BQ Un-Meeting 2015

BQ Un-Meeting 2015

I thoroughly enjoyed the second Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting this last weekend. It had seemed hard to top the first-ever Un-Meeting, but this year’s gathering was at least as much fun!
About 50 cyclists met in Cle Elum for a day of riding and good company. The group split up into a “paved” ride that went up Old Blewett Pass and an “unpaved” ride that explored the Teanaway Hills. Both had a lot of fun.
We had gorgeous weather, and we found some amazing roads and trails.
A great variety of bikes and riders attended, with a large share of 650B wheels and wide tires. Many of us were surprised what you can do on randonneur bikes, but others did fine on cyclocross bikes. The riders on road bikes preferred the “paved” ride.
Despite the somewhat rough terrain of some of the rides, there were next to no mechanical issues: just a few flat tires and a broken light mount. Clearly, the participants knew how to ride, and their bikes were set up well with reliable parts. This meant that there was very little down time required to deal with bike-related issues, and all the more time to enjoy the ride.
Out-of-towners included George Retseck from Philadelphia, perhaps best known as the illustrator of the iconic 1990s Bridgestone catalogues. He is becoming an Un-Meeting regular…
…Fred Matheny, from Colorado, who was one of Bicycling magazine’s bike testers and Training and Fitness Editor during the 1980s…
… and Gerolf Meyer from Germany, formerly of the magazine Fahrstil, who now has his own radio show about bicycles! They really enjoyed getting a glimpse of riding off the beaten path in the Pacific Northwest.
The remainder of the crowd were from closer by in the Northwest. Since this was an “Un-Meeting”, it was slightly “un-organized” and thus impossible to get everybody into a single photo.
Despite a burn ban, we managed to find a fire pit at a local pub, where most of the riders congregated on Saturday night. (I had arrived only at 4 a.m. that morning after an night-time gravel ride out there, so I didn’t join the festivities this year, but went to sleep instead!)
On Sunday, many of us rode back to Seattle via the Iron Horse trail.
And coming back to Seattle, we were even treated to great views of the lunar eclipse and the sunset… a great ending to a wonderful weekend.
Let’s do it again next year!
For more photos from Un-Meeting participants, check out the hashtag #bqunmeeting on Instagram.
Update 10/2: Fred Matheny’s home state and job title at Bicycling magazine have been corrected.

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Comments (18)

  • Kris Hicks-Green

    I’ve been perusing photos of the Unmeet taken by many of the participants and posted on Instagram; it looks like it was another great event. Has anyone mapped the trails and roads employed during the event? I’d love to visit that country someday soonish.

    September 29, 2015 at 7:49 am
    • Fred Blasdel

      I created exactly that:
      Click “Show All On Map” at the bottom of the sidebar to see everything
      Jan is loath to acknowledge such things because so many people are slaves to their stupid garmin devices on brevets. While he insisted “we’ll navigate with paper maps” that didn’t actually happen in the Teanaway, everyone leading was using GaiaGPS with offline maps sourced from USFS, USGS, and OSM along with Aerial Imagery to reconnoiter and make up new plans as we got split and missed turns.

      September 29, 2015 at 4:54 pm
      • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

        Thanks for compiling the courses.
        The GPS systems were appreciated, and they did make the navigation slightly less trial-and-error. We only headed down the “wrong” roads a few times…
        In fact, I had bought a Garmin for the trip myself, but with so many others in evidence, I never pulled it out of the handlebar bag.

        September 29, 2015 at 5:00 pm
      • 47hasbegun

        Did anyone use the paved alternate route over Snoqualmie Pass? It looks like it’d provide a good alternative for when the tunnel is closed during Winter—barring deep snow of course.

        September 29, 2015 at 6:55 pm
        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

          I came over the old highways to Snoqualmie Pass and picked up the trail on the other side. It involves about 4 miles of freeway shoulder, and maybe 10 miles of smooth gravel. East of the pass, the gravel trail is the only alternative to the unpleasant freeway shoulder.

          September 29, 2015 at 7:42 pm
      • Fred Blasdel

        It’s actually possible to access Denny Creek from the Iron Horse without using I-90, as I mapped it the Mclellan Butte Trail connects to the start of Tinkham Road (there’s also the rougher Annette Lake Trail later on)

        September 30, 2015 at 12:28 am
      • Nikolas

        Thank you for sharing those routes.

        September 30, 2015 at 11:17 am
      • Michael

        What?!?! All this GPI and people still got lost?!?!?! 🙂

        September 30, 2015 at 11:20 pm
  • Nikolas

    I would also like a GPX track or description of the route. It looks like the kind of ride I would enjoy, but unfortunately I was not able to go to the Un-Meeting. Did anyone record this ? I found the route from the 2014 Un-Meeting on, but no luck for this year’s route, so far.

    September 29, 2015 at 9:56 am
    • 47hasbegun

      I have my route out and back on RideWithGPS and will be uploading maps of my GPX track very soon. The low saddle issue mentioned in my earlier comment caused a knee injury for me, so I only have part of the rides in the Teanaway River area tracked.

      September 29, 2015 at 2:22 pm
    • Fred Blasdel

      If you’d like to go out there I wouldn’t recommend trying to follow our exact route, but to explore and choose your own adventure as we did. is one of the best resources for the area. I also recommend using to compare maps, it has great printing functionality too, or you can use GaiaGPS on a mobile device.

      September 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm
      • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

        If you’d like to go out there I wouldn’t recommend trying to follow our exact route, but to explore and choose your own adventure as we did.

        That is perhaps the main reason why I don’t like publishing exact routes, unless it’s a single route without alternatives, that is difficult to find, like the route over the old Naches Trail from Greenwater to Cliffdell…

        September 29, 2015 at 5:12 pm
      • Fred Blasdel

        Naches is a poor example, besides the trail there’s several roads also crossing that pass with signage and different options to link them together, not even counting Green Pass or all the other trails on the east side.
        P.S. as constructed the trail really goes from Cliffdell to Greenwater…

        September 30, 2015 at 12:51 am
      • Nikolas

        Certainly I can modify the routes a bit, but I feel that I need some kind of route as a starting point.
        It seems that in the Cascades, there are thousands of roads on the maps, but some of them don’t exist any more, And sometimes roads that exist in reality are not on the map. I found this to be the case with printed maps, Garmin 24K topo maps, Google maps, etc. Sometimes I’ve planned a loop based on a map and found that in reality, one of the roads doesn’t exist, forcing me to backtrack many miles and thousands of feet of climbing.
        So I really like a route that someone actually rode recently. Thank you for sharing your routes.

        September 30, 2015 at 11:24 am
  • 47hasbegun

    I had a lot of fun out there with you guys, despite my trouble keeping up: I found that my seatpost was 3cm lower when I got home compared to a week earlier, but that slippage occurred before the start of the ride out to Cle Elum. It’s not too easy riding hard for a long time while supporting one’s own weight like that!
    Can’t wait for next time. Hopefully I won’t have such a mechanical problem hindering me.

    September 29, 2015 at 11:01 am
  • Michael

    Who’s the guy with the Bleriot? Nice bike!

    September 30, 2015 at 11:25 pm
    • Rob Markwardt

      Thanks…that would be me. I was kind of the odd duck with the saddle bag and high trail bike but I managed to hang on…barely! What a great place to ride (and walk:). Thank you BQ for putting on this event. I posted a few pics here:

      October 1, 2015 at 9:21 pm

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