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BQ 19 (Spring 2007)


Vol. 5, No. 3

Front-End Geometry, Porteurs

We lead into the theme “Bicycles Are Transportation” with an interview with a “porteur de presse” from Paris. Pierre Vitupier recounts how most porteurs were amateur racers who used their job as training. They were paid per trip, and they rode so fast that they made more money than the board members of the newspapers for which they worked. Vitupier also won the Championship of the Porteurs in 1953. He tells us about this hard-fought race, where riders had to carry 15 kg of newspapers, yet averaged over 40 km/h over an hour of racing over cobblestones. Evocative photos from Joel Metz’ archives complete this fascinating interview.

We also look at front-end geometry again. The article “How to Design a Well-Handling Bicycle” explains the various factors involved and provides time-tested sample geometries for many types of bikes: racing bikes, track bikes, 700C and 650B randonneur bikes, camping bikes, city bikes, gravel bikes, cyclocross bikes and even tandems. In a second article, we test a variety of front-end geometries with very heavy loads and find that a porteur bike needs a different front-end geometry from a randonneur bike that carries a lighter load.

Mark Vande Kamp reports on re-raking his fork to give his bike a low-trail geometry. We also tested more tires for this issue and published a statistical analysis that shows which tires perform differently, and which are too close to call.

Back to the transportation bicycle theme, we tested three transportation bikes from Breezer, Jamis and Ant. We contrasted these modern offerings with a beautiful 1947 Alex Singer city bike that was lighter than any of the modern offerings. In our Builders Speak series, Bob Brown shows how he made a stainless steel frame. Randonneuring Basics looks at how to pedal efficiently – whether to put more effort into the uphills, downhills or flats, and how to keep your stops short.


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Vol. 5, No. 3

Front-End Geometry, Porteurs
How to make a well-handling bicycle – the definitive article
Pierre Vitupier, champion of the porteurs
Re-raking a fork to improve the bike’s handling
Randonneuring Basics: riding efficiently
Test: Breezer Uptown 8
Test: Jamis Commuter 3.0
Test: Ant Basket Bike