At the Time We Just Called It County Road Riding
It was the spring of 1998, my roommate and close friend Doug Demusz had already been putting in some base miles on the frozen backroads around our hometown of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. I had modified a Trek 770 road touring bike with a flat bar and some lower gearing and installed a set of the original Moots Mounts, which enabled the use of cantilever brakes. This bike was made of Reynolds 531 USA steel tubing and could handle up to a 30mm tire. The bicycle was pretty sweet, I’d say weighing in around 22 pounds. I now had a tool that could more efficiently travel the county roads than my mountain bike and with the 30mm cyclocross semi-slick tires, have a nice increase in tire volume from the 23mm or 25mm roadie tires of the day. There were a few companies selling cyclocross bikes at the time but all my money was going into my mountain bike and this bicycle was real a treat!
The Original Moots Mounts allowed riders to use cantilever brakes on a caliper brake bicycle frame. This was the widget I used with great success on the Trek 770. (Thanks, Kent Eriksen!)
But it was that ride in the Fall of 1998 that opened the doors to what we called county road riding at the time.
Fast forward 20 some years and the term Gravel Riding is what this is now called. And it’s so awesome to see this sector of the sport get discovered and start to form such a unique community of riders.
I’m still crazy about the whole gravel thing and look forward to seeing what the next five years and beyond have for it…