Gravel bikes

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Tom Kunich

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Nov 28, 2021, 12:49:37 PM11/28/21
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Since I have ridden on gravel with normal road bikes starting way back when a wide tire was a 23 mm I have been using my Douglas Ti as a gravel bike with tubeless 28 mm tires and 50 or 60 psi air pressure. This works very well until I discovered that since I have no balance these treadless tires can slip on deep gravel. And having no balance it is very difficult for me to control it and keep it on its wheels. That was the cause of my last crash and I am still healing though it is now only painful directly on the areas of greatest impact.

This informs me that I need a real gravel bike so I will be getting one and selling one of my collection to pay for it. I think that the Douglas Vector most easy to sell because people are buying light weight and it is a 16 1/2 lb bike. And it is a beauty with a new Look fork on it so that it is the ultimate in safety. The rear triangle is very solid carbon fiber that doesn't move in the least. In every regard a desirable bike except no one has ever heard of the brand name.

Roger Merriman

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Nov 28, 2021, 2:04:57 PM11/28/21
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It’s certainly easier to balance as the tires get bigger, though ironically
since my vestibular system is damaged I find bikes easier than walking.

I have spent a lot of time being poked/pulled about by young physios in
rehabilitation.

For yourself though may depend on the which bit of the balance system is
damaged, Vestibular does the heavy lifting but for myself I’ve been riding
off road over 40 years so though I can’t use the tube as what remains will
go into vertigo attack, and Christmas lights are Woah man, trippy!

But biking bar riding in a peloton my systems can cope.

I guess the question is do you have a fatter tyred bike could check the
balance on, and possibly find the reason for balance/vertigo symptoms?

Roger Merriman

Tom Kunich

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Nov 28, 2021, 2:40:21 PM11/28/21
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There are a few cyclocross frames I can buy and build on Ebay so it would be cheap with all of the parts I have laying about. If I can get 32-34 mm tires I would have enough traction under almost any condition to maintain my balance which is all but non-existent without a visual horizon. There is nearly a complete gravel or partly paved trail encircling the entire bay so that would be 100 miles.

Tom Kunich

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Nov 29, 2021, 10:57:28 AM11/29/21
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I did 34 miles yesterday and a little less than half of that was on the dirt. Surprisingly i discovered myself riding with no hands on a section of gravel without problem. Almost like I used to be able to do.

Roger Merriman

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Nov 29, 2021, 12:18:24 PM11/29/21
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Maybe just need to get used to the bike?

Got to be honest I never really learnt to take my hands off, it’s
fundamentally a bad idea MTBing which is what I am, and uk Gravel is
effectively using some of the less technical trails I use and used MTB both
now and way back.

Roger Merriman


Tom Kunich

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Nov 29, 2021, 1:42:11 PM11/29/21
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I don't think that it is getting used to the bike as much as perhaps a bit of balance returning. The Brain is a strange and marvelous thing. I could not travel more than a couple of blocks from my house when I was first recovering. Now I can not only go anywhere I want but I'm pretty good at tell which direction I'm pointed So my brain is realigning memory access and accessing areas of the brain that had been injured.

The medications are still necessary since I occasionally have a mini seizure but they can't do any damage with the medication in place. Though they aren't comfortable since they are composed of me have very negative thoughts about nothing in particular. I might be looking at a man walking down the street that seems to remind me of something that occurred to me. Though I don't even know what that might be nor why it should bother me. But these are rare occurring perhaps every couple of months and it only lasts for perhaps 30 seconds. Sometimes it is distressing enough that I will take an extra pill but I don't like to do that since it messes with my consciousness. I will feel slightly sick perhaps for two days.

sms

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Nov 29, 2021, 3:50:24 PM11/29/21
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On 11/29/2021 9:18 AM, Roger Merriman wrote:

<snip>

> Got to be honest I never really learnt to take my hands off, it’s
> fundamentally a bad idea MTBing which is what I am, and uk Gravel is
> effectively using some of the less technical trails I use and used MTB both
> now and way back.

I guess that I'll order some Schwalbe 700x38 G-One Bite tires and
magically turn my old touring bike into a gravel bike. No disc brakes
though.

Roger Merriman

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Nov 29, 2021, 6:00:23 PM11/29/21
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Some medication can give vertigo or somewhat alter perceptions.

A lot of what you describe sounds Vestibular ish. The brain is good a
retraining though has its limits, For myself though apart from group riding
cycling isn’t affected by the vestibular being damaged.

It’s stuff like public transport, crowds and so on that I struggle with or
simply can’t cope with.

Roger Merriman

Roger Merriman

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Nov 29, 2021, 6:14:12 PM11/29/21
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My experience with older bikes with similar widths tires etc, was the
limiting factor was the frame, particularly washboard type surfaces, where
you could feel the frame flexing and the bike would wander off line and
clearly not happy.

Did I happily use these older bikes etc? Well yes I’ve used various bikes
on gravel and similar for 40 + years and some still live in my folks shed.
And are hilarious bad when I take them for a wee spin up and down the
valley.

Roger Merriman

sms

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Nov 29, 2021, 8:55:20 PM11/29/21
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In September I rented what I thought was a gravel bike to ride a trail
in Vermont. 4130 Dbl Butted CrMo frame, 3x8 gearing, steel fork,
hydraulic discs, 27.5x47 tires, no suspension, and braze-ons everywhere.
Turns out it was an "urban" bike, not a gravel bike, I guess the biggest
hint was that it didn't have drop bars, and that gravel bikes have
38-42mm tires, not 47mm (how is it that tires are now specified in
inches for diameter and mm for width?). Also it included both a rack and
fenders. I was thinking of buying the same bike when I got back, but of
course it is not available anywhere in my area. If it's even still a
current model it's in a shipping container somewhere or in China.

Roger Merriman

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Nov 30, 2021, 5:40:52 AM11/30/21
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Flat bared gravel bikes are a thing, much like flat bared road bikes, as
hybrid has less aspiration.

Even within drop bars the line between all road/CX/Gravel is fairly rather
faint to put it mildly.

But I do like Gravel bikes since it’s what I’ve been doing for decades and
now have bikes that can cope with it! As have others lot of CX bikes where
sold and made for hacking around the woods than chasing others around a
park!


Roger Merriman

sms

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Nov 30, 2021, 11:23:55 AM11/30/21
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We have several high-use multi-use paths that are not paved; they would
not be suitable for a narrow-tire road bike (though not impossible in
dry weather) and a mountain bike would be unnecessary, so a gravel bike
or a wide-tire touring bike would be the best option.

The San Francisco Bay Trail <https://goo.gl/maps/95cAR7cmqy48TmH99> is
the only practical bicycle route between North San Jose and Google's
headquarters in Mountain View. It goes behind NASA/Ames/Moffett Field
(airport) and on the other side of the restricted area is US101 which
you can't ride on either. It would be a long detour to ride to work if
that unpaved path did not exist.

Frank Krygowski

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Nov 30, 2021, 12:49:06 PM11/30/21
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On 11/30/2021 5:40 AM, Roger Merriman wrote:
> sms <scharf...@geemail.com> wrote:
>>
>> In September I rented what I thought was a gravel bike to ride a trail
>> in Vermont...
>> Turns out it was an "urban" bike, not a gravel bike...
>>
> Flat bared gravel bikes are a thing, much like flat bared road bikes, as
> hybrid has less aspiration.
>
> Even within drop bars the line between all road/CX/Gravel is fairly rather
> faint to put it mildly.

The lines between different types of bikes sound something like the
lines between various "genders." Supposedly, nothing can be decided by
visible clues, nor by detailed physical examination. You have to ask.

I'm waiting for the day when each bike gets to pick its pronouns.

--
- Frank Krygowski

Roger Merriman

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Nov 30, 2021, 4:20:56 PM11/30/21
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To be fair most are quite easy most gravel bikes are fairly obvious, it’s
more bikes like mine on the edge between the 3.

But well it doesn’t really matter!

Roger Merriman

Roger Merriman

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Nov 30, 2021, 4:20:57 PM11/30/21
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That is the beauty of bikes, my commute is via some back streets, 3 parks
all quite different characters, from Royal with Deer and what not to
following a river to a Heath, and further up few miles of segregated old
bike path.

The drive is horrible, by public transport is literally hours and so on.

So the ability to have few nice routes to work is great.

Roger Merriman

Tom Kunich

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Dec 1, 2021, 11:20:02 AM12/1/21
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Only a college teacher could compare a bike with dramatically different measurements to a queer

Tom

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Dec 4, 2021, 1:40:28 PM12/4/21
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On 28/11/2021 19:04, Roger Merriman wrote:

> It’s certainly easier to balance as the tires get bigger, though ironically
> since my vestibular system is damaged I find bikes easier than walking.
>

I have an adventure bike and carbon road bike, almost identical
geometries. The main difference apart from the fat tyres is the weight,
about 5 kg.

My perception is that being 5 kg heavier with a lower centre of gravity
means the bike doesn't skip about so much when out of the saddle. I
think this adds a lot to perceived stability.


Tom Kunich

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Dec 4, 2021, 2:53:06 PM12/4/21
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Well, treadless 28's simply don't have enough traction for me in some conditions so I have to go to 32 knobbies to keep the wheels turning, I had a concussion that robbed me of my balance so the bike has to keep the wheels turning to balance itself. So I'll be changing to a real gravel bike and converting the Douglas Ti back to a road bike. This also means that I'll be selling off my Airborne so that I have room for the new bike.

Roger Merriman

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Dec 5, 2021, 11:36:21 AM12/5/21
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Weight can help for handling mainly with E MTB the extra weight helps the
suspension I’m told.

Though do loose the light/feeling.

In terms of tack standing and generally handling particularly slow speed my
MTB with its wide tires etc is very easy at low or zero to handle, the old
MTB commuter which is getting on for 10kg heavier isn’t bad but about the
same as the gravel bike for low speed stuff.

Tires geometry, bar width etc all do help/hinder if anything I’d say weight
hinders I’m more careful when the commute beastie is heavier.

Roger Merriman.
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