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Mixed Terrain Cycle-Touring
Rough Riding or mixed terrain touring is not mountain biking or road biking - it's both. Like other forms of bicycle travel, the destination isn't the real goal. It's the journey itself that matters. However, with mixed terrain touring, freedom of travel and maximizing adventure are paramount. So is overall efficiency and self reliance. Balancing the competing demands of movement over various surfaces and topography is paramount.

Rough Riding is not defined by the type of bicycle or type of riding surface. Rough Riding is a state of mind, a riding style with limitless freedom and an all-pervasive sense of adventure. Chris Kostman, Rough Rider Guru

Alpine Cycle-Touring
Mixed terrain touring in the high mountains is sometimes called Alpine Touring, and often combines bicycle travel with a mountaineering flair. Dirt trails, gravel and paved roads are combined as needed for an efficient route through difficult mountain terrain. Natural alpine obstacles are often not avoided, instead they are incorporated into the tour which may require some bike hauling.
A common saying for this type of touring is "take your bike for a hike". Unlike mountain biking where its considered bad form to put a foot down, alpine touring integrates hiking with biking.

Alpine touring translates the idea of parkour or l'art du déplacement into bicycle travel. Parkour is a "physical discipline of French origin in which participants run along a route, attempting to negotiate obstacles in the most efficient way possible". Remember the mesmerizing chase scenes in Casino Royale? For alpine touring the goal is finding efficient travel over every surface traveled. Sometimes this means combining hiking, climbing or even skiing with biking.

Alpine touring is best done on an alpine touring bike or all-rounder. These bikes synthesize road and mountain bike technology. See our all-rounder bike forum for additional information.

Expedition Touring
Foreign travel through remote third world countries is called Adventure Touring or Expedition Touring. Of course this mode of travel is also well suited to many parts of North America and expecially here in the Rocky Mountain West. Alpine touring is really adventure touring in the mountains. World travelers however place greater emphesis on load hauling, exreme durability and mainenance in remote locals. This often means sturdy steel frames and heavy duty 26" wheels. American travelers are more free to experiment with technology which makes the all-rounder bike a little faster and easier to haul than an expedition touring bike.

Mountain+cross is essentially the racing form of alpine touring. Typical race courses are mountainous combining pavement and dirt trails. Courses are relatively long, often featuring natural obstacles requiring hiking/running while hauling the bike. See our mountain+cross forum for additional information.

Cyclo-cross is a form of mixed terrain racing but typically not in the mountains. This flat lander racing style usually employs a race course with a variety of terrain including grass and dirt with human made obstacles requiring the rider to dismount and run while hauling the bike.

Web Resources

Bikes for Mixed Terrain
Mixed Terrain Racing