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Before gravel cycling. Your bicycle must be in good working condition, with no parts needing replacement when stepping up to the start line. Take it to your local bike shop. Tell them about your event. Bring them a six-pack of their favorite beer or soda. Watch magic happen.
With the exception of road crossings, there is no car traffic to contend with, making the Katy Trail a great choice for new bicycle travelers. More than half the trail follows Lewis and Clark’s pioneering route across the western United States. The trail is also included in the Adventure Cycling Association’s Lewis and Clark Route.
With gentle undulating terrain, the Katy Trail is great to tackle in sections or ride in its entirety. Bed-and-breakfasts, breweries, restaurants, and wineries have all begun catering to traveling cyclists along much of the trail’s length. A good portion of the route rolls along the banks of the Missouri River, offering shade from hot midwestern summer temperatures.
While certainly challenging, the surface of the Katy Trail is maintained well enough that road bikes with wide tires, touring bikes, cyclocross, and gravel bikes are all appropriate. In short, the Katy Trail is a great choice for all cyclists and their ambitions.
700C = 29 INCHES
This is by far the most common size on road bikes, cyclocross bikes, and gravel bikes. Using the same diameter rim, mountain bike companies also use this size, calling it a “29er,” the approximate overall diameter with a 2-inch tire. 650B = 27.5 INCHES This is a wheel size used on randonneuring bikes from the 1950s and ’60s. It was also used on many of the original mountain bikes.
It has found new life in the mountain bike world as a middle ground between 29er and 26er bikes, virtually eliminating 26 inches as a modern mountain bike wheel size. Gravel riders have begun to experiment with the rim size, using tires 47 to 50 millimeters wide (a bit less than 2 inches). This is the traditional mountain bike tire size and what you’ll find if you decide that a used mountain bike suits your needs best. Most new mountain bikes, however, use one of the two sizes listed above.
Not only is rim diameter important, so too is rim width. As you explore options online or at your local bike shop, pay attention to the internal, or bead-to-bead, width of rims. This is listed as a numerical figure followed by a capital C, with 19C meaning that the internal width is 19 millimeters. The width of the rim will affect the shape of the tire, since the width of the tire Bead seat diameter means “rim size,” but that’s just a starting point. The rolling diameter depends on tire choice, and rim width can affect tire profile dramatically
No discussion of gravel bike choices is complete without a close look at wheel and tire size. Once you commit to a bike, you also commit to its tire capabilities and limitations. This isn’t a bad thing, but understanding the different wheel/tire platforms will help inform your bike-buying decision. There are three wheel sizes that you’ll see when you begin to look at bikes that will work for gravel riding, whether you’re planning to buy new or used.
Because marketing people can’t come to a consensus on what to call a given size, the choices can be confusing. When describing a rim, road bike companies will describe it in metric terms, while mountain bikers stick to imperial measurements. This is maddening, especially when they are describing the exact same dimension.