Don’t Take Your Gravel For Granted

My daughters had been spending the last week with my parents. They love the time with their grandparents. Nora my eldest, went so far as asking to stay five days longer. But like all good things, it needed to come to an end.

I had been itching for some gravel miles, so while loading the car for the drive over to get them, I decided to throw my Vaya on the bike rack. Great idea, I thought. I'll get up there and get my brother and a few friends together for a nice Saturday morning cruise.

That's when I had one of those, “I left the coffee pot on” moments and had to think for a second on what was bugging me. That sinking feeling hit me as I realized I had locked my bike onto my car rack and hadn't brought the key! The ride felt like it had ended before it even started.

While driving my inner torment grew to epic proportions so I decide to call up my buddy Jake over at Jake’s Bike, the local Salsa dealer in Alexandria, Minnesota. I told him my predicament and he said he had just the tool for the job. When I arrived, there was an extension cord snaked out the front door. He told me to back up to the door and handed me a case.

I open it to find an industrial-sized hand grinder with a fresh-looking cutting wheel. My brother held the cable out and I let er’ rip. Some sparks and a few seconds later, my Vaya was free!

I guess I shouldn't have taken my gravel for granted.

Friends Derek and Scott, along with one of my little brothers are in for the next days ride. It’s their home turf so they plan to take me on some of the Inspiration 100 course they just finished laying out. I was promised beautiful scenery and quiet roads.

The day dawned cool and promising. Fog was hanging over all the low areas of the farm country as my brother Lars and I drove to the meeting point. We started out early to beat the heat. It had been unusually warm lately with highs in the low 100’s. The Sun and I don’t get along so much thanks to my Scandinavian heritage, so the earlier the better for me.

The miles rolled by in quick succession. The low noise of the gravel under the tires and the chain whirring around was mesmerizing as we passed numerous small lakes and farms. The light conversation and cool breeze only made them tick by even faster. As the sun climbed higher in the sky, I could feel it on my face and neck and it reminded me that the ride was nearly over.

My mind started absorbing the peacefulness so I could store it and return to it at a later time.

Derek’s wife had hot Norwegian pancakes from the homeland waiting for us, along with hot coffee and bacon. The perfect ending to a perfect ride that almost didn’t happen.

This post filed under topics: E-Fred Gravel Vaya

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Eric Fredrickson

Eric Fredrickson

I've been working in shops since before I could drive a car. I feel blessed to be able to fulfill one of my passions here with Salsa. Give me a pair of 29r wheels, one gear, and some dirt and I will be happy. I like to keep it simple. I'm also a sucker for some gears and pavement on the back roads of Wisconsin where I live. When I am not biking, I enjoy spending my time with my BEAUTIFUL wife and daughter. Family-Bikes-Music, my passions are and always will be in that order.


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Jim C | July 12th, 2012

I had the sincere pleasure of meeting Jake while on a business trip to Alexandria last spring.  Great guy.  And he has a really nice shop.  Glad he was able to help you out, E-Fred.

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Jake's Bikes | July 12th, 2012

Jim I remember you stopping in. Thanks for the comment. I’m super excited about the Inspiration 100 race. This could become a big ride. Great area for riding. It’s all about the Experience! Thanks, Jake

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Jim M. | July 15th, 2012

What tires are you riding on your Vaya for gravel roads?

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E-Fred | July 16th, 2012

Hey Jim!
  I am riding the stock Schwalbe Marathon Mondial tires that came on my Vaya 3.  Actually the only thing I have changed on this stock bike is the stem length.
    Thanks for reading!

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MMS1 | June 6th, 2017

I like cycling on these dirt roads, looking at your photos and stories, it reminds me of my childhood, thank you so much
plz visit :

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