November 15, 2005
Who said it ever HAD to be paved?
Well, I tell ya -- two years ago, I NEVER woulda thought that riding "off-road" would be fun. Ok, this was not REALLY "off-road" (which is why I keep putting it in quotes), but for the roadie that I really am, it was certainly not normal!
We gathered together with a mission -- just to have a nice bike ride, without the normal hassles of traffic, maybe a little more scenery, and something a little different -- and we got it all! With fat-tires, racks, a couple full-on mountain bikes, and some hybrid-mutts, we rolled out into the southern part of the county, and travelled over some very nice gravel roads - which we came to find were not really all that bad after all! Stuff that normal roadies would just flat cross OFF the map turned out to be a little challenging at first, but after a few miles we started to get the feel for it. Simple shock-absorbsion methods came second-nature, like just sanding on the pedals a bit, relaxing the shoulders, etc. Pretty soon, all the anxiety wore away to reveal what we had set out for: fun.
I won't go into too many details here, because if you are reading this and are in the KC area, you need to come experience it first-hand. I'll be adding ride details to the webpage before long, since this is defintely one we'll ride again, probably next Spring. Assuming your gear is up to it, the next time you see a sign that reads "pavement ends", just keep on going! I don't think it makes you weird, I don't think it makes you extreme -- you aren't going to sacrifice your "roadie" status. After all -- it's still a road, right? Roll on!
Dare I say it, this ride ranks up in the top-five for 2005. The Summer Breeze was in there, the MS-150 was great, and a few others I wrote about, too --- but this one was something special.
Can't wait to do it again! YOU should be there. Really!
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The best part is it looks like very few cars. There is an event in far north Texas called "Tour De Gravel" that flirts with the Red River along gravel country roads. That experience is one of the prime inspirations for my moving to a cross bike even on the road.
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