Friday, August 22, 2008

Roads. Gravel. Dirt. Chip seal.

You name it. I like 'em. And there are lots of other folks around that like 'em. All you have to do is look at the proliferation of events like the Dirty Kanza, Trans Iowa and the great grand daddy, the Great Divide Route that take advantage of these off-the-beaten-tracks. Its even gotten to the point that Bicycling Magazine had a spot in the latest issue about hitting up the dirt on your road loop! The horrors....I jest!

Why do I like them so? They take you to places rarely seen by the casual person. Cars are a rarity. Of course yo do still see them occasionally, and they're typically going slower(unless you run into and Iowan - they know how to drive on gravel) Riding sketchy surfaces on skinny tires makes you learn to handle the bike, become comfortable with it floating beneath you. Downhills of a sudden interesting endeavors.

You see farms. Actual working farms. Friendly waves are easy to come by. Conversations are sometimes even easier to come by. Its not often some of these roads get traveled, and a new face is welcomed.

You pedal along streams on your left, and sheer limestone walls on your right. Pedaling past pastures so green it hurts. Pedaling through tree tunnels, with cool moist air acting as a natural air conditioner on hot summer days. 

Go to flickr and there's even a group dedicated to the Backroad. I find myself browsing through there frequently. 

Ok readers, its time to do yourself a favor. Go out and find a gravel road, and take it all in. I feel like you'll be addicted, just like me, in no time.

Listening to: SO much better than I love the internet!

1 comment:

Joe said...

Great post!! You nailed it! I gave up road riding years ago because of the traffic. After hearing about the first Trans Iowa, I thought I'd give gravel a try... and I LOVED it.