Uncategorized

Bicycle Shop Gen

In Bicycle Quarterly, we've featured a number of the great bicycle builders in Japan: TOEI, C.S. Hirose, Iribe and Level. We did a brief feature on Bicycle Shop Gen – one of my favorite shops anywhere in the world. This year, I had the opportunity to visit again. Bicycle Shop Gen is...

Follow Us on Instagram!

At Bicycle Quarterly and Compass Cycles, we take thousands of photos on our rides big and small. Only a fraction make it into the magazine or onto our web site. Many of the others are just too precious to vanish into our archives. Instagram provides a great way to share them. Most of...

Holiday Gift Guide

Winter is a time when we think about our bikes. That way, when we are riding, we don't have to think about our bikes. During the off-season, we overhaul parts to make them last another year. We switch components in search of comfort, performance or beauty. We then test the modifications during...

Our Man in France

Compass components have found fans all over the world. We are shipping them as far as Brazil, South Africa and Singapore. Unfortunately, international shipping is expensive. And we really want to see our products in bike shops. So we are working with distributors to make our products more widely available. Many...

Just Another Road!

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YY_9e-dB8M0?rel=0&w=640&h=360] Here is a little video we made in Mexico during our trip to the Paso de Cortés. Compass doesn't have the means to air it during the Superbowl, but we think you'll enjoy it nonetheless. Click on the image above or watch at this link. Make sure you watch it full-screen!

Rinko Systems: Ezy and Ezy Superior

  We have discovered a compatibility issue with the different versions of MKS Rinko pedal. Please note that the SPD-compatible MKS US-S pedals (shown on left) use the "EZY" release system while the other MKS Rinko pedals we offer use the "EZY-Superior" release system (shown on right). Each system works equally...

Bicycle Flea Market

Visiting Japan is fun, in part because I meet so many different cyclists. There are the cyclotourists, the randonneurs, the collectors... Bicycle collecting as a hobby has a long tradition in Japan, and there are many events for collectors. The Keiokaku Bicycle Flea Market is one of them. It's a popular event...

It's a Hobby!

It might be challenging to understand cycling enthusiasts when you aren't one. We spend a lot of money on bikes, then spend a lot of time getting into shape, and then we go on rides to nowhere, and come home tired. After all this effort, we are back exactly where we started. We haven't...

Join the Swift Campout

Some of Bicycle Quarterly's favorite stories have been campouts – short camping trips into the mountains. We pack lightly and enjoy spirited rides, unrolling our sleeping bag or setting up a lightweight tent at the end of the day, before continuing the next morning on a loop that brings us home...

Tokyo Cycle Parts Show

The first Tokyo Cycle Parts show was held last week. This trade show is open only to the bicycle industry, which allowed focused inquiry into products, and provided a good glimpse at what is happening in Japanese cycling. For me, it also provided a great opportunity to see acquaintances, such as Mr. Yoshikawa, the...

Happy Holidays!

I wish all our readers Happy Holidays! I've enjoyed all the interactions with readers. The technical discussions are stimulating, but most of all, it's nice to read about so many people enjoying their bikes on great rides! Thank you all! Photo credit: Fred Blasdel

Charlie Cunningham Needs Our Help

Of all the people I have interviewed for Bicycle Quarterly, Charlie Cunningham was perhaps the most fascinating. We talked for hours about a great variety of bike-related topics. I am particularly fascinated by his various brake designs – we both prefer brakes with posts next to the fork crown. (Since then, even...

A Visit to Ben Le Batard

While I was in Paris after this year's Paris-Brest-Paris, I visited Ben Le Batard, who runs a machine and fabrication shop. He specializes in motorbikes and bicycles. The bicycle portion of his shop is run by Daniel Hanart, perhaps best known for building Jeannie Longo's hour record bike, as well...

400 km Brevet Video

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7PBPtmNCZU Theo is the ride organizer of an upcoming Seattle International Randonneurs 400 km brevet. So a week ago, Theo, Hahn and Ryan of the Bicycle Quarterly team pre-rode the course, to make sure that the cue sheet is correct, that roads are open, and to get a general feel for...

Japan in Autumn

I just returned from Japan. It was an amazing trip of talking to Compass Bicycles' suppliers and of collecting material for future Bicycle Quarterly stories. Most of all, it was great fun! We got to see old friends and acquaintances, and meet new ones. We rode bikes with some, went to...

Flèche in Japan

Last weekend, the Japanese randonneurs organized their Flèche 24-hour ride. We were honored to be part of the banquet at the finish. (The photo shows us with Maya Ide, the organizer.) Originally, we had been scheduled to ride with a team, but I broke my hand three weeks ago. With...

BQ in Japan

The Bicycle Quarterly team is in Japan for a few weeks of visiting manufacturers and builders, enjoying the culture, and cycling. Above is the view from our window in Kyoto. Doesn't it look like a dream spot, with temples in the foreground and rugged mountains in the background? Our wonderful hosts...

Switching to Zero Emissions

Cycling used to be the most environmentally friendly mode of transportation available, but with recent technological developments, this no longer is the case. Even though the emissions of riding bikes are small, they are not insignificant. As we cyclists convert carbohydrates into energy to power our legs, we emit CO2. The...

Viennese Mechanics' Bikes

Late last year, Richard Hollinek sent me a calendar about Viennese "mechanics' bikes" – bikes built by small builders in Vienna, Austria. The calendar hangs in our bathroom, and I smile every time I see it. The "mechanics' bikes" are workmanlike in their quality and execution, but not without some artistic...

Railroads Adopt Pneumatic Tires to Reduce Suspension Losses

Recent tests with bicycles have shown that even on a very smooth road surface, lower tire pressures increase comfort with no loss of speed (Bicycle Quarterly Spring 2013). Now even railroads have become persuaded that super-hard tires diminish both comfort and performance. Railroads are investigating how to replace their steel tires...

René Herse édition française

Our new book René Herse • The Bikes • The Builder • The Riders will be available with French text in addition to the English version. Therefore, this update is in French. Notre souscription pour l'édition française du livre René Herse a connu un beau succès puisque nous avons reçu 148...

Charity Drive: Thank You!

The Bicycle Quarterly charity drive was a success. We were able to raise almost $ 1500 for three charities. Checks are going out this morning to Doctors Without Borders, Save the Children and the Union of Concerned Scientists. Thank you to all who contributed!

Winter Training

I enjoy the annual rhythm of the seasons. It encourages me to change my cycling and exercise, like a farmer rotating crops and leaving some fields fallow for a while. The early months of the year remind me of preparing the soil and sowing that year's crop. This means base training:...

How Germans vote

Today, I am reminded of my grandfather in Germany. Not of his cycling exploits during the 1930s, when he rode hundreds of kilometers with his friends on weekends. Instead, I am thinking of him voting. When my grand-father was in his 80s and confined to his house by severe arthritis, he...

Letters to the Editor

We get many letters and e-mails. We read them all, but we cannot reply to each and every one. We select a few for inclusion to Bicycle Quarterly "Readers' Forum" pages. How do we select these letters? To be published, a letter must add something new to the discussion. We really...

The Big Picture

It's amazing to me that  the big picture often gets overlooked. I am not talking about willful distortion, but about well-intentioned people looking at only one part of the equation in an attempt to arrive at a good but simple solution. Here are two examples, both concerned with reducing pollution. All...

Who Pays for Your Magazine?

My wife was an avid reader of Gourmet magazine. She was disappointed when the magazine ceased publication a little over a year ago. It wasn't that Gourmet was not popular - it had as many readers as before. But in the recession, ad revenues had declined... This points out how modern...

A Journey of Discovery, Part 5: Frame Stiffness

In the previous parts of this series, we have looked at how our preferences in bicycles changed over time. We started out on "state-of-the-art" bikes with mid-trail geometries, 700C x 28 mm tires and saddlebags. How did we come to prefer low-trail 650B bikes with much wider tires and handlebar bags?...

SKF Bottom Brackets: World Exclusive

Compass Bicycles is proud to be the sole distributor of SKF bottom brackets world-wide. Svenska Kugellagerfabriken (SKF) has been the leader in bearing technology since 1907. Today, SKF is the largest bearing manufacturer in the world, and their bearings are used in Formula 1 racecars and other high-end applications. SKF's ball...

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 and...

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 bit...

Urban Delivery

My favorite bookseller called and said: "We just sold the last copy of The Competition Bicycle, and there is a gaping hole next to your other book in our window display." There was only one thing to do: I loaded up the trusty Urban Bike with a 40-lb box of books...

Mr. Pedersen – A Man of Genius

David Evans spent more than a decade researching the life of Mikael Pedersen, who is best known for his unconventional bicycles. I have been fascinated by these machines since we photographed a rare racing version for our book The Competition Bicycle (see photo below). I have ridden a reproduction Pedersen,...

Oregon Manifest Technical Trials 2011

The 2011 Oregon Manifest Constructor's Design Challenge will be held in Portland, Oregon, on September 23-24, 2011. The goal is to determine what the ultimate modern utility bike looks like and who can build it. The 2009 Constructor's Design Challenge was an innovative event that focused on riding bikes over a...

Winter 2010 Bicycle Quarterly Mailed

The Winter 2010 issue has been mailed. Most subscribers will get it soon, but delivery times vary depending on the whims of the U.S. Postal Service. All subscribers should have their magazines by December 24, 2010. In the mean time, click here for a preview. And for some fun with truly...

A Neat Bike

When I was working with Peter Weigle on an article on fender mounting for the Winter 2010 issue of Bicycle Quarterly (now at the printer), Peter sent me a photo of his latest bike (above). His bikes always have been special, but on this one, I noticed a lot of...

Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show

The Oregon Handmade Bicycle Show was a celebration of finely crafted bicycles. With natural overhead light in a former industrial building, the bicycles were displayed well. Tony Pereira (above) showed a replica of his Oregon Manifest-winning commuter machine with its integrated lock.  We hope to get this one for a...

Welcome to Our New Blog!

In this space, I'll blog about what is going on at Bicycle Quarterly: Rides we do, how we keep our bikes on the road, new products, glimpses of topics in upcoming issues of the magazine and more. BQ's contributors will feature occasionally as well. We welcome everybody to join us...