Gravel Metric Update

So we’re doing some pretty exciting things this year.

For the first time ever, the Metric is moving.  Not far, but it’s moving.  For every year since its inception, the Metric was hosted out of a parking lot in beautiful DeKalb, Illinois.  While we love DeKalb, we’ve always wondered what it would be like to have a more rustic start, closer to gravel, that avoided the several-mile stretch on busy state highways.  This year, we’re going forward with that.

The ride will start and end on a farm just a couple miles outside of Waterman, Illinois.  We’ll provide maps and an exact address as we get closer, but for your trip planning purposes, plan on being about 5 minutes (by car) outside of Waterman.  And here’s the deal…

We’re starting and ending in a beautiful, mature oak grove, about 1/4 mile back from the road, with a winding creek running through it.  It’s scenic and natural, and the start and finish will both be on a grass lane that runs back to the woods.  This ride will begin and end on a b-road.  We’ll have some nice tents, tables and chairs, and of course catered food and beer.  We’ll have merchandise.  We’ll have portapotties.  But there are some things we won’t have…

We won’t have running water.  We won’t have buildings.  We won’t have the restrictions of starting and ending in a City.

We are planning on having tubes and small parts available, thanks to the loving support of Comrade Cycles and Heritage Cycles.  We’re even working on having some demo bikes at the event–that’s TBD.  We’re planning on having some water available too…but with an unknown number of riders, we can’t plan on having water for everyone, so plan on bringing your own.  (And for that matter, if you are attending, please register on the Facebook page so we can get a head count for estimated food/beer needs).

Here’s the deal.  Cyclists are like a big family.  I’ve trusted other cyclists in a lot of ways that I don’t trust the world at large.  So the farm that we’re starting and finishing at?  It’s my brother’s house.  We’re going to be parking cars in his yard, and hosting the event in his woods.  We will have volunteers to help point parking cars in the right direction, and to help get you pointed at the woods and such.  But I’m putting this out early and I’ll be repeating it often–we’re being invited onto private property by a very gracious property owner.  Please treat the property with respect.  Please do not engage in nudity in the yard.  (Nudity in the woods is up to you).  Please do not leave trash or debris in the yard.  Please do not drive in areas that you’re not pointed towards.  Please act incredibly respectful to the property owners (if you see them).  Please do not go into any of the buildings on the farm.  Anyone going into a building will be kindly asked to pack up their bikes and leave–no warnings, no questions, no exceptions.  This is a working farm with equipment and supplies that are both expensive and dangerous.

The area we’ll be starting/finishing from and eating in is a woods–it will be mowed, but it will not be a perfectly manicured lawn.  You may wish to consider that as you evaluate post-ride apparel.

At the end of the event, we’ll ask for help with cleanup and teardown.  Please remember that it’s all unpaid volunteers putting the event on, and that we do the event to be awesome, and to raise money for advocacy.  So please pitch in a hand and help with teardown.  Please also come prepared to pay for your food/beer, and if you’re so inclined to be awesome, to make a contribution towards our advocacy efforts.  We have made a conscious decision to not charge for our events, because we’ve found that you all, as riders, are a generous lot.  We appreciate your support, and we try to show our appreciation by continuing to do awesome events and advocacy.  Check the Axletree website for more details on that.

We will have t-shirts, bottles and a very small supply of Axletree kits on hand.  We ask that you bring cash if at all possible.  If that is not possible, we may not be able to accommodate you, but we’ll do our best.  Pricing and related information will be released shortly.  We will release the waivers in advance as well–printing your own copy would be appreciated.  Routes will be released at least a week before the event, with cues and GPS files.  At this point, it does not appear that we will be selling cue sheets, so come prepared.  We do ask that if you pre-ride anything, you not ride on private property until the day of the event.

We’re looking forward to seeing a whole bunch of you join us at the farm, and we’re looking forward to everyone having a great time.  We’re also hoping to show how awesome cyclists are, so that we can continue to host this event at new and better locations each year.  Come out and ride with us.

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Ride Axletree Kits Available

Those sparky geniuses over at Axletree have come up with this year’s kit design.  If you’re showing up at the Gravel Metric, give some thought to showing up all schnazzy in an Axletree kit.

Linky to Kits…


Also, for the most up to date info on the Gravel Metric, check out the Facebook page!


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Mark your calendars…

(tap) (tap) (tap)

Is this thing on?

The Gravel Metric will ride again.  Mark your calendars.

Sunday, May 29, 2016.  

Full details to be provided.  Expect something old, something new, something gravelled, something true.

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Before the long sleep.

We bid you goodnight, friends and followers.

It’s time for us to sleep.

If you scroll down this blog, you’ll see a pattern.

Build up – prep -promote – Gravel Metric – sappy post – sleep.

In our estimation, there are about eight months of the year that folks don’t give a hot hoot about the Gravel Metric. And that’s ok, because you have to live in the now, and the GM is only in the now for a little while each Spring.

It starts in March or so. The trickle of traffic starts to come in via dusty links on the web. We get an occasional email asking why the next GM is on a Tuesday…

And then we get to work. The actual planning of the event gets easier each year, so we tend to be less and less vocal about it as time goes on. The GM becomes more central in the attention of those who enjoy these types of things once the weather starts to change.

On our side of the table, things get real nutty for a few weeks and then, after the big weekend at full capacity, the Gravel Metric comes and goes. We take a shower, say our thank-you’s, and hunker down for the long aestivation.

It's ok, no one knows what aestivation means. Look it up. It's neat. Go ahead, it's ok.

It’s ok, no one knows what aestivation means. Look it up. It’s neat. Go ahead, it’s ok.

Then this, the last post, sits here like a “Do Not Disturb” sign until we wake up again.

And, as we can see by the traffic stats, we’re not disappointing too many people. The week after the event, Google seems to forget we exist.

Screen Shot 2015-06-03 at 3.21.30 PM

So, while we’re asleep, and you’re here, maybe you should consider doing these other events we host, too:

The Night Bison – 55ish miles of gravelish terrain starting at Sundown. Labor Day weekend at NCC.

The Ten Thousand – 125+mi of 10-11,000′ of elevation gain in NW IL.

See you next year?

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Thank you thank you thank you and you’re welcome.

We wanted to thank everyone for a phenomenal event last Sunday.


We are still putting ourselves back together, so our words will be few.

Thank you all for coming out despite the rain. Everyone we talked to was very kind with their words and rode respectively. We were able to recoup our costs for the day and even raise some funds due to your generosity. Thank you for your support.

Our friend Ken posted a great gallery of pics from the day on his Flickr page, so you should go check those out.

Thank you to all our sponsors who came out and rode with us, too. Jamey Driscoll once again took the “win” by getting into the food line before anyone else. It’s hard to win a race that technically doesn’t even have a finish line, but he did it again!


Photo by Paul Anderson







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Last minute bits to chew on.

Hey everyone.
We’re wrapping up the final details around here and we have a few reminders for you:

1. Please come prepared. We will not have enough water to fill 1200 waterbottles. There are no guaranteed places to refill your bottles on the course, so be prepared to carry 3-4 bottles.

2. We will be getting a police escort out of town leaving NCC at 9am. Please be prepared to roll out with the group. Position yourself appropriately in the corral so as not to be jostling during the neutral rollout. (This generally leads to premature shenanigans). We will be able to roll without stopping all the way to the first bit of gravel. During this neutral leadout, it is absolutely unacceptable to swerve into the oncoming traffic lane in order the jockey for a better position. Stay to the right of the yellow lines. We will have a line of Axletree folks herding the group and watching out. Don’t be the juicebag that gets caught doing this or we’ll put gum in your hair.


3. Once we hit the gravel, we’ll be halting the start until the whole group has made the turn. At that point, we’ll open the course and you can get wild.

4. It looks like we might have a spot of rain on Sunday, so please come prepared for it. Ride safe, have fun, and please stick around for food and drinks even if it’s raining. We’d prefer not to lose our funds for all those meals.

5. We’re very humbled and thankful to have so many people rsvp’d and so many pre-orders for GM goods. Thank you for your support! Please be patient with the volunteers on Sunday – this will be, by far, our biggest gravel event to date and we’re a small crew.

Please let us know if you have any questions!

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Good goods for the common good.

We’re lining up some things to sell at the Gravel Metric and we’d like to know if you want some. Click here to get right to it, or stay on the line for more information.

We worked with some friends in Omaha to come up with some new branding for the Metric this year. It was a fun project.

The main design for the t-shirts comes from some of the research we did into old advertisements in DeKalb. DeKalb is the home of barbed wire, and the apparatus you see here was called “The Rattler”. It was a tool used to tension barbed wire between fenceposts. We thought it was very apropos.

Screen Shot 2015-05-06 at 9.39.01 AM


We made men’s and women’s t-shirts in lieutenant green. Pre-order here.

Screen Shot 2015-05-05 at 3.35.52 PM

As is our custom, we are printing bandana cue sheets. We dig this idea, since no amount of rain, sweat, blood or mud will take the ink off of them. And they are a great memento. We will nor promise to have printed cue sheets, so we recommend ordering one.

2015 bandana

Our generous sponsors, Moots and Clement, contributed towards a run of Purist MoFlo bottles for the event. They will be available for $10ea at the Metric, but you can pre-order them 2 for $15 here. Purist22_f

All of the above goods are being sold to raise money for Axletree, our non-profit dedicated to Events, Advocacy, and Awesome. We have no paid officers and get no perks from the non-profit. All of the funds go to our advocacy and events. This month alone, we have worked with multiple community foundations to provide 20 helmets to the local library and 20 bikes and helmets to people who need them most in DeKalb. We excited to host events like the GM to make these things happen. We appreciate your attendance, but we also greatly appreciate your support in buying our goods and donating at the event.

If you appreciate what we’re doing and want to get all of the goods together, we are offering the AXLETREE LOVE BUNDLE – including a t-shirt, 2 bottles, a bandana and an added donation to Axletree. Thank you in advance for clicking hereGM BUNDLE

Pre-ordering all of these is good for a number of reasons. Four, to be exact:

1. You actually get it, in your size, for sure. This guarantees we don’t run out of the item in your size. This is important. 

2. We will have it ready at the start so you don’t have to wait in a (long) line like a sucker. 

3. We will sleep better knowing we didn’t just order a pile of goods no one wants. 

4. We will share your name in lights (twitter, at least) if you buy a LOVE BUNDLE.

So please, click here and show your support. We are looking forward to it. 



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