest difference, more so than anything else you can do to a bicycle, for whatever it is you are trying to do on a bicycle. Contact points would be the second best upgrade point, then wheels, and after that, everything else you do is gravy. So, if you have an MTB, and you want to ride gravel and have a "do-it-all" tire, well, that is kind of the point to my articles on these tires. Obviously it also makes a big difference where you ride, so you know- Mountains, Plains, Woods, etc. You'll need to tailor your choices accordingly. That's why I got in three really different tires. There is the semi-slick, the aggressive/wide tire and the typical MTB choice in the bunch.
So, I am down to the third set of tires in the review and I needed to get going with some actual gravel riding after doing some other surfaces with these tires previous to Saturday. I decided to head out Northeast of Waterloo for a short test ride and found that conditions were too good for what I was trying to figure out. Oh well..... I did find some good bits though, and a slog through two miles of deeply graveled shoulder along a county blacktop eventually got me what I wanted.
|Giant Hogsweed or Wild Parsnip? Either one = BAD! Don't touch this stuff! (Turns out it is Wild Elderberry- Thanks Tony!)|
|I've been neglecting the soybean fields in my pictures. My apologies!|
|From a high point on Big Rock Road.|
|Prairie Rose? Swamp Rose? Seen along Sage Road.|
The "wild rose" is the state flower of Iowa. Apparently due to its being part of a decorative gift of a tea service given by the Iowa legislature for the late 19th Century battleship Iowa, and for its noted hardiness, the legislature was prompted to make the Wild Rose the state flower in 1897. So, I had to stop and pay my respects to this delicate little blossom.
You just never know when you will run across a bit of history on your gravel rides!