Author Topic: Does anyone know what gravel is?  (Read 2467 times)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #75 on: August 08, 2018, 09:13:43 am »
I suspect this means I spend rather too much time reading about bicycles online, rather than just riding them...
This is probably true of us all.  :-\
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #76 on: August 09, 2018, 01:39:58 pm »
Once upon a time there were bicyclettes, randonneuses and vélos de course. Bicyclettes had luggage racks, dynamo lighting and mudguards and could be ridden anywhere due to the fat tyres (provided you had superhuman strength) but were supremely successful at fetching the bread and and getting the eggs home over ruts and cobbles without making an omelette. Vélos de course did just that extremely successfully but wre less well suited to riding for non-course type things and completely inutile for carrying eggs anywhere (due to absence of mudguards, luggage facilities and comfy tyres). In the middle was the randonneuse, light frame and relatively tight geometry like a course with fat tyres , mudguards, dynamo lights and luggage racks - and a lot more gears suited to going more places faster than a bicyclette) Fans of the randonneuse claimed it was ideally suited to long randonnées like Thonon-Trieste with a lot of mountain and a certain quantity of unmade road - to be done with "sacoches'.

That was once. Certain USAnians invented Something called a VTT which somehow reclaimed the place of the bicyclette. They were cheap to buy from the Chinese but lacked mudguards, luggage racks and lights. They also posed a threat to the randonneuse because for some bizarre reason tyre manufacturers (and bike manufacturers) decided that USAnian was a better language for selling bikes than froggish (although a small band of irreluctible Gauls continued the battle against the foreign invaders). Vélos de course became the choice for all those who could count beyond 10 and wanted to go faster (in order to get where they wanted to go before their nether régions lost all feeling!)

This situation could not last of course. The once well-ordered world split asunder with VTTs that had (shock horror) suspension and would go to places their originators dreamt of (but not their detractors, of course). Along came VTCs which, along with cheapo Vtts, filled the void left by the bicyclette. Some even gained mudguards and luggage - although not very often dynamos. Vélos de course now needed a degree in computer science and cybernetics to go with the thighs of Superman/Wonderwoman but still progressed ever onward and upward. But what could replace the randonneuse??

Well someone came up with the idea of a bike that could go fast when needed, go places when needed, carry luggage when needed and even carry eggs without making omelettes (helped it must be admitted by modern styrofoam packaging). The dynamo is not yet obligatory. Some even have 650B tyres, to gain acceptance with the irreluctable frogs, although framebags still meet a bit of resistance compared to the Berthoud sacoche. It might be called a "gravel bike" but that's just for the USAnians, we all know that really it's a "randonneuse".

What's in a name - they're all bikes!! Now get out and ride.

Ps Julia I think you might find Thonon-Trieste is your sort of ride - but it is touring, mind.

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #77 on: August 09, 2018, 02:52:08 pm »
Never mind carrying eggs without making omelettes, sometimes it's the egos that get scrambled!
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #78 on: August 09, 2018, 04:18:22 pm »
the irony is that so called gravel bikes are crap for riding on gravel (an mtb with suspension or a fat bike are best bet). for gravel that is compacted and fine a normal road bike (even with 23mm tyres) does the job just fine, so there's no need to consider another type of bike. once the gravel gets coarse and loose you need proper wide tyres, otherwise the bike will just weave about with tyres digging in and it will be hard work just to keep moving and stay balanced. there are no bikes that ride pretty well on all surfaces (without a motor attached).

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #79 on: August 10, 2018, 07:50:29 am »
Once upon a time there were bicyclettes, randonneuses and vélos de course. Bicyclettes had luggage racks, dynamo lighting and mudguards and could be ridden anywhere due to the fat tyres (provided you had superhuman strength) but were supremely successful at fetching the bread and and getting the eggs home over ruts and cobbles without making an omelette. Vélos de course did just that extremely successfully but wre less well suited to riding for non-course type things and completely inutile for carrying eggs anywhere (due to absence of mudguards, luggage facilities and comfy tyres). In the middle was the randonneuse, light frame and relatively tight geometry like a course with fat tyres , mudguards, dynamo lights and luggage racks - and a lot more gears suited to going more places faster than a bicyclette) Fans of the randonneuse claimed it was ideally suited to long randonnées like Thonon-Trieste with a lot of mountain and a certain quantity of unmade road - to be done with "sacoches'.

That was once. Certain USAnians invented Something called a VTT which somehow reclaimed the place of the bicyclette. They were cheap to buy from the Chinese but lacked mudguards, luggage racks and lights. They also posed a threat to the randonneuse because for some bizarre reason tyre manufacturers (and bike manufacturers) decided that USAnian was a better language for selling bikes than froggish (although a small band of irreluctible Gauls continued the battle against the foreign invaders). Vélos de course became the choice for all those who could count beyond 10 and wanted to go faster (in order to get where they wanted to go before their nether régions lost all feeling!)

This situation could not last of course. The once well-ordered world split asunder with VTTs that had (shock horror) suspension and would go to places their originators dreamt of (but not their detractors, of course). Along came VTCs which, along with cheapo Vtts, filled the void left by the bicyclette. Some even gained mudguards and luggage - although not very often dynamos. Vélos de course now needed a degree in computer science and cybernetics to go with the thighs of Superman/Wonderwoman but still progressed ever onward and upward. But what could replace the randonneuse??

Well someone came up with the idea of a bike that could go fast when needed, go places when needed, carry luggage when needed and even carry eggs without making omelettes (helped it must be admitted by modern styrofoam packaging). The dynamo is not yet obligatory. Some even have 650B tyres, to gain acceptance with the irreluctable frogs, although framebags still meet a bit of resistance compared to the Berthoud sacoche. It might be called a "gravel bike" but that's just for the USAnians, we all know that really it's a "randonneuse".

What's in a name - they're all bikes!! Now get out and ride.

Ps Julia I think you might find Thonon-Trieste is your sort of ride - but it is touring, mind.
Another way of looking at gravel bikes, that might not occur to those of us not in the French retro/Jan Heine field. So what do the French press and trade call "gravel bikes"? Have they resurrected the term randonneuse, do they call them "vélo de gravier" (google tells me gravier is the word for gravel... ) or what?
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #80 on: August 10, 2018, 09:23:10 pm »
Quite frankly I haven't a clue what the french call a gravel bike. A fat bike is a "fat" so a gravel bike is probably "un gravel" but I don"t read cycling press over here any longer. With the slow adoption of disc road bikes and the slavish obsession with 23mm tyres I doubt many (outside the Confrérie des 650B) even know that such a machine exists. Someone turned up on one at a 650 ride complete with framebags and I think it was accepted as a modern take on a randonneuse. I will have to look at the write-up to be sure.

My text was a very personal view and not intended to be taken too seriously - but there may be a few grains of Truth somewhere in there.

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #81 on: August 11, 2018, 06:31:01 am »
Gravel, as aggregate used in paving and for concrete, is more valuable than all the gold ore around.  Price is low (but going up), but much more is needed than gold

Re: Does anyone know what gravel is?
« Reply #82 on: August 11, 2018, 04:12:20 pm »
"I tend to ride gravel bikes because I enjoy the added mild peril that comes with drop bars off road"
"Like me, you might enjoy the peril of cross bike fun on mountain bike trails, ... Certainly much of my own gravel riding is pushing at the boundaries of what’s really mountain biking, ... However, if you’re planning to ride mixed surface canal paths and quiet roads, then the [cx/gravel bike] will likely give them more confidence and comfort than a road bike, and more speed than a flat bar/hybrid option."
Some opinions from "Eve's Mummy" on grit.cx. The rest of it is more relevant to making bike components fit kids.
The earth is vast and beautiful and contains many miraculous places. (Chekhov)