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.

  • Features:
  • 4 Builders Speak: Bruce Gordon on Making a Ti-Lugged Carbon Show Bike
  • 17 Reprint: The Moulton — Bike of the Future? (Le Cycle 1962)
  • 32 Classic Bikes: Ca. 1910 Dursley Pedersen
  • 44 The History of Randonneuring, Part 2: 1930s — Diagonals and the German Occupation
  • 52 Competing in the Concours des Pyrénées Technical Trials (Le Cycliste 1935)
  • 63 In the Press: Wider Tires, Lower Pressures (
  • 70 My Favorite Bike: Michael Wolfe's Bacchetta Aero Recumbent
  • Reviews:
  • 18 Bike Test: Moulton New Series
  • 20 Book Review: Alex Moulton's Autobiography
  • 31 Book Review: Mr. Pedersen — Man of Genius
  • 36 Bike Test: MAP 650B Randonneur Project
  • 60: Tests: Origin 8 Cantilever Brakes; Kool-Stop "Mafac Replacement" Brake Pads; Gore Bike Wear Bib Tights; Pacenti Pari-Moto 650B x 38mm Tires
  • Tech:
  • 24 The Promise of Unconventional Bicycles
  • 66 Derailleurs and Speed (Tour de France)
  • 69 The Resistance of Shimano Alfine Hubs
  • News:
  • 65 Obituary: Neville March
  • 68 Readers' Forum