Search Results - My PBP bike

My PBP Bike: Derailleurs

Why would anyone make custom derailleurs when modern electronic shifting works extremely well? It's a bit like driving a car with manual transmission even though the latest automatics are very sophisticated. It's about being involved in the operation of my bike, rather than just pushing a button. There's a...

My PBP Bike: Lights

Nothing else has changed our riding as much as modern generator hubs and LED lights. When I first started riding the almost-mythical (and now long-defunct) cross-state races in Washington – Cannonball and S2S – I ran a Nightsun battery light. These races started just after midnight in Seattle, so...

My PBP Bike: Fenders

Until 1991, all bikes in Paris-Brest-Paris had to be equipped with fenders. Traditionally, this had been a way to distinguish randonneur events from races – the randonneurs were expected to ride bikes that were equipped for real-world riding. However, by the 1980s, there simply weren't many performance bikes with...

My PBP Bike: The Wheels

When I asked which part of my bike for last summer’s Paris-Brest-Paris our readers wanted to hear more about, the answer was: “Everything.” So I'm writing a series of posts about the parts of the bike. I’ve already talked about the frame and the centerpull brakes. Today let’s look...

My PBP Bike: The Frame

When I asked readers which part of my bike for last summer's Paris-Brest-Paris they wanted to hear more about, the answer was: "Everything." So we'll make a series of short posts about the parts of the bike. I've already talked about the centerpull brakes here. Today, let's look at...

80th Anniversary Rene Herse Bikes

To celebrate 80 years of Rene Herse bikes, we're excited to offer a limited edition of bikes and frames. René Herse entered the cycling world in 1938, when he introduced innovative superlight components that drew on his experience making prototype aircraft components. A few years later, during the German...

Ryan’s PBP Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve3tXQY5pFk&feature=youtu.be?rel=0&w=640&h=360] I've really enjoyed the stories that have come out of last week's Paris-Brest-Paris. Above is my friend and training buddy Ryan Hamilton's short video, seen entirely through the eyes of his bike-mounted camera. I was moved when seeing the great big bridge that leads into Brest. My eyes...

Myths Debunked: Fenders DON’T Slow You Down

To celebrate 15 years of Bicycle Quarterly, we are looking at ‘Myths in Cycling’ – things that aren't quite what we (and most other cyclists) used to believe. Part 3 of the series is about fenders. Many cyclists here in Seattle install fenders when the rainy season starts, and remove them...

PBP: The Movie

Last week, Sur la Route de l'Extreme by Sandrine Lopez and Philip Dupuis was shown on French TV. It's a well-done documentary of this year's PBP, with beautiful shots showing the variety of randonneurs who participate, from the fastest to the slowest. There are great shots of the lead...

PBP Preparation: Reflective Vests and Rapha Jersey

Rapha recently introduced their "Paris-Brest-Paris Jersey." It is designed specifically for randonneuring, and as a bonus, it comes with a reflective vest. The vest has generated considerable interest among randonneurs... Randonneuring requires riding at night. To improve rider safety, randonneuring rules not only require lights, but also reflective clothing. Reflective...

PBP Training: Recovery

In the past, we've discussed hill intervals and how they make you stronger. They've certainly worked for me this spring, as I achieved one of my big goals this year: I completed my Cyclos Montagnards R60 Honors. You get faster and stronger through overload and recovery. This means not only...

We Love Fenders!

Many years ago, the biggest American bike magazine published a short note about aluminum fenders with the comment: "We are charmed by the idea that there actually are fender snobs!" I had to smile, because the reason we care so much about fenders is simple: We like to ride...

Nivex or eTap?

We're offering the 80th Anniversary Rene Herse bikes with a choice of two drivetrains: either SRAM eTap or a Nivex rear and Rene Herse front derailleur. It's a choice between best electronic or the best manual shifting. Both the current Nivex and modern electronic drivetrains stand at the pinnacle...

80th Anniversary Rene Herse Ordering

There's been a great response to our 80th Anniversary Rene Herse bikes and framesets. There's a lot of excitement. Even people who don't want to order one are glad that they'll exist. Just like I'll probably never own a great sportscar, but when I see one, I smile. Perhaps the...

How durable are leather saddles?

How durable are leather saddles? It's a question we often get with respect to the Berthoud saddles we distribute in North America. Especially now that it's winter here, and often raining. Will a leather saddle be ruined if it's ridden in the rain? The answer is a reassuring 'No.' There is...

Why I Choose Centerpull Brakes

When I spec'd my new bike for this year's Paris-Brest-Paris (and for our adventures in the Cascade Mountains), I opted for centerpull brakes. I didn't choose centerpulls out of nostalgia. For the riding I do, they are the best choice. Why not disc brakes? It's undeniable that the best hydraulic disc...

Contact Points Matter: Saddles

When I built my new bike for this year's Paris-Brest-Paris, I was reminded of professional racers in the old days, who brought their favorite saddle and handlebars to the builder of their new bike. I've talked about handlebars here; today, I'll cover saddles as the second contact point between us...

Paris-Brest-Paris: 1200 Epic Kilometers

This year’s Paris-Brest-Paris lived up to its reputation as an epic event. Organized without interruption since 1891, PBP is the oldest bike ride in the world. It takes riders back to the 'Heroic Age' when races featured stages that began before dawn and ran late into the night, and beyond. Riding...

Climbing into the Clouds

A recent hiking trip to Mount Rainier also provided an opportunity to revisit a favorite climb – and work on my form for the upcoming 1200 km (750 miles) of Paris-Brest-Paris. This time, we headed to Mount Rainier by car, loaded with four people, backpacks and associated gear. Fortunately, the J.P....

Why Contact Points Matter: Handlebars

Riding long distances – especially on rough roads – puts different demands on your body and your bike than short and fast-paced races. The contact points with the bike become more important the longer you ride. These days, you don't hear much about them, especially the saddle and handlebars. If...

BQ 67 (Spring 2019)

One focus of the Spring BQ is women in cycling. More women enjoy cycling than ever before, but many still face a problem: Most bikes are designed for average men – and many women have a hard time finding bikes that fit them. When our editor Natsuko needed a new...

Let's End the Pedal Wars!

Sometimes, it feels as if cyclists are divided into two camps on many issues. One of these divisions concerns pedals. There are those who believe that if you don't have clipless pedals, it's hardly worth taking your bike outside. Others fervently believe that any foot retention will ruin your...

Making Strong and Durable Wheels

When building a bike, one important decision concerns the wheels. How do you get the best performance and still make your wheels strong enough to withstand 20,000+ miles of riding on rough roads without needing service? By now, most cyclists know that spokes don't break from overloading, but from fatigue as...

Bicycle Quarterly Tables of Contents

To search the tables of contents, use the "find in page" feature of your web browser. Usually this can be accessed with the key combination CTRL+F, or, for Macs, ⌘F.  This works best with Ra single word, such as "rinko" or part of a longer word, such as "rando"....

Why Synthetics for our Knickers?

I've long championed wool as a great material for cycling clothes, so some riders were surprised that our Compass knickers are made from synthetics. Why didn't we choose wool, or some other natural material? We chose the fabric after careful consideration and rigorous testing. We briefly considered cotton, but it gets...

Rides to Remember

As the cycling season draws to a close, I look back over the memorable rides that I have enjoyed. This year, my cycling season ended abruptly when a car turned in front of me in Taiwan, but my recovery has been helped by remembering many wonderful rides. It's been...

Small Differences Can Matter

Recently, I was on a familiar road, but riding it did not feel familiar. It seemed like I was straining to stay on top of my gear, whereas usually I just spin along. Was I exceptionally tired? I didn't feel that way... Then I remembered that I had replaced my...

Compass Knickers

We are happy to introduce our Compass Knickers! Now we can be more confident when entering restaurants or shops, knowing that our cycling clothes do not stretch the boundaries of good taste by being too tight and revealing. Yet on the bike, these knickers are slick with the wind,...

Compass Randonneur Handlebars

Handlebars are one of the most important parts of your bike. As one of the three "contact points", the handlebar shape determines whether you are comfortable on the bike or not. After every Paris-Brest-Paris, numerous cyclists complain about numb hands. Some riders take weeks until their hands feel and...

BQ 50 (Winter 2014)

BQ 50 (Winter 2014)

The Winter issue is the 50th issue of Bicycle Quarterly. To celebrate, we added 50% more pages! The 50th issue presents an opportunity to take stock and look back over 12.5 years. Perhaps Bicycle Quarterly’s greatest contribution has been to redefine what a performance bike can be. No longer...

BQ 38 (Winter 2011)

BQ 38 (Winter 2011)

The Oregon Manifest organized their second technical trials this fall. Join us on the road and see how various designs fared in the "Field Test," and marvel at the many innovative ideas and features incorporated into the bikes at the event. Follow builder John Cutter as he designs and builds...

Not A Museum Piece

When bikes are as stunningly beautiful as the machines from René Herse, Alex Singer and other French constructeurs, it is easy to dismiss them as "beauty queens" or "show bikes." This would be a mistake: The performance of these bikes is as outstanding as their appearance. They confirm the...

The First Brevet of the Year

Every year, the first brevet of the season sort of sneaks up on me. I've been enjoying bucolic rides with friends for the first months of the year, and then suddenly, the 200 km brevet is just a few days away. It serves as a reminder that if I...

Supporting the Classics

When we became custodians of the René Herse name, we had three goals in mind: Bring back some of the best designs of René Herse, so that today's cyclists could enjoy their excellent function and aesthetic. Support classic René Herse bikes with components, so that they can be kept on the...

Cycling Books That Have Inspired Me

I recently thought about my favorite books. There are many, and they span a wide range of topics, from Saint Exupéry's The Little Prince to The Art of the Motorcycle. Here are six of my favorite cycling books, in no particular order. This is not a "recommended reading" list;...

Am I Retro?

Many people see my bike and think "Retro!" In some cases, this is seen as cool. Others are dismissive, like the famous builder who once compared riders like me to civil war re-enactors, who dress up and play civil war in their spare time. It is true that I enjoy...

Staying Warm

Winter is a great time for riding around here. We have a choice between cold and sunny or  not-so-cold and rainy. If we can, we pick the sunshine, but that often means starting our rides when it is just below freezing. Riding into a glorious winter morning is wonderful, if...

Too Precious to Ride?

Some people wonder whether special bikes can be too precious to ride. They ask me about my bikes: "Aren't you afraid that it will get scratched?" or "What if you crash it?" or "What if it gets stolen while you lock it up on the street?" Those things do happen....

Unimprovable: Berthoud Handlebar Bag

Berthoud handlebar bags are among the few things in this world that are so well-designed and have proven themselves for so long that they have become unimprovable. These bags first were introduced by Sologne in the 1950s, and they have been made almost unchanged ever since. Handlebar bags have...

Doping in Randonneuring?

With the recent news that Lance Armstrong effectively admitted to a large-scale doping conspiracy on his teams, the issue of doping has been front and center in the cycling news. A few readers have asked whether doping exists in randonneuring, too. The short answer is yes – doping exists in...

People who have inspired us: Roger Baumann

I learned about the history of Paris-Brest-Paris from the late Bernard Déon's excellent book Paris-Brest et Retour (unfortunately out of print). Déon was a great storyteller, and I found his report from the epic 1956 particularly gripping. The main protagonist of that dramatic edition of PBP was a young...

Single-Speed!

I have ridden fixed-gears and single-speed bicycles, but for my own bikes, I am wedded to multiple gears. Part of that is my love of the mountains with their long and steep climbs, and part of it is my allegiance to Vélocio, who fought tooth and nail to get...

Winter Rides and Summer Plans

For me, November and most of December are rest months. That doesn't mean that I don't ride my bike – I use my bike for daily transportation – but there isn't any "training" on the bike. I worked on my core fitness and went for a few short runs....

A Trip to France

Going to France was a treat. Not just because PBP is a wonderful adventure, but because I love visiting France. In August, Paris loses some of its urban edge, and people become more relaxed. The city organizes Paris Plages ("Beach in Paris"): For a few weeks, sand is trucked...

The Aunt

One of the best things of editing Bicycle Quarterly have been the wonderful people I have met all over the world. Even among these amazing people, Paulette Porthault stands out. Most of you have seen her many times: On the Bicycle Quarterly home page, you see her climbing the...

Keeping an Eye on Cranks

I spend so much time assembling test bikes, testing components, etc., that I have little time to work on my own bikes. Fortunately, my Alex Singer (above) has been very reliable, even though it is 38 years old and has been ridden at least 200,000 km (120,000 miles) in...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 3: Wide 650B Tires

How did our preferences change from our familiar bikes with mid-trail geometries, 700C x 28 mm tires and saddlebags to low-trail 650B bikes with much wider tires and handlebar bags? In the first two parts of this series, we talked about discovering handlebar bags and aluminum fenders. Inspired by the old...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 2: Handlebar Bags and Aluminum Fenders

In the last installment of this series, we looked at the bikes we rode when Bicycle Quarterly got started almost a decade ago. How did our preferences change from our familiar bikes with mid-trail geometries, 700C x 28 mm tires and saddlebags to low-trail 650B bikes with much wider tires...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 1: What We Used to Ride

We sometimes hear people criticize our technical analyses: "Bicycle Quarterly's testers simply prefer they bikes that they ride most. You get used to anything, and then you prefer it." Or: "Jan has got his preferences. He started a magazine so he could have a place to talk about them." The reality is a...

Farewell to the Mountains

Autumn is a melancholy time. In Seattle, it is hardly noticeable, as the weather gradually gets cooler and wetter. But in the Cascade Mountains, the change of the seasons is swift and spectacular: Cold nights turn deciduous foliage into bright hues of yellow for a brief time, before snow...