If you’ve been thinking that you might want to try cycling on gravel, I offer a couple of options out of Jefferson Iowa. We’re located about 60 miles northwest of Des Moines at the far end of the Raccoon River Valley Trail. Between the trail and hundreds of miles of gravel roads that wind in and out of the river valley, this is paradise for cyclists who are looking for low traffic options.
Most of our gravel roads are graded, though we also have plenty of B Roads (unmaintained) as well. For most rides, a cyclocross bike with 700c x 38 tires or wider will do the job. I generally ride a Salsa Fargo with 29″ x 2.25″ mountain tires and they provide a nice ride on just about any surface. The surfaces you’ll be riding on are generally not suitable for a road bike, and a full suspension mountain bike is overkill. A front suspension fork might be something to consider but it isn’t really necessary in most cases.
I offer half and full day tours ranging from as short as 20 miles up to a gravel century. I’ve ridden just about every road in Greene County and many roads in the surrounding counties, so if you’re looking for something particular in a route such as hills, twists, turns or long flat stretches, I can find it for you.