Summer 2021 Bicycle QuarterlyJan Heine
The Summer 2021 Bicycle Quarterly is another action-packed edition. We test one of Fern’s dreamy creations, a pure adventure bike equipped to handle everything from fast road riding (with aerobars) to ultra-steep technical terrain (with a dropper seatpost). Outfitted with a full complement of custom-made Gramm_Tourpacking bikepacking bags, it’s made for the riding we enjoy.
To test this dream bike, we take it on a challenging non-stop ride around the Olympic Mountains, a 29-hour adventure over smooth pavement, rough gravel, and even snow! Does its performance match its eye appeal? And how does a bikepacking setup compare with a classic handlebar bag? Where does one work better and where the other?
We wouldn’t be Bicycle Quarterly if we didn’t add a historic perspective: Few people know that bikepacking was the original way to carry gear on a bike, more than a century ago. We discovered a 1950s article by one of the pioneers of camping bikes, Louis Pitard. Read how he and others developed racks and panniers through many iterations before arriving at the low-riders that remain popular today.
We explore the broad range of cycling philosophies from all-out racing to leisurely touring. Ted King talks about Unbound 2021 and how he raced for 200 miles across the Flint Hills of Kansas just weeks after breaking his collarbone. The ‘King of Gravel’ talks about his equipment choices and reports from the saddle how the world’s biggest gravel race unfolded. The subtitle of his story is ‘Calculated Risk.’
At the other end of the spectrum, Natsuko explains why she loves mountain passes, even though she has no interest in riding hard or getting her heart rate up. For her, riding in the mountains is about discovery of nature and culture, of tracing the footsteps of those who’ve used these passes for centuries, of feeling the weather and climate change from one side of the mountains to the other.
Lael Wilcox shows that there’s no need to choose one approach over another. She toured the Ruby Road in southern Arizona first, then rode it as a time trial in one day. Rugile Kaladyte’s atmospheric photos bring Lael’s story to life. Reading this article will make you want to head to the desert country of the American Southwest!
Nicholas Joly takes you into the hallowed halls of Berthoud Cycles. The company renovated a century-old railway workshop to create an airy space where some of the most beautiful – and functional – bags, saddles and components are created. Discover the philosophy and outlook of this dedicated team of young cyclists, who combine a respect for the tried-and-true with a forward-looking vision.
Each Bicycle Quarterly includes a project with useful step-by-step instructions. This time, we explore how to mount metal fenders and go into many of the small tricks that come from decades of experience in refining this process. Taken together, they’ll save much time and frustration, plus make sure your fenders are quiet and last as long as your bike.
These are just a few of the many great stories in the Summer Bicycle Quarterly. The new edition is at the printer now, and we are preparing the mailing lists. To be one of the first to receive your copy, please make sure your subscription is current.