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Dirt Road Heaven: D2R2 in New England

February 07, 2006

A friend and I have developed a lovely 2-hour 28-mile mostly dirt roads ride in this area of mid-Michigan.

But dirt road riding is catching on everywhere. People love riding on small roads. The scenery is great and there aren't any cars.

This kind of riding has always made good sense but it's been forgotten in the past 20 years due to the mad rush to ever more fragile and lightweight equipment suitable only for smooth roads and designed for racing, not smelling the roses.

Well, folks have seen that all is vanity in the world of fast lightweight, just as in everything else...and they've found a new fad to latch onto! : ) Hopefully it's not a fad but a return to roots.

Several companies are now designing a kind of bike that's been labeled the "Country Bike." They have light frames but plump tires and comfy geometry. They're tough enough for light loads---but mostly people will only carry saddlebags and maybe front lights and fenders on such bikes. Really, any tourbike will do. And mt-bikes ain't bad at this neither. (Though both tourbikes and mtbikes can easily be overkill and perhaps offer an overly harsh or heavy ride.)

Anyway, just go find yourself some country road or some two-tracks. OK, add in some trails if you like. Take the back way to town or to a nice picnic.

OR! ...You can head on over to New England and join the merrymakers there on their 100-mile supertough Deerfield Dirt Road Randonee! It travels farm lanes and two-tracks of rural New England. It includes tons of supersteep hills. Great scenery everywhere. Those who are fit enough for a real hard century ride should start with their 100-km shorter offering. Yeah, the big ride is a doozy and should be considered a max effort all-day affair for those who are ready. Even among those, leg cramps are common.

I wonder if it goes thru little towns. Take the back way in. That's what I would like. To me, scenery and culture should always mix. (Sprawl being the only thing that has no home nowhere---and which gets between town and country all too often these days, nuking and poisoning both and offering nothing itself---grrrr.)

The homepage has great descriptions and photos at its route info link (it doesn't look there will be much there just by looking at the homepage, but it is).

For a friendly little report on last year's ride, check out:


For more comment and a few more pics, see:


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