We get many letters and e-mails. We read them all, but we cannot reply to each and every one. We select a few for inclusion to Bicycle Quarterly “Readers’ Forum” pages. How do we select these letters?
To be published, a letter must add something new to the discussion. We really enjoy the many letters that say “I love Bicycle Quarterly, and you guys have changed the way I ride!” However, publishing them would amount to self-congratulation, and add little new material to the discussion.
Sometimes, readers ask specific technical questions, like: “Should I choose 700C or 650B wheels for my new bike?” Unfortunately, we cannot answer these questions, because there are too many variables involved. They are best addressed to a bike builder, a bike fitter, or perhaps an internet forum like the i-Bob list. You may also look through the index of Bicycle Quarterly back issues. The back issues contain a lot of information that will help you make your decision.
A letter that says: “I read your article on mounting handlebar bags, and decided to build my own rack. Here is a photo.” is of interest to our readers, especially if the photo shows something different from what our article recommended.
If somebody adds a detail to an article, like a date to a historical article, we will publish that contribution, unless it’s obviously in error. Personal experiences – say a reader who visited the shop of a builder we portrayed – also are wonderful contributions.
As with all cutting-edge research, our findings can be controversial. We are well-aware of that, and we welcome open discussions of our methods, data and interpretations. If a reader disagrees with our findings, and spells out why, they are almost guaranteed to have their letter published. (If they prefer to write an entire article that rebuts our findings, the article will be published if it makes it through our standard outside review process, that is, if it is well-researched and if the data presented supports the conclusions.)
I consider Bicycle Quarterly’s “Readers’ Forum” an essential part of the magazine. It is part of the two-way flow of information that connects us with the community of our readers.