Last month we discussed how to find nearby twisty roads for day rides. For this month I’ve been working on a couple of routes that I can use to practice riding my 650 Suzuki V Strom on gravel roads.
How do you find gravel roads other than go out looking for them? I started by asking adventure riding friends who provided links to some adventure and gravel road routes. (Facebook is an excellent place to find local and regional adventure riding groups and most of them have a collection of route files you can tap into. Two groups that I belong to are Adventure Riders Ohio and Southern Ohio Adventure Riders.) Although there many gravel roads in Southwest Ohio, Indiana is a different story. The ADVrider.com site has some good resources including a track called South East Indiana Loop, or SEIL for short.
The SEIL was created by Chad Christy, of Metamora, Indiana, who has done a LOT of work to create this valuable resource. About ten years ago he was riding hare scrambles and doing other dirt racing events. Some friends encouraged him to put a license plate on one of his dirt bikes so he could ride it on the road. He quickly realized the freedom of being able to go just about anywhere there was a road and it took him in a new direction.
Chad began planning routes between his home in Metamora and various historical sites in the area. Once he reached the destination, he would take a different route home, exploring roads that caught his interest on the way. As he began concentrating on more obscure historical sites, they led him to even more interesting back roads. Like me, he favors roads that are in low lying areas, following creeks and rivers. Over the next four years he spent a lot of time studying county maps, looking at satellite images on Google Earth and exploring on his bikes.
Chad began inviting friends to go along with him to help check things out and many of them would call him later, wanting the tracks from rides so they could go back and enjoy them again or share with other friends. 2204-05.jpeg Since he saves the GPS tracks from every ride, this was easy to do. After a couple of years Chad looked at his growing collection and thought, “I ought to just go ahead and make a project out of this!” He got some help and consolidated his route library into the SEIL, which is over 1200 miles in length. Of course it’s not all gravel, as it necessarily includes paved roads that connect the gravel sections into a continuous route.
Perhaps you are thinking it’s crazy to have such a long track, but Chad never intended for people to ride it from beginning to end. Because tracks display as a simple line on the GPS map screen, you can start and end anywhere you wish, riding as little or as much as you want on a given day, in whatever direction strikes your fancy.
My two new routes that are based on the SEIL do just that- one is a loop based on the Northernmost part of the SEIL, going as far West as I thought I could reach in a days ride from home. The gravel roads in the North are pretty straight and simple, a perfect starting place for beginners who just want to practice riding gravel. The second route covers an area South of the first one down to around Brookville. It has a lot more twisties, is fun for more experienced riders but doesn’t require aggressive tires or special riding skills.
Here’s a quick summary of the routes:
The 06 Indiana Gravel North 264 is a network of farm roads with mixed gravel and pavement, bounded by state route 44 on the South and US 40 on the North.
The 07 Indiana Gravel South 228 goes South and West of Liberty, Indiana, crossing a bridge over Brookville lake, following a network of farm roads with mixed gravel and pavement, bounded by county road 260 on the North and US 52 on the South. Although shorter than the North route, this route has more elevation changes and much of it is twisty. After lunch and gas in Brookville, there are some fun paved roads along the return route back to Ohio.
Both routes: If you want to practice riding on gravel roads, these are good routes- nothing difficult. Any road bike will work, but it’s more fun on a BMW GS, KTM Adventure or Suzuki V Strom of any size.
If you’d like to look over and download my two new Indiana
gravel road routes, visit the Norms Rides web page at
I have not had the opportunity to explore the SEIL South of Brookville yet, but Chad says the riding down there is more technical and better suited for dual-sport bikes.
Full information and download links for the SEIL can be found at
While you are there, be sure to give Chad Christy a big Tip of the Helmet for this amazing resource!
Remember, check out Norms Rides at
Connect with local Ohio MSTA riders at these monthly breakfasts:
Southwest Ohio Breakfast, 9AM April 16
Village Family Restaurant
144 S. Main St.
Waynesville, OH 45068
Central Ohio Breakfast Meet – Sunday May 1 . Arrive at 8 am to eat, 9 to ride if weather permits.
6515 S High St
Lockbourne, OH 43137