The adventure continues.......in Miami. Of all places, this is the last place I thought I would end up. It is not a complaint by any means, there was some shock because I am not a big city guy. I like to be able to get away from chaos and Miami is chaotic at times....all the time. Though I quickly figured out that Southern Florida has a great resource for those looking to escape the busy roads and city....canals. A byproduct of water/flood management is hundreds of miles of gravel(ish) roads that parallel canals.
There is one near my home that I frequently ride, it is great on a Saturday morning because the paved roads to get there are not as busy. While most of the surfaces are pretty forgiving many of these roads have some gnarly stretches. Most of the roads are made from the fill created when cutting the canals. There is a ton of coral a few feet under the top soil. This means that there are some stretches that are unforgiving as chunks of coral rocks poke out of the ground as the surface erodes. There are a couple of things that I have done to mitigate this. The first is tires, this means that 40mm tires are the smallest that I can comfortably ride with out shattering teeth or getting pinch flats (which I did on a low pressure 40mm).
I love the Clement MSO in 40mm. They are smooth rolling and very nice feeling at lower pressure. However, I had one die so I ordered a set of Bruce Gordon Rock n' Road tires in a 43mm. These are a very nice tires with a tight center tread for a little lower rolling resistance but great traction in all conditions.
Life sucking and tire eating rock and gravel.
The next improvement I made was to the handle bars. I am on the third iteration but I think I have finally found what I am looking for. The Giant Revolt came with about a 44cm wide with a slight flare to the drops. Not bad but I was hoping for more, particularly when descending rough roads or trails. I picked up a used set of WTB Dirt Drops which were closer but not quite there. I wanted something that that felt natural in the drops. No weird curves where my palms rest. Then I saw it....
The Origin8 Gary Ergo Sweep OS has an amazing feel addresses my main concerns, a nice flare, adequate surface for my hands in the drops, and an amazing feeling of control and stability in the drops.
It took a little bit to get used to riding in the drops with the flare but the drops are amazing.
I don't mind the city too much, especially when only a couple of miles west is the Everglades. It is hard to believe that there are millions of people in the area and I love the isolated feel that the Everglades provide.