I love my work. A few years ago, I was concerned that editing Bicycle Quarterly might eventually become a “job” rather than a passion. As it turns out, I am still excited about every issue of Bicycle Quarterly, especially this 50th one! To celebrate the occasion, we added 50% more pages, so we could cover several topics in-depth without having to worry about page counts. So there are no promotional tie-ins or water bottle give-aways to celebrate – we just give you more of what really mattters at BQ.
The 50th issue presents an opportunity to take stock and look back over 12.5 years. Perhaps Bicycle Quarterly’s greatest contribution has been to redefine what a performance bike can be. No longer do we have to choose between comfort and speed, between spirited performance and the ability to go on adventures off the beaten path.
To examine the state of the art in “real-world bicycles”, we tested one of Peter Weigle’s nearly mythical 650B bikes. We took it to the Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting, where it had to carry a light camping load, traverse a mountain pass on gravel roads, and chase a personal best on a long, paved road climb. I don’t think I give away too much when I say that it performed admirably at all those tasks, and we had great fun with it, too.
To put the Weigle into perspective, we selected 11 milestones among the 60+ bikes we have tested. Each of these bikes was special when we tested it. Together, they chronicle how our understanding of performance bicycles has evolved over the last decade.
Three years ago, I got my own “ultimate custom bicycle”. Now with 18,000 km under its wheels, I take stock: How is it to ride a bike with 1930s derailleurs, 1950s brakes and 21st century lights every day? What would I do differently next time around, and which features have proven their worth?
I’ve long been a fan of Bernard Déon’s classic book Paris-Brest et Retour. In this issue, we bring you the story of the very first Paris-Brest-Paris from his book. Conceived in 1891 as a “utilitarian race”, the first PBP was an extreme adventure and a gripping race. We combine Déon’s classic text (translated into English) with unique images from the Jacques Seray collection to take you right into the action.
World traveler Damian Antonio takes you on an amazing adventure in the Himalayas. What is it like to cycle above 5000 m (16,400 ft) elevation?
We also went to the Big Island of Hawaii, and bring you the experience of climbing the volcanoes there. At the same time, we evaluate the compromises inherent in a bike designed to fit into a suitcase. It made us realize that some features of our favorite bikes are not essential, but others we would not want to live without.
We take you on a factory tour of Nitto, the famous makers of handlebars, stems, racks and other metal components. Among other things, you will learn how the bulge in the center of high-end handlebars is formed.
Of course, that is far from all. We show you how to replace a rim without completely rebuilding the wheel. We feature book reviews, product tests, news, as well as our popular “Skill” and “Icon” columns. We hope you enjoy this issue and join our celebration.