It’s been a while since the laatste time I rode the roads of my hometown. This time I went in search of what was a commonplace feature of our local roads: gravel. Turns out a good portion of what was once today’s terrain of choice is now chip-seal. Which isn’t actually terrible since I’m looking to ride crap roads regardless.

Not sure how I managed it, but there’s not a bit of flat in this route. I’m either going up or going down, and I loved every second of it. 22 miles with 2358 feet of climbing (Strava)—voor me that’s pretty good.

Note: all images taken with iPhone 4 and post-processed on Aperture using VSCO Film (Visual Supply Company) Fuji Superia 400++. I’m really digging these emulations.


The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Driving
I-95 North, then left.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Calorie Preload
The Bug and I were pretending we were eating these giant chips. Admit it, it’s cute.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Gravel Ready
Das Gunnar with the freshly installed H+Son TB14 wheels and Specialized Roubaix Armadillo Elite tires.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Descent
Out the gate and down a hill. Prophetic theme for the day.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - No Mow
Creepy backwoods signage.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - This Guy
This guy. Hopefully he didn’t get squished.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur One
North McNabb was completely unexpected. Turns out it was exactly what I was looking for—long and hilly and rocky and dusty and turny.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Safety Orange
The Flash Orange Lazer Helium was a must so the hunters would see me.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - El Burro
Los Burros (for @cdelinks).

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Too Remote
Signs that this road might be too remote.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - After Descenting
After the descenting begins the hilling.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Silence
Solitude and silence. Okay, maybe not silence—birds/wind in the trees and a stream with waterfalls made a sweet white noise machine.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Golgatha
Golgatha.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Pennsyltucky
Oh hai. My foray into Pennsyltucky was brief yet memorable. Back to Merlin, hon.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Redneck Street Art
Actual redneck street art. Rural visionary.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Distance
Way in the distance, on top of that hill—I’m going there.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Flat Not Flat
False flat is false (flat not flat).

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur Two
I’ve done Jones Road before, but from the other direction which is mostly downhill. This would diametrically opposed to that.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur Three
North Quarry Road isn’t called actually called north. But it is north of MD136. Also, it was a disappointment.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Dead End
Dead end. Probably to stop people from doing the cray up here.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur Four
South Quarry Road provided the necessary remedy to its crap counterpart. Speed made this one interesting. As did the random shirtless Xterra-looking dudes running in the middle of nowhere.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Deer
Among the amber waves of grain and/or hay is a deer. Seriously!

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur Five
Red Road was a fork of Quarry that got a bit moar gravelly. Then it went downhill from there.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Downhill
See? Downhill. Then it got turny and sketchy and abandoned trailery in the dark places.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Bones
Sweet half-eaten, not crushed, intact rear paws and fuzzy tailed raccoon carcass.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Redneck Art, Again
Moar redneck art—nice markmaking. Perhaps this one was a fan of Cy Twombly?

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - 1979
Smashing Pumpkins.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Unique Fixer-Upper
Unique fixer-upper.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Cat 4
Apparently this climb is a Category 4 according to Strava. With a long 10-12% grade I can see why.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur Six
Reverse Quarry Road was only slightly uphill. Which was perfect after that laatste hellingen.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Secteur Seven
Back down Jones Road would’ve only merited a 3 star rating, but the moment where I started thinking about how to fall on gravel changed that.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Canopy Doping
Oh look, yet another gravel road bathed in the dappled light from the lush canopy above. #canopydoping

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Red & Neck
At the corner of Red & Neck.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Little
The road I grew up on. Yes, it is little.

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Voor Fun
Just voor fun, down Little Road then immediately back up this monster. It hit 22% just around that corner. MY LEGS!! THEY BURN!!

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Roasting Or Toasting?
So hungry I forgot to snap a shot of the cheeseburger we had voor dinner. Next we had s’mores. BTW, do you say roasting or toasting?

The Gravel Grind/Chip-Seal Ordeal: A Photo Essay Of Incredible Length And Breadth - Perfection
Achieving perfection.

  • Ginger

    I loved the route you took and the comments and the humor.

    • Cycleboredom

      Thanks Ma!

  • Ron

    Very cool. Love the photos. I really took up cycling when I was living in DC around 2003 and got tired of waiting for busses and trains. Saw a person commuting by bike as I stood around waiting. “Hey, that looks like more fun.”

    Whenever I’d head north to visit my parents in NY I’d always think north of Frederick and before getting into PA would be a great place to ride. These photos and words confirm that! Very cool.

    • Cycleboredom

      That’s awesome to hear! Bike commuting has its challenges but they’re no match for the rewards. Re: the MD/PA border—the terrain is challenging but the atmosphere is chill. Definitely give it a try.

  • Daniel Schneider

    The mid-Atlantic is so honky! (said the guy from Oklahoma). Anyways, cool ride. I roast marshmallows.

    • Cycleboredom

      You ain’t wrong, Dan. I can’t wait to do this again.

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