It would be difficult to overstate your enthusiasm for this new kind of riding. After all, it was highly inevitable that you join the movement. Flooding your Instagram feed harder than the most perfect sunset, it seems like everyone is doing it, because everyone is doing it. Yet you quickly feel the familiar burden of concern. Like every preceding trend, and those to follow, you find it profoundly unlikely that you will get dragged in. You weigh the options, mentally visualizing all the places you could ride while deleting, then adding, unneeded bike parts to your eBay shopping cart. Your pulse rises, which you become acutely aware of. And suddenly, due to the click of a pay now button, or some other outside force you succumb to the need for adventure. But you don't discount that what you're really looking for is an excuse to change the rhythm of your days. You check all your tracking numbers, something you do more often than you'd like to admit, take a sip of black coffee, and wait. You'll be out there soon enough, breathing in the dusty grit of earth.

You still prefer tarmac. The dark two-lane blacktop that often glares at you through the window of a moving car motivates you to find new routes to pedal. I'd like to ride that, you say, and set a pin in your Google Maps app for remembrance at a later time. But pavement is everywhere and you realize that for many cyclists good roads are a stone's throw away. Gavel roads, conversely, are not always close by. You wonder how to find one, or two, or a whole day's worth. It's become a requirement for rides to include as much of the loose aggregation of small rugged stones as possible. You look around your room, notice a few thing that need tidying up, and ask yourself how you'll tell your friends. Because you've ridden with them only on pavement, it might seem to them that the reason you changed was that you no longer desired their friendship, when in fact there are other reasons you switched to gravel. If only they could see the open tabs on your browser, with the custom all road frames and hydro disc brakes. Maybe then they'd understand? You value their friendship, and so your bike must reflect that in some small way.

Weighing the options between 27.5 and 650b, or are those the same thing? You're not sure yet. It's all so new. Do I want wider tires, you ask yourself, and then proceed to Instagram for shots of #roadplus, #allraod, and #compasstires. The specifications for gravel riding are overwhelming, but you know a guy who can help. He's into this sort of thing. He's the kind of guy who all other guys go to when they need to talk bikes. You feel comforted knowing him, which eases the stress of the new terminology. He says 650bx48 is best, and so you nod to the empty living room, stretching your arms above your head. A sigh of relief is heard, followed by what you think is solace, but you could be wrong because you're not sure you've ever felt it before.

You notice it's raining, not hard but insistent, and at cruel angles. The bike you are building, the one that requires so much rethinking of the concepts of cycling is, even with all it's new qualities, just a bike. Your friends will see this. They might even be envious. It will ride well, perhaps smoother than your other bike, and you will enjoy the wider handlebars and the softer PSI in your tires. Everything is pointing towards adventure. Another browser tab is opened and a quick search for 650b fenders is conducted in what you believe to be unimaginable speeds. Your guy says they are a must, especially for commuting. You write a note that says New Year's Goals - Commuting?, and close your laptop.

You should probably be working.


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