Grant Petersen’s Review of the Rene Herse Book

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When somebody says nice things about your work, it’s always a good feeling. When that person is a mentor who has been a great influence, it’s even more meaningful. So when Grant Petersen reviewed our new book so positively and insightfully, it really made my day. It is great that he liked the book, but I am even more honored that he understood the idea behind it, and that he thinks we have achieved what we set out to do. Thank you, Grant!

You’ll also want to read his blug to hear his unique voice and enjoy his sense of humor: Read the review here…

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

I love cycling and bicycles, especially those that take us off the beaten path. I edit Bicycle Quarterly magazine, and occasionally write for other publications. One of our companies, Bicycle Quarterly Press publishes cycling books, while Compass Bicycles Ltd. makes and distributes high-quality bicycle components for real-world riders.
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7 Responses to Grant Petersen’s Review of the Rene Herse Book

  1. mark in beacon says:

    That’s a great endorsement, congratulations. I went to hear Grant speak about his book in NYC last spring, and got a chance to have a chat. Interestingly, his previous post, although not explicit in mentioning it by name, appears to be his take on the North American Handmade Bicycle Show. I was having a similar reaction to many of the photos coming from that show–lots of flourish, but to what end. I contrast this with the historic technical trials in France that you’ve written about, and the contemporary Oregon Manifest Challenge, where, in many cases, function begets beauty. One reason I chose a L’avecaise for my first and last custom bicycle, aside from the favorable review in BQ, was (what appeared to me in talking with him, however briefly) Jeff’s practical and workaday personality and approach to bicycle fabrication, which to my eye results in bikes of simple, understated beauty with lots of functionality. (Not that there are not examples of this at NAHBS, but they seem to be few and far between.)

    As much as I like reading and commenting about bicycles and bicycling, I’m looking forward to receiving my new frame, building it up, and riding off down the road on my set of extra light Hetres. Spring is around the corner.

    • I think Grant is commenting on the northern European “Design” bikes like the Biomega:

      http://citizenmodern.blogspot.com/2007/05/biomega-mn-03-review.html

      I once saw one. It was incredibly heavy and seemed to have no redeeming features except that it was designed by a famous designer and was quite novel in its appearance.

      • mark in beacon says:

        Hmmmm. I know he mentioned northern European student designs somewhere in there, but the post starts out talking about bike show bikes, and that Biomega link is 5 years old while NAHBS just happened…still, if I’m wrong, as Rosanne Rosanna Danna used to say…”Oh. Never mind.”

        In any case, I look forward to reading your book at some point. It will have to wait a bit, as I blew my Compass budget on the el Hetres and some new handlebars.

      • Bike shows are always more about “show” and less about “go” – that is just inherent in the genre. You probably noticed that we don’t report much on shows, as we prefer to test bikes on the road.

  2. Will says:

    When Grant’s book was published, I asked our library (Madison, WI) to buy a copy. They bought 13! I’ve just submitted an acquisition request for your book. I’m thinking they’ll go for it. Cycling is big here.

  3. John Price says:

    Regarding NAHBS, I went this year to the one here in Denver. I definitely saw more “Go” than “Show” bikes. I think the press and blog-o-sphere tend to focus mostly on the “Show” bikes so the coverage is a bit skewwed and gives people the wrong impression of what’s there.

    Regarding your new book – it’s EXCELLENT. From the photos to the writing to the quality of it, I recommend it.

  4. Ted says:

    That’s a great review from Grant. One thing he doesn’t mention, though, is how much work obviously went into making this book. You get a sense of it when you see a photo that Jan had taken in 2007 and think, “Jan was working on this project for at least 5 years…” I tried to take my time and linger over each page, but it was hard not to keep turning the pages. It’s a compelling story that you can then go back and savor with random page selections. It’s going to stay at my bedside for a long time. Superbly done, Jan!

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