Watch the Video: Ride into the Unknown

The Winter Bicycle Quarterly features the story of a remarkable adventure: Touring unknown mountain roads in the French Alps on an unrestored, 70-year-old René Herse. To bring you right into the action, we made a little video about the ride. Click on the image above to watch, before reading the full story in BQ 62 (available soon). Subscribe today to get your issue in time for the holidays.
Make sure to watch in full-screen mode. If the video does not display above, click here to watch it on YouTube.
Camera: Nicolas Joly.

22 Responses to Watch the Video: Ride into the Unknown

  1. George Rosselle December 1, 2017 at 2:22 am #

    What a tease. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the magazine. The views remind me of the Blue Ridge Parkway.

  2. Gunther December 1, 2017 at 5:09 am #

    Dans le Vercors?

  3. Brian December 1, 2017 at 5:47 am #

    That was awesome!

  4. Steven Krusemark December 1, 2017 at 5:48 am #

    It is nice to see that a quality ride can last the ages! We’re still riding our 35 year old, so far relatively unrestored Bill Boston Tandem with the last tour on Cape Breton Island. Now we are planning for the next 30,000 miles! It will need a bit of help to get there though. Could be a challenge.

  5. José Martínez Cámara December 1, 2017 at 6:31 am #

    I’ve recently bought a not so old french tandem (a Follis) and am planning to use it for touring after an overhaul. Even without reading the full story the video alone is sooooo inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Matthew J December 1, 2017 at 7:31 am #

    Thank you for the lovely video to start my day.
    I’ve never ridden a tandem. How much difference does having the heavier rider first or second make have on ride and handling?

  7. thebvo December 1, 2017 at 7:34 am #


  8. Theodor Rzad December 1, 2017 at 8:34 am #

    Can’t wait to learn more about this adventure! I am curious about the extent of tuning/refurbishment you undertook on the unrestored RH tandem to at least ensure safety.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 1, 2017 at 9:00 am #

      The previous owner, Ivan Souverain, thoroughly overhauled the tandem before we left. He put on new tires, brake pads, cables and chains and regreased the bearings.

  9. Wilfried531 December 1, 2017 at 1:11 pm #

    So great… some descents must be very technical in tandem… but Cycling in “massif du Vercors” is always a joice!! I really enjoy this video…

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 1, 2017 at 1:23 pm #

      It all depends on the tandem… As you can see from the video, the tandem handled superbly. It was really not much different from riding a single bike during the descents.

  10. Ian December 1, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    at 0:28, get those elbows in

  11. Davy December 1, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

    Les gorges de la Bourne !

  12. Rob December 2, 2017 at 9:13 am #

    The video shows clearly that Herse’s implementation of twin lateral reinforcement works well; the frame seems very stable both when you’re actually pedalling (about 10 seconds in) and downhill on the turns. It’s a beautiful and elegant design.

    • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 2, 2017 at 9:20 pm #

      Yes, it worked very well. Even when avoiding rocks in mid-turn in the third downhill section, the tandem was easy to control.

      • Mark December 3, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

        The way the back end of the bike tucked into line on the corners was impressive—both the bike and your handling of it. Especially considering the load you were carrying. My tandem (and I suspect my riding!) is no where near as competent. What sort of speeds do you think you were doing? The acceleration on tandem descents can be thrilling (and scary if you’ve got questions about your brakes; I assume you didn’t have any).

        • Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly December 3, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

          It’s mostly the tandem – this one really rides like a single bike. There is a companion article in the next Bicycle Quarterly that explain some of the secrets that makes old René Herse tandems handle so well. Speeds – I doubt we exceeded 80 km/h (50 mph) on this trip, and during the shooting of the video, we descended at 50-60 km/h (30-38 mph). The tandem was totally stable and easy to handle at those speeds…

  13. Angstrom December 2, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

    … and Mont Aiguille, in Trièves.
    Ride into the well known (by French riders) cyclotourisme’s paradise.

  14. alderbanks December 2, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    Beautiful countryside. Looking forward to some details on the tandem as well as your adventure.

  15. אופניים חשמליים December 2, 2017 at 6:48 pm #

    beautiful, makes wanna take my Cellini for a ride!