So I feel like the kid in the 1950s pot commercial; I rode gravel once and now I’m hooked and my whole life has been turned upside down. I just can’t see the road the same. I now see cars and replace them with trees, signal lights are now steep hills, cement streets are now dirt paths… Everything has flipped and I love it.
I had tried cross and it was plenty fun. Not like every day fun, but fun once-in-awhile-fun. I will/must/don’t want to admit how bad I am on a mountain bike. On a road bike is where I was the most comfortable. Gravel does not come natural for me even if I’ve tried most of what cycling has to offer. For me it’s not the descents because I’m not all that confident in my skills. It’s the views as I suffer and drag my 200 pound butt up these climbs that normally lead to some hike-a-bike situations. The climbing can be brutal but like the Instagram inspirational quote with a majestic background says, “It’s just a hill, get over it.” If you can, then you will get a new perspective; your eyes will open to everything you’ve missed on a road bike or a mountain bike.
On a road bike you ride with your eyes wide shut. That’s the appeal for me, a lot of it is just not thinking and just going; you can zone out on a climb and even forget about the views. On a mountain bike you are more aware but there is still a level of letting the bike do it’s job and going for it. The closest thing to riding gavel (on a rigid bike with drops), in my opinion, is riding a fixed gear bike. On a fixed gear bike you have to be aware of everything around you. From the cars to the road conditions, the signal lights to the pedestrians, you are on full alert all the time. Not having real brakes will do that to you. Gravel is somewhat like that, you have an idea of control but it’s more controlled chaos then precision.
The real beauty of gravel [(…and I get a ten-cent commission every time I type G R A V E L)- Gravel] riding is that it’s not just about riding, hiking is also a big part of the experience. On a road bike you can take another route, on a mountain bike you have a lot of gearing and a more capable bike, so when you get to a section that’s above your pay grade you either push yourself or hike-a-bike. You go on a ride and you really don’t know if you are going to be able to ride every section of it. How much of a route you can manage changes as you improve and get more confident/stronger. I tend to fall more on the climbs than the descents. I’ve also done a lot to improve my gearing.
Nonetheless, gravel is my new obsession. So much so that this summer I am planning a Summer Adventure Gravel Series (SAGS) around the San Gabriel Valley in Southern California. The adventure part is that there will be no routes given out. We will have to stay together, this will help avoid douchebagery. This is not a race. This is not about being first, fast, or better. This is about the people next to you, the landscape that surrounds you, and the route in front of you. Aside from maybe the Cannondale Slate [(with a gearing upgrade) no pun intended] there will not be a perfect bike for every situation. After, I hope we question our bikes but not our time in the saddle. I’m currently doing recon for the S.A.G.S ride- details will come.
Hello Bike Commuters! May is here and you know what this means: It is bike to work month! Funny thing is, some bike commuters don’t give a shit because “every month is bike to work month”. Party poopers.
Anyhow, I have “bike to work month/week/day” to thank for trying bike commuting over 10 years ago. In fact, thanks to “B2WM”, CommutebyBike.com was born and after we were unceremoniously kicked out from CBB, BikeCommuters.com was created for your reading pleasure.
I like B2WM because all of the free stuff we can get, for example, Metrolink (the train service I use) is giving us FREE rides from May 15 to May 19. You can also find lots of freebies on Facebook, just make sure you follow your area’s bicycle organizations.
B2WM also promotes more bicycle advocacy, I like that. So party poopers, celebrate bike to work month! After all, mother’s day, father’s day or Christmas is only ONE day.
Hello Bike Commuters and fellow social media enthusiasts! Have you ever noticed our Facebook “live video events”? Well you should! Art and I usually head out to different cycling events that we think it would be of interest to our readers/viewers. In case you missed them, here are the videos:
From Pasadena, here is the video of my visit to URB-E:
The local Giant rep visited my LBS, here is a video of all of the new 2017 Giant Road bikes:
A few videos from the Long Beach Electric bicycle expo:
Make sure you follow us on Facebook for more upcoming live videos!
Welcome to our 3rd post of 2017! Yeah, I went on a small rant last week but it makes my blood boil every time I read anti-cycling comments on social media. The sad truth is that some of these “keyboard warriors” do manifest their aggressive behavior on the road, they forget that some of us do have families and that killing a cyclist is killing a human being.
But I digress. You know how I always keep bragging that it never rains in Southern California? Well, it has been raining for the last 3 weeks ruining any chance of a bike commute or along ride. However, I did squeeze in my first ride of the year; a total 1.8 miles that kicked my ass.
These were no ordinary miles, this was also no ordinary ride; it was my first Cyclocross race. Before I go into the dreadful details of my performance (or lack thereof) I want to mention what an awesome job the Inland Empire Biking Alliance is doing. This is my second organized event that I attend that is organized by the Inland Empire Biking Alliance and I am very impressed by their organization and ride amenities. If you are a cyclist that lives in the I.E., I highly recommend you joining their organization.
So back to my Cyclocross experience, it was a shit load of fun! We were taught the basics of cyclocross and then we raced one lap around the track. Unfortunately for me, I had been sick the week before so my lungs gave up 3/4 of the way and ended second to last. It’s OK, the experience was worth my 6 dollar entrance.
What is next now that cyclocross is over? There is another ride that the Inland Empire Biking Alliance is organizing called the “Redlands Rossa Strada IV” which is a combination of pavement, gravel and singletrack, perfect for a cyclocross bike!
We will get back to posting commuting articles once I start riding again, sorry but I just hate riding in the rain.
Here’s a press release we got the other day — it may be of interest to Minnesota residents and others who are looking for ways to celebrate National Bike Month:
‘Bike Mom’ Project to Encourage Women, Kids to get on Bikes in Minnesota Eight-week initiative includes a content series, events, and a major bike gear giveaway
ST. PAUL, Minn. (May 13, 2014) â€“ Pedal Minnesota, in partnership with Minneapolis-based Monopoint Media, have launched a project to encourage women, moms, and kids to ride bikes. It launched on Mother’s Day, May 11. Focused on a Minnesota audience, the “Bike Mom” project runs for eight weeks. It includes a series of articles published on PedalMN.com, social media contests, event appearances, and a major grand prize gear giveaway. The project has a goal to inform and motivate women and moms to bike in Minnesota. In addition to serving as an information resource, the project will feature 5 to 7 “ambassadors.â€ The ambassador moms will document their experience biking with kids on social media and on the PedalMN blog. A major component of the project is a promotion called “The Mother Of All Bike Gear Giveaways.” More than 10 companies have donated gear, including bike seats, kid trailers, scoot bikes, apparel, helmets, and a mom-oriented bike model for the winners.
Minnesota is widely recognized as a top place to ride a bike. Bike trails, on-road bike lanes, and other infrastructure abounds in the Twin Cities as well as out-state.
All “Bike Mom” content and the giveaway contests will be hosted on the Pedal Minnesota site. Go to www.pedalmn.com for more information on the initiative.
ABOUT PEDAL MINNESOTA
Pedal Minnesota is an unprecedented collaboration of state agencies and private organizations to encourage more people to get on bikes more often, in Minnesota. The partnership includes Explore Minnesota, the Minnesota departments of Health, Transportation and Natural Resources, the Bicycle Alliance of Minnesota, the Parks and Trails Council of Minnesota, and the National Park Service. Pedal Minnesota encourages all types of biking, from leisure to commuting. PedalMN.com serves as a go-to resource for information on bicycling, including mapping tools, lists of biking events, personal tips and trip ideas from bicyclists across the state.
ABOUT MONOPOINT MEDIA
Monopoint Media LLC, founded in 2006, is a creative agency focused on outdoor, sports, and active lifestyle brands. The company (MonopointMedia.com) is based in Minneapolis and works with brands to build video, stories, micro-sites, social-media projects, and custom events. Monopoint Media owns and operates GearJunkie.com, a widely-read blog covering gear, the outdoors, and active lifestyle topics.