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BQ 33 (Autumn 2010)


Vol. 9, No. 1

Unconventional Bicycles

Airplanes, cars and trains have advanced tremendously over the last century, yet bicycles have remained almost the same: Two wheels 65 cm in diameter, a diamond frame, chain drive to the rear wheel. There have been numerous attempts to innovate, and we look at a few of them. We test a Moulton New Series, and we ride a modern replica of a Dursley-Pedersen with its unique hammock saddle and multi-tubed frame. We review books on Alex Moulton and Mr. Pedersen, and we examine the promise of unconventional bicycles in events like Paris-Brest-Paris.

Recumbents were popular during the 1930s, and we translated a report from a rider in the 1934 trials of the Touring-Club de France who rode alongside the recumbents and other unconventional machines entered in this event.

Contrasting these unconventional machines, we test a MAP Randonneur Project, which takes everything we know about 650B bikes and synthesizes it into a single bike. How did it perform on a multi-day paved-and-gravel adventure in the Cascades?

We continue our “History of Randonneuring” series with a look at the 1930s. The Diagonals appealed to a spirit of adventure, and so did the first randonneur Paris-Brest-Paris. However, the German occupation with its curfews and travel restrictions encouraged a focus on shorter, faster events, and fostered a more competitive spirit in randonneuring.


Vol. 9, No. 1

Unconventional Bicycles
Moulton history
The promise of unconventional machines
History of randonneuring, 1930s
Report from 1930s Technical Trials
Test: Moulton New Series
Test: MAP Randonneur Project