A bike will go where you take it.
After getting my first road bike I was really concious about where I took it. I wouldn’t take it anywhere apart from roads, I’d avoid potholes religiously and I would never dream of hoping a kerb, but why. Every one has taken the mountain bike on the road at one point so why not take the road bike off road. I’m not talking about very sticky mud down hill trails but a bit of cycle paths or off road coastal paths shouldn’t hurt it. ‘Aw but my wheelset couldn’t handle it’ Probably not if your running 500g 12 spoked wheels but most road bikes are on alloy rims with 20 to 40 spokes, and carbon wheels will handle lots of jumps, if you haven’t seen Bike Party you need to, those wheel handle a battering and they are the same ones Wiggins used in the TDF. ‘So your wheels my wheels can handle it but my tires are skinny’ Yup so are mine but they have been through mud, puddles, loose gravel, grass and anything you’ll find on un-kept cycle paths. Even 23c tire will handle quite a lot of muck of course they are not going to have they same grip as tread riddled mountain bike tires, but you will be surprised. ‘Well yeah even so, my brakes have no clearance’ They don’t need clearance, the off road I’m talking about involves minimal sticky mud and even then they still do have some clearance. ‘My carbon frame will snap’ Yeah it probably will, It’s not that I distrust carbon, it’s just I don’t trust it. So I would keep your carbon race bike off road, I’m sure they will handle it I’m just carbon-sceptical. So if you have a steel, aluminium or titanium your all set. My steel bike has been off road a lot, it was supposed to end up a cyclocross but it is still on 25c tires on my road bikes wheels (32 spoked) . I have had no problem on moderately off road conditions, maybe some wheels spin when on a gravel hill but that’s it. I’m not saying take your road bike off road all the time, just don’t be scared to take it off ‘the road’ once in a while, it ain’t gonna hurt it. And if your lucky enough to have a cyclocross bike, then darn you, jammy.