Well, people have been riding on gravel / dirt roads longer than paved.
drwelby - well put. I appreciate your distinction. I don't have a specific or made for gravel bike but i do gravel riding on three of my bikes. A Litespeed Tuscany road bike (can fit 28's), Salsa Casseroll (my do everyting commuter, light tourer, dirt road bike) and a Ritchey Breakaway Cross. Finally, i'm not a fan of the term gravel grinding. My favorite roads in Georgia may have gravel but they can also be hard pack, double track or some combination with or without gravel. Hardpack can be a fast surface to ride on and the term "grinding" doesn't fit.
The bikes currently in my life:
'16 Raleigh RXS - '15 Lapierre Xelius EFi - '13 Marin Palisades Trail 29er - '83 Holdsworth Mistral
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