Autumn/Winter Bicycle Quarterly—or why we love paper

Posted by: Jan Heine Category: Uncategorized

Autumn/Winter Bicycle Quarterly—or why we love paper

Last week, we saw the new Bicycle Quarterly come off the press here in Seattle, where the magazine is printed. Right now, the pages are in the bindery. Soon the finished magazines will be sent to our subscribers.

Printing a magazine requires a lot of extra steps compared to putting content online. Why do it? Isn’t print dead? It’s true that print is struggling because advertisers can’t measure the performance of their ads—but that isn’t a problem for Bicycle Quarterly, since our magazine is financed by subscribers. That aside, there are very real reasons why we prefer print.

Online content is great for news and other things that we consume daily, and then move on. It’s a bit like riding a trainer—a good option to get in shape or exercise when it’s raining out. But the trainer is no substitute for the highlights of the year—the rides out in the real world.

Print has a similar quality to riding outside. It requires us to take a break, to unplug, and to focus on what we are doing. It’s an exercise in mindfulness. On the bike, we are rewarded by unique experiences. The dappled pattern of light and shade as the sun filters to through the trees. The smells of the forest. The coolness as we pass a spring on the side of a mountain.

Most of us spend too much time in front of our screens. It’s part of our work, it’s how we stay in touch with others, and it’s how we get our news. That’s a necessity of modern life. Sitting down with a paper magazine is a different experience. Looking at a real page, rather than a backlit screen, puts us in a different mood and adds to the joy of exploring a story. It’s easy to dream as the magazine takes us to a different place.

That’s the reason why we spend so much time and effort on color-correcting photos, on press checks, on editing and proof-reading: Because for print to make sense in this day and age, it has to be exceptional. It has to transport you to a different world. It has to provide an experience that isn’t available anywhere else.

Where do we take you in the new Bicycle Quarterly? You’ll join three friends as they ride the Volcano High Pass SR600 Super Randonnée. The Super Randonnées are among the most challenging rando rides, 600 km long with more than 10,000 m elevation gain. And when the course includes significant stretches of gravel roads, high elevation and other obstacles, it makes for a special challenge. Jay, Alex and Taylor take you on their amazing ride. Their story is told with humor and passion, and photographed with analog 35 mm film.

Paris-Brest-Paris is always a special experience—simply riding so far with so many people from all over the world ensures that. When things aren’t going according to plan, it becomes an odyssey. And that makes for a more interesting read… especially if there is a happy end.


This year’s Paris-Brest-Paris coincided with the 85th anniversary of Rene Herse Cycles. To celebrate both, Robert Demilly takes you back to 1966, when he and Maurice Macaudière became the first riders to ride PBP in less than 45 hours. He’s never told his story… Illustrated with historic photos and studio images of their René Herse bikes, this makes for a fascinating read.

Futo Togashi takes you into the world of an 11-year-old who dreams of riding 3,000 km across Japan, from North to South. Inspired by a classic Manga cartoon, he sets out with his father on this incredible adventure, on a bike inspired by his 1970s hero. You won’t regret joining him on his trip!

Even our bike tests are adventures. We know that most of you aren’t in the market for a new bike… But given a chance, you’d love to ride interesting bikes like the Lauf Seigla with its crazy-looking suspension fork. Join us as we head to one of the most challenging climbs in the Cascade Mountains in search of a Strava KOM.

For a totally different voyage, we take you back in time and look at the eternal discussion—are narrow tires faster than wide ones?—through the ages. You’ll laugh as you read a heated exchange between a ‘Hard Rider’ and a ‘Soft Rider’ who argue over which tires are best—because their words could almost have been written today and not nearly a century ago. We examine why wide tires ultimately lost out to narrow rubber, at least until recently. We try to predict whether the ‘wide tire revolution’ is here to stay, or whether it’ll fade away once again. More than just a fascinating trip down memory lane, it helps understand the discussions cyclists are having today.

When you’re planning a trip of your own, you’ll appreciate our look at flying with your bike. We look at hard cases vs. soft cases and give you an introduction to Airplane Rinko. How can you fit a standard bike into a bag that’s small enough to fit in a normal taxi (and doesn’t incur airline fees)? Our illustrated, step-by-step instructions tell you all you need to know.

Of course, a 108-page magazine has more stories than we can fit into this Journal post. A lot more…

Tomorrow, we’ll finalize the mailing lists for the new Bicycle Quarterly. We’d love to take you along for the journey.

Subscribe today and enjoy some extraordinary experiences.

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