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Anyone ride gravel?

djentleman

Speeding Up
Mar 6, 2021
57
71
I’ve been taking both my Domane and my Fairdale along different rivers in Tokyo with a mix of gravel, bitumen, dirt and paving.

Followed those rivers up to Lake Tama we talked about and did the loop of Lake Sayama dodging oldies spread out across the trail. If you just keep the chain fence on one side it seems to make a decent ride. Strava has a tough job sometimes routing when taking a mix of surfaces, and I seem to struggle a bit with Komoot.

Was good to take the river route most of the way out to the lake avoiding those busy roads although I did end up on the Tama cycling road but left it as soon as I could. They’ve made a pedestrian path and separate bike path but it’s a free for all.

Today on an Arakawa ride to Kawagoe took some detours through rice field dirt/gravel paths which was fun. Satellite view has been helping me to find some quieter roads in Saitama closer to Tokyo.
View attachment 31621
I was planning on a kawagoe loop last weekend but was unable to go in the end, I'll have to check out these side roads next time i go there

There is also a nice gravel track that comes off of arakawa/irumagawa at the bridge to the west of kawagoe (入間大橋) , but unfortunatley it dead ends after a few km
 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
232
318
I went up the gravel climb in Kinasa, Nagano that's on the Myoko Gran Fondo course yesterday. We did it in the 2020 direction and just on road bikes with 25c. It's a tough climb, about 450 vert at close to 8% if you include the steep concrete at the bottom. The gravel was quite rough in parts, but was mostly dry and made a fun change from climbing regular rindo. That particular road opens up onto big views of the Togakushi mountains, which are really gnarly and otherworldly. Andy's team flew up this climb last year in the event.

The plan this year is for the Gran Fondo is to go in the opposite direction, so that will bring its own challenges. I don't mind climbing gravel on skinny tyres, but I'd want something fatter going down. You can go much faster with less anxiety and more recovery, so it's win-win-win.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,990
3,175
I went up the gravel climb in Kinasa, Nagano that's on the Myoko Gran Fondo course yesterday. We did it in the 2020 direction and just on road bikes with 25c. It's a tough climb, about 450 vert at close to 8% if you include the steep concrete at the bottom. The gravel was quite rough in parts, but was mostly dry and made a fun change from climbing regular rindo. That particular road opens up onto big views of the Togakushi mountains, which are really gnarly and otherworldly. Andy's team flew up this climb last year in the event.

The plan this year is for the Gran Fondo is to go in the opposite direction, so that will bring its own challenges. I don't mind climbing gravel on skinny tyres, but I'd want something fatter going down. You can go much faster with less anxiety and more recovery, so it's win-win-win.

That climb was quite rocky from what I remember.

I wouldn't want to descend it on narrow tyres or rim brakes.

I'm running 43mm tyres on my new gravel bike which is a game changer.

In addition to Myoko, this gravel event is definitely one for the calendar next year.

Cheers, Andy

 

speedwobble

Scorpions - I can't get enough!
Jun 26, 2017
232
318
Yeah, it was good the road was dry. We got up it with no punctures, well done Conti GP 4000 and 5000, but our tyres wouldn't last long doing that often.

My son goes to school on a gravel bike, a GT Grade I got second hand. Its an XXXS, but the stack and reach are only about 30mm off my Canyon and I could probably ride it with a big stem and seatpost. That'll take 35c block tyres. I must say doing a super tough Gran Fondo I'm never going to win on a child's bike with Shimano Claris has its own appeal. Otherwise I suppose I could hack a rigid mtb fork onto my disc road bike and go big in the front. I can get a 32c block tyre on the rear, but as is, a 32c slick is all I can get on the front with the normal fork.
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,990
3,175
Another big gravel ride on Sunday.

We had our local "Gururin 200km" road event on Sunday. I decided to try and do the same distance on forest roads. 5000m elevation for my troubles!

I put videos, photos and a ride report on the Imezi blog.


GORAN KUDASAI!

Andy
 

djentleman

Speeding Up
Mar 6, 2021
57
71
Would anyone be interested in a sayamako gravel group ride? next month maybe
 

djentleman

Speeding Up
Mar 6, 2021
57
71
I'm thinking meet at the spaceship on arakawa and head over to sayamako via those gravel rivers
 

djentleman

Speeding Up
Mar 6, 2021
57
71

an interesting strava group seems to have appeared today (I didn't make it) - i posted the sayamako ride to it, so hopefully some people from there will join too
 

TheAussieinJapan

Maximum Pace
Apr 15, 2014
222
378
I just ordered a new pair of tyres for my profile pic bike, my Fairdale Weekender.
Visited Matthew Cycles in Asagaya looking to get some Teravails but they didn't have the ones I was after and couldn't order as suppliers in Japan are out of stock and don't known when more will come. Sounds like they are struggling with lots of parts and even bikes.

They are a stockist for Salsa bikes, which make sweet sweet gravel bikes, and are actually the manufacturer that kicked off the whole gravel bike scene.
So in the end after a bit of searching online I picked a pair of IRC Boken 40mm tyres. Never used before, they arrive tomorrow.

 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,990
3,175
I just ordered a new pair of tyres for my profile pic bike, my Fairdale Weekender.
Visited Matthew Cycles in Asagaya looking to get some Teravails but they didn't have the ones I was after and couldn't order as suppliers in Japan are out of stock and don't known when more will come. Sounds like they are struggling with lots of parts and even bikes.

They are a stockist for Salsa bikes, which make sweet sweet gravel bikes, and are actually the manufacturer that kicked off the whole gravel bike scene.
So in the end after a bit of searching online I picked a pair of IRC Boken 40mm tyres. Never used before, they arrive tomorrow.


Boken are a great multi surface tyre. Good rolling resistance and puncture protection. The only downside is they lack a bit of grip on technical downhills. I've used both the 36mm and 40mm versions. They actually came out bigger on my rims which are wide rims, but hold true on narrower rims.

This year I have been using Boken Double Cross which for pure gravel are the best tyre I've found yet.

For Gran Fondo Myoko which is 110km onroad and 30km offroad, I've put on some IRC SERAC EDGE which is the exact same tread as the standard Bokens but a narrower tyre at 32mm.

Andy
 

djentleman

Speeding Up
Mar 6, 2021
57
71
anyone used 43mm gravel kings? considering them after my schwalbe allrounds wear out
 

andywood

Maximum Pace
Apr 8, 2008
2,990
3,175
anyone used 43mm gravel kings? considering them after my schwalbe allrounds wear out

Just my experience. Good rolling resistance and nice grip.

But puncture protection is poor.

However the most alarming thing is that I've had two tyres warp due to internal deterioration of the tyre (both relatively new tyres inflated to 2 and 2.5 bar).

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Andy
 
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