The Bicycle Quarterly "Team"

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The Bicycle Quarterly “Team” is the inspiration for much of what we do. Whether it’s the ride stories in Bicycle Quarterly or the components made by Compass Bicycles, it all starts with a bunch of friends riding bikes. You may have noticed that “team” is in quotation marks, because it’s not an official team, but a really remarkable group who have found each other over the years.
We all are of similar strength, which means that a common pace comes naturally. We’ve ridden many thousands of miles together, so we have developed similar styles. We can paceline on gravel descents, because we know that nobody will suddenly brake or swerve. Riding with people you know so well is relaxing and safe. Our conversations during these rides are animated and inspiring. Our friendships extend far beyond the bike.
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At this time of year, we usually ride in the foothills of the Cascades and train to see our form return, while we wait for the snow to melt on the high mountain passes. We really live for those summertime adventures!
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Whether it’s riding 530 km (330 miles) from Seattle to the highest roads on Mount St. Helens (above) and Mount Rainier, and back, in 24 hours, during the original Cyclos Montagnards Challenge…
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… or climbing gravel mountain passes at night (and hiking through snow at the top), it’s great to have a group of friends who share the excitement of planning rides that go a bit beyond what many consider possible on a bike.
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We like to ride at a spirited pace and over long distances. That is demanding on our bikes, and more than one idea for Compass components has originated on a ride, when we found that the available equipment wasn’t up to the task. “There must be a better way!” has been the start for many a new product. We then return to the workshop to make prototypes. We test them on the following rides. Once we’ve found them up to the task, we put them into production.
Similarly, we take Bicycle Quarterly’s test bikes on adventures that explore the limits of rider and bike alike. If a bike performs well in our testing, readers can be assured that it’s an excellent machine.
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Of course, not every ride is a magnificent adventure. Often, we just head out for six to eight hours. We ride into the foothills of the Cascades (above), or through Western Washington’s marvellous coastal landscapes.
Whether our rides are short or long, we are lucky to have these friends, because as much as we love our bikes, they are an end to a means: enjoying our rides even more.
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The best of these rides are turned into stories for Bicycle Quarterly. You can read about one of the most memorable rides, the Volcano High Pass 600 km Super Randonnée, in our sample issue online.

7 Responses to The Bicycle Quarterly "Team"

  1. Ed B March 14, 2016 at 6:06 am #

    You have something rare and special.
    One question…
    “…during the original Cyclos Montagnards Challenge”
    I clicked on the Cyclos Montagnards tab to get some inspiration from that original story but it looks like the link is broken? I vaguely remember my original reading of it and how well the group worked together and made it back just in time as a group.

  2. Bill Wood March 14, 2016 at 3:03 pm #

    Those look like great rides!

  3. Ray Varella March 15, 2016 at 10:41 pm #

    So with all this collective experience…how long till there is a BQ/Compass bicycle?
    Great group, I’m sure you inspire many of us to ride more.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 15, 2016 at 11:06 pm #

      No plans for a complete bicycle right now. We are plenty busy, and we love working with the many talented builders who are making great bikes.

  4. emem1956 March 20, 2016 at 5:07 am #

    Without wanting to pry, and acknowledging that for your team your work is bikes, I’m curious how you find the time away from partners, children, extended family &c. When I say “find the time away” I mean both how you manage to *get* the time *and* how you feel when away from partners (of course, some of you may be with your partner on these rides). I’m always conscious that my riding time—esp. brevets—is always “stolen” from time with my partner, who has no interest / capability to accompany me. (I should say that my partner is, as I expect each of yours is, happy for me to go riding, but if were to crank it up to the level you guys seem to do, she might be less happy!)
    On a separate, but perhaps related, topic: I notice that both in your ride reports & photos and in the Audax events I ride, women are badly under-represented. Yet in endurance running women are relatively common and amongst the best there are. Given that women are just as capable as men, and especially capable in endurance sports, I wonder if there are reasons apart from those we might expect—caring for children, working at home, less disposable income to spend on eqmnt &c—why this might be the case, and what could be done to encourage & foster women’s participation. Any thoughts?

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly March 20, 2016 at 8:48 am #

      Your concern is shared by us. We appreciate how understanding and supportive our families and partners have been over the years, especially for the longer commitments like Paris-Brest-Paris. We also know they are rooting for us, checking our ride progress and emailing congratulations. Given the opportunity, that is why we don’t go on week-long tours, but prefer rides that take half a day, with the occasional 24- to 36-hour adventure being the exception rather than the norm. Fortunately, our partners understand that time with friends, doing something we love, is good for all of us.
      As to why women don’t always feel welcome among endurance cyclists, there are many reasons… Perhaps female readers can elaborate.