Journal

Join Ted King for DIY Gravel

All of us are figuring out how we can resume our lives safely and responsibly. How can we ride our bikes? Does it make sense to train when races and events are postponed or cancelled? How can we enjoy the community that cycling brings us? I caught up with...

Thank you!

This post is to say 'Thank you!' It's no secret that times are difficult. The news are not encouraging. Businesses everywhere are struggling, and we're not exempt. We appreciate your orders at all times, but now they are doubly important. As we take turns working in our empty office and warehouse,...

Covid-19 Petition: Thank you!

Today, we delivered 1674 signatures to the National Governors' Association, as well as to each state's governor, urging them to develop strategies for the time after the current lockdowns. We all want to return to our normal lives – as much as possible – but this requires keeping the...

Keeping our employees safe

Yesterday, Washington State finally issued an order for everybody to stay at home to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus. It's something most of us wanted to see much sooner, and we've been acting for several weeks as if it had been in place already. Bicycle repair facilities and...

Rene Herse Sample Sale

Let's face it: Life isn't the same as it was just two weeks ago. We're all in this together, and we've been encouraged how everybody has been pulling together to face this challenge. At Rene Herse Cycles, we've thought about what we could do to help. Most of us still...

We’re open and staying safe

Many customers and readers have asked and worried about us. This post is to reassure everybody that we're doing fine at Rene Herse Cycles. For the time being, Seattle is relying on everybody's best efforts of social distancing and staying home, and there is no mandatory lockdown. Fortunately, people...

FMB Tubulars

Even in these troubled times, most of us continue to ride our bikes, at least here in North America. We've been encouraged that even during the 'shelter-in-place' in the San Francisco Bay Area, solo bike rides continue to be permitted. Over the last year, we've worked on re-introducing FMB tubulars...

Memories of Summer: Lake Bessemer

As last summer's 1200 km Paris-Brest-Paris was approaching, my training went into high gear. That meant hill intervals and speedwork, but also occasional longer rides to maintain my endurance – and have fun! When Mark and Steve suggested a weekend ride up the Middle Fork of the Snoqualmie River, we...

My PBP Bike: The Frame

When I asked readers which part of my bike for last summer's Paris-Brest-Paris they wanted to hear more about, the answer was: "Everything." So we'll make a series of short posts about the parts of the bike. I've already talked about the centerpull brakes here. Today, let's look at...

A Winter Ride

When the forecast predicted a rare break in Seattle's relentless rain, Ryan Hamilton and I quickly decided: "Let's head to Index!" It's a favorite winter ride that spears deep into the Cascade Mountains, but stays in the valleys (mostly), so it remains rideable while the high passes are covered...

12-Speed Rene Herse Cranks

We're excited to announce that our ramped-and-pinned chainrings are 12-speed compatible. We knew that 12-speed was coming when we developed our 11-speed rings, so we tried to anticipate the requirements, so that our chainrings would be compatible with 12-speed as well. Now we've completed our testing, and we're happy to...

Ryan’s Bike for Paris-Brest-Paris

Ryan Francesconi rode his steel-framed Smeltzer 'Thee Gifford' adventure bike in last summer's Paris-Brest-Paris. Ryan's tires were wider than almost anybody else's, and yet his 650B x 48 mm Switchback Hill Extralights didn't slow him down as he surfed the fast pacelines during the early hours of the event. (more…)

James Bay Descent – The Movie

https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=579&v=Fz106hSZqJk&feature=emb_logo When Ted King, Ryan Atkins, Eric Batty and Buck Miller rode more than 600 km in northern Ontario last winter, it was a real adventure – and they raised money for a local charity. We were happy to be involved in a small way – we supplied the entire...

Predictions for the 2020s

Happy New Year and welcome to a new decade, the 2020s! Ten years ago (above), Bicycle Quarterly predicted that wide tires would become commonplace, that all-road bikes would replace racing bikes as the most popular genre, and that riders would soon venture off the beaten path and onto gravel. All...

Happy Holidays!

All of us at Rene Herse Cycles and Bicycle Quarterly thank you for your support. We wish you a wonderful new year filled with many great rides! —The Rene Herse team

Rethinking Packaging

Since we've started Rene Herse Cycles in 2011, we've been working on reducing our environmental impact. We were among the first to use custom-designed cardboard boxes with inserts that hold our cranks securely. That has been part of our commitment to reduce our impact – while making sure that...

Jikkoku Pass in Autumn: Day 2

In the last post, I talked about riding on the old road across Jikkoku Pass. Where to go on the second day? We haven’t quite decided yet. The typhoon is getting closer, and we don’t know what the weather will be like. If it’s just raining, it’s OK, but this...

Jikkoku Pass in Autumn

Usually, October in Japan is a month of good weather, with an occasional typhoon that needs to be considered when planning a cyclotouring trip. But when I visited Japan this autumn, October saw so many typhoons and rain. It’s very unusual. We did not want to miss the short window...

Job Opening at Rene Herse Cycles

We've got a job opening at Rene Herse Cycles. Are you dreaming of working on beautiful bikes, assembling dazzling cranks and brakes, and chatting about amazing rides all day long? The reality is not quite as glamorous, but we've got a good team, good compensation and benefits, plus the potential...

How durable are leather saddles?

How durable are leather saddles? It's a question we often get with respect to the Berthoud saddles we distribute in North America. Especially now that it's winter here, and often raining. Will a leather saddle be ruined if it's ridden in the rain? The answer is a reassuring 'No.' There is...

This Sunday: Ride Tahuya with Ted King

Just a quick reminder that our Un-Meeting-style ride with the 'King of Gravel' is this Sunday. The weather forecast is unseasonably good for Seattle – just a slight chance of rain in the morning. Here are the details: When: Sunday, December 8, 2019 Where: Seattle Ferry Terminal, 7:35 a.m....

Blog Transition is Complete

Thank you for your patience last week while we've transitioned the blog to the Rene Herse web site. We've moved all the old contents – blog posts and comments – to the new site, so everything continues to be available. If you've bookmarked a blog post, the link no longer works....

Steel Road Bike Book (Japan)

During a recent trip to Japan, we saw a beautiful book about steel road bikes, published by our friends at Bicycle Club magazine. The cover bike may look familiar to Bicycle Quarterly readers – it's part of a famous Japanese collection that we featured a few years back. Many consider...

Golden Age and Competition Bikes out of print

After a remarkable run over 15 years, our first book, The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, is now out of print. Published in 2005, The Golden Age was at the start of our fascination with the French constructeurs. It made Rene Herse and Alex Singer household names. If cyclists today admire beautiful...

Ride Tahuya with Ted King

Join us on a ride with Ted King, the 'King of Gravel'! We'll head to the Tahuya Hills on some beautiful (and hilly) roads. There'll be plenty of gravel, as well as an all-paved option. When: Sunday, December 8, 2019 Where: Seattle Ferry Terminal, 7:35 a.m. ferry to Bremerton ...

Our Blog Has Moved

We are excited to move our blog and integrate it seamlessly with our Rene Herse Cycles web site. This will allow us to create even more exciting content. And now we can link directly between blog posts and support pages. This and other changes will improve your experience as...

Honing Skills in Cyclocross

When winter snow makes the high roads in the Cascade Mountains impassable, we turn to cyclocross. It's our preferred winter sport – challenging, fun and a great way to hone our skills for the big summer gravel adventures. The skills of 'cross are less about jumping across barriers –...

Rene Herse Cycling Caps

We are really excited about our new cycling caps. They are great to wear under a helmet, or just by themselves. The quality is superb – as you'd expect, since they are made by Walz, a company known for their high quality. They are made in the USA. Best of all,...

Road.cc Reviews the Juniper Ridge 650B x 48

We like Road.cc, the British web site, because they really ride the products they test. They've got a number of testers, and their opinions are refreshingly unbiased and honest. At the end of each test, they ask their reviewers "Would you buy this product?" and "Would you recommend this product...

Why I Choose Centerpull Brakes

When I spec'd my new bike for this year's Paris-Brest-Paris (and for our adventures in the Cascade Mountains), I opted for centerpull brakes. I didn't choose centerpulls out of nostalgia. For the riding I do, they are the best choice. Why not disc brakes? It's undeniable that the best hydraulic disc...

Why Only Black Tread?

Autumn means colder temperatures and rainy weather, here in the Cascade Mountains and in many parts of the world. More than ever, the grip of our tires is on our minds. Why do all Rene Herse tires have black tread? Colorful treads can look nice, but black rubber offers...

Gravel Before It Was a ‘Category’

I've been wanting to thank Bicycle Retailer and Industry News for the nice article about Rene Herse on the front cover of a recent edition. It's not often that the media talks about the contributions of small companies, especially those without a big ad budget. BRAIN's Steve Frothingham wrote that Rene Herse "has nurtured...

Rene Herse Fenders in Black

In the northern hemisphere, we are moving into the season where we need good fenders: They can make the difference between enjoying the ride and enduring it. The Pacific Northwest, where we live and ride, is known for its long rainy season. We cycle year-round, so it's natural that...

Fun at the Un-Meeting

Last weekend's Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting brought together cyclists from all over the United States. Despite an uncertain weather forecast, more than 70 riders met northwest of Portland for a weekend of riding, meeting friends and having a good time. A choice of five courses ranged from the 47 mile (76...

Celebrating 2000 Posts on Instagram

We're celebrating our 2000th post on Instagram with a favorite image. It shows everything I love about cycling: small roads off the beaten path, beautiful bikes and great riding companions. I don't spend a huge amount of time on social media, but I've been enjoying Instagram a lot: Seeing where...

How Fast are Rene Herse Tires?

How fast are our tires? We know that the casing, and not the width, determines a tire's speed. When I rode Paris-Brest-Paris on 42 mm-wide tires (above), I knew that I wasn't giving up any speed over narrower rubber. But in absolute terms, how fast are our Rene Herse...

Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting Routes

The 2019 Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting is less than a week away. We're really excited to meet many of you near Portland next weekend! The Un-Meeting 'un-officially' starts at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019 at Stub Stewart State Park in Buxton, OR. We'll meet at the Visitor Center (see...

Contact Points Matter: Saddles

When I built my new bike for this year's Paris-Brest-Paris, I was reminded of professional racers in the old days, who brought their favorite saddle and handlebars to the builder of their new bike. I've talked about handlebars here; today, I'll cover saddles as the second contact point between us...

Ryan’s PBP Video

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ve3tXQY5pFk&feature=youtu.be?rel=0&w=640&h=360] I've really enjoyed the stories that have come out of last week's Paris-Brest-Paris. Above is my friend and training buddy Ryan Hamilton's short video, seen entirely through the eyes of his bike-mounted camera. I was moved when seeing the great big bridge that leads into Brest. My eyes...

Paris-Brest-Paris: 1200 Epic Kilometers

This year’s Paris-Brest-Paris lived up to its reputation as an epic event. Organized without interruption since 1891, PBP is the oldest bike ride in the world. It takes riders back to the 'Heroic Age' when races featured stages that began before dawn and ran late into the night, and beyond. Riding...

Climbing into the Clouds

A recent hiking trip to Mount Rainier also provided an opportunity to revisit a favorite climb – and work on my form for the upcoming 1200 km (750 miles) of Paris-Brest-Paris. This time, we headed to Mount Rainier by car, loaded with four people, backpacks and associated gear. Fortunately, the J.P....

New Sealant for Rene Herse Tires

Tubeless tires have changed what we can do on a bike. When the terrain is really rough, not having to worry about pinch flats allows us to run lower tire pressure for more comfort, more traction and more speed. (The speed comes from the lower pressure on rough surfaces,...

Tune Your Tires!

With wide tires, you can tune the ride of your bike to the terrain and to your personal preferences. This gives you options that simply did not exist in the past. Gone are the days when we inflated our narrow tires to the maximum pressure and rode on rock-hard rubber....

Why Contact Points Matter: Handlebars

Riding long distances – especially on rough roads – puts different demands on your body and your bike than short and fast-paced races. The contact points with the bike become more important the longer you ride. These days, you don't hear much about them, especially the saddle and handlebars. If...

Bicycle Quarterly Summer 2019 Preview

[youtube https://youtu.be/BTb4xIu4nr8?rel=0&w=640&h=360] The Summer 2019 Bicycle Quarterly is at the printer. It's an another exciting edition, full of bike tests, adventures and great stories. As a preview, we made the little video clip above of Natsuko riding the Frances All-Road. Perhaps you admired this beautiful bike at the North American Handmade...