I know I profess to be a mountain biker but you do see me on something different from time to time, so I thought I’d so a little post about me and my flirtations with the curly bars.
Firstly let me put this out there LOUD and CLEAR – I hate riding on the road!
It’s my least favourite place to ride and I just hope I am a more considerate driver than most of the drivers that seem to pass me on my local roads. So why do I ride such a bike?
So this is a cyclocross (or CX) or gravel bike, not a road bike. That means I can (and do) ride it in places that are not suitable for your average road bike.
Someone told me a road bike would be good for fitness and winter riding. I’m not sure I ever really believed that but I first got interested in something like this when I saw pictures of bikes being ridden on the Tour Divide. Ok they are not cyclocross bikes, they are adventure bikes, rigid 29ers and basically sturdy mile munching cart horses. I liked the idea of this and as I explored and Googled around the topic I started to come across what I considered to be cool looking bikes with drop / curly bars but in muddy and dusty places. I was hooked!
So now what?
Well I often get the cyclocross bike out when I want a quick blast and don’t want to get too dirty, so I take in a few quite roads, have an urban explore and hit some tracks. Occasionally I go full off road and take it up the local hill, but mostly its road and gravel tracks.
I really honestly don’t enjoy the road bits. I’m not against the concept of road riding and I actually enjoy the speed and covering the distance – but I really hate being buzzed by inconsiderate motorists. Its pretty scary when a car passes within 2 feet of you at 40 miles an hour! But its a means to an end sometimes.
Connecting up some trail and gravel tracks with road is a necessity around where I live and is certainly easier on a cyclocross bike that a mountain bike.
But why the cyclocross bike? What’s so good about riding a cyclocross bike? Why not just ride your mountain bike?
- For starters it gets me off the road a little quicker! Making light work of the road sections.
- I don’t take a pack, travel light which is refreshing and simplifies my ride.
- It makes you very aware of where your wheels are going – line choice becomes very important when your wheel is only an inch wide instead of 2-3 inches!
- The bike is not forgiving off road so I think improves your bike handling skills
- Variety is the spice of life isn’t it?