Little Ozarks Gravel Grind

My first gravel ride of the year was a good one. Met up with a small group in Cherryvale, Kansas for a route described as a “25-29 mile gravel ride with lots of undulations”.

The temperature was in the single digits at sunrise, but with a clear sky and abundant sunshine, it had warmed into the upper 20s by the time the 11am start time rolled around. Still, I was uncertain whether to wear a puffy jacket, fleece, or a cycling jacket. I opted for the fleece, which was the middle ground between my thin wind-resistant cycling jacket and the warmer but non-breathable puffy jacket. It turned out to be the right choice. By late afternoon, the temperatures were in the mid-30s. I was a bit cool at the start, but was very comfortable once we got moving. Those who chose the puffy jackets were soon peeling off layers in an attempt to cool off.

The route took us west of Cherryvale towards Independence. The roads were all new to me. In fact, this was my first ride ever in Montgomery County.

The beginnings of the route were paved, then once we hit gravel, we round a few rolling hills. As we rode north, then back east towards Cherryvale, we hit some very steep pitches, some scenic valleys, some low-water crossings. The “Little Ozarks” name seemed apt for this part of the ride.

We ended up back in town after about 33 miles. It’s a wonderful little route — pretty country, some historic sites, and some challenging hills. For details, check out my Strava Activity.

The ride started with some pretty mellow gravel rollers.
The route eventually hit some really steep little grades.
Crossing an icy low-water bridge on a gravel road in Montgomery County, Kansas.
Some of the hills were pretty wicked! No shame in walking a wall…
Drum Creek Township Hall. Looks like it might have been a one-room schoolhouse, but was later used as a meeting hall for the local 4-H Club.
District 40 brick school house, built in 1913, now a private residence.
This is one of the last surviving commuter shelters on the old Union Electric Railway, an interurban commuter line that connected Parsons, Cherryvale, Independence, Coffeeville, and Nowata OK. This little shelter was built to last.
Finished up the ride with a fantastic Bacon Mac-n-Cheese Burger at MJ’s Burger House in Cherryvale.


DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.

One Comment

  1. Clayton
    January 9, 2017

    Love the adventurous spirit. You are living the dream.

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