I picked up a new set of gravel tires for my 2017 Specialized Diverge AL-Sport. Truthfully, there should be a class-action against Specialized for producing this bike. While the Sora 9-speed drivetrain is decent and everything works, the frame is only slightly better than useless (the fork, however, is fine). You can barely fit a 32-mm tire in between the chainstays. God help you if you get a little mud build-up on the tire with a 32, though. It’ll rub the paint and the aluminum right off the frame. Enter the Kenda Kwick K879 30-mm Cyclocross tire. Thankfully they’re thin enough with some decent tread that I don’t have to worry about that anymore. I really like that tire!
There’s nothing better than gravel biking in the fall, though, even on skinnier tires. With the cooling to cold temperatures (35 to 50 F or to <2C to 10 C), it’s nice to slow the train down and forget the need to go fast and just have some fun talking with friends while we ride. In my world, the season’s all but over and it’s time to sit back and relax a little bit. Oh, we’re not done yet, of course. There are plenty of miles out there for October and even into November and December yet… but the clock is ticking and we’re into full cold weather gear now. Arm warmers, long-sleeve jerseys, neck gaiters, leg warmers, tights and wool socks.
The true joy of riding dirt roads is avoiding traffic. Nobody drives a car on our dirt roads for enjoyment – they go the mile or two they have to to get to a paved artery and they’re gone. That means it’s rare to get passed by a car on a dirt road (we rode at least ten miles on dirt yesterday and didn’t get passed once). After a full season on asphalt, it’s always nice to experience the quiet solitude of dirt roads… and of cleaning my wife and my gravel bikes at least twice a week. Or more. Hang on, I have to get a tissue.
Anyway, I rolled out with my buddy Mike and Diane yesterday morning for some pre-breakfast groad. The new tires are fantastic and my bike is running excellently. We laughed and talked and generally had a great time of it. My wife had meetings all day, so it would have been better had she been there, but it was still fantastic – though I still had the same problem with the gravel bike that I have with my Venge and Trek; single bikes feel weird. And thank God for that.
The gravel season has begun…