400 km Brevet Video

Theo is the ride organizer of an upcoming Seattle International Randonneurs 400 km brevet. So a week ago, Theo, Hahn and Ryan of the Bicycle Quarterly team pre-rode the course, to make sure that the cue sheet is correct, that roads are open, and to get a general feel for the ride. Are the controls easy to find? Are the stores open at the times required, or is there a need of an “informational” control for some riders who may come through at night? Are there long stretches without “services”? All those questions are best answered by doing the ride a week ahead of the official ride. The “pre-ride” also allows the organizers to do the ride and get credit, for example, to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris.

Ryan mounted his GoPro camera on his bike for this ride and edited the footage into a lovely 6-minute video. It gives a great feel of one of these rides, in the company of friends. You see the three taking pulls in a paceline, getting into the aero tuck on downhills, riding through the night, and indulging in a hearty breakfast. Click on the image above and enjoy!

About Jan Heine, Editor, Bicycle Quarterly

Spirited rides that zig-zag across mountain ranges. Bicycle Quarterly magazine and its sister company, Compass Cycles, that turns our research into high-performance components for real-world riders.
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32 Responses to 400 km Brevet Video

  1. Mr. Palomar says:

    great video!

  2. B. Carfree says:

    I’m curious about the 6:00 PM start. Personally, when I do rides of that distance I prefer to start around 3:00 AM, which allows me to finish before sunset. (I’d rather start at midnight, but we still have too many drunks who haven’t landed yet at that time.) Is 6:00 chosen out of tradition, as a preference of the organizer/organization, or for some other reason, such as to be able to go through the tunnel when traffic is at its lowest?

    • Rando Theo says:

      The 6:00 PM start was chosen as practice for PBP, which has an evening start for most riders. Seattle Randonneurs has a 1000K brevet starting at the same time. Some riders prefer an evening start on rides of 1000K and longer because they have trouble staying awake at night. Riding through the first night tends to put them on schedule to ride primarily during the daytime for the rest of the event.

      Your observation of lower traffic is correct – we encountered very few cars during the night portion of the ride. Once the sun came up, we shared the road with logging trucks, a few RVs, and a quite a few passenger cars. It was nicer to have the costal highways to ourselves.

    • Ryan H. says:

      In Paris-Brest-Paris, the 80 hour and 90 hour start times are in the evening. The Seattle Randonneurs club likes to offer a night start brevet prior to PBP so that riders can get a little experience with starting in the evening.

  3. Great video. Those guys were really hauling butt. Thank you!

  4. robertkerner says:

    Nicely done. Tell me about the location where they mounted their pumps (non-drive side behind the seat). Is that a west coast thing? I haven’t seen that in the East. Isn’t that a bit close to the wheel?
    Keep up the good work.

    • We hadn’t noticed a regional difference in the location of frame pumps… The non-drive side seatstay mount keeps the top tube clear if you have to carry your bike and doesn’t limit water bottles as does the mounting method infront of the seattube or on the inside of the downtube. Those other locations were popular on classic bicycles (most of the framepumps in The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles are on the inside of the downtube), but the seatstay mount isn’t new. In the TOEI book, there’s a photo of a 1957 TOEI with the pump mounted on the seat stay.

      The pump pegs are placed so that the pumps follow the seatstay closely and are close to the wheel only at the drop out, so it’s good to turn them so the locking levers are away from the wheel (this way, they can’t open into the spokes).

      -Theo, Compass Bicycles

    • Steve Palincsar says:

      It’s definitely a UK thing. My George Longstaff Audax, built in 1991, has one. Peter Weigle’s also using that location.

  5. Patrick Moore says:

    Bravo! Magnifique! The great pleasure in cycling video is watching experienced riders ride with utmost efficiency — steady cadence, upper bodies still, no wasted motion. Paceline footage is an added bonus. Elegance = minimum means to achieve a given end.

    My brother was once a So Cal regional class middle distance runner. When running, he looked as if he was shuffling along — arms at side, feet barely lifted — but when I ran with him — and I wasn’t too bad myself — I had a hard time keeping up. No wasted motion. The efficiency and beauty of good cycling technique is similar.

    The rider with the orange vest has a light attached to the left seatstay. Do you know what it is?

    • Rando Theo says:

      I’m the rider with the orange vest. The light on my left seatstay is a Planet Bike Superflash. I always use it in solid, but the video shows it flashing. I wonder if it’s getting old or if I set the wrong mode…

  6. Rick Harker says:

    When you have an enjoyable ride it’s nice to share the story with photos or in this case, video.
    On my Audax rides I try to get photos to go with the story but it usually ends with riding solo to the next check point. The video camera is a great option.

  7. Ian Hammond says:

    Great video, well done keeping up that pace. I wish the roads here in Australia could be so smooth and, seemingly swept clean.

  8. sisyphus says:

    Fabulous video. Joy Division was a nice addition.

  9. David Pearce says:

    Great video! It’s a poor replacement for the pleasure you must feel doing the ride, but still great for me to get a savor of how wonderful it felt.

    I was a little surprised at the end of the video, when I saw Hahn (I think) let his bike fall, albeit carefully, on to its drive side. He seems to have a modern derailleur the projects from the side of the bike, but he wouldn’t do it unless he was sure no damage would come to the drive side.

  10. Michael says:

    Well, that’s the price you pay when you are fast!!;)

  11. Such nice bicycles. The Pryor has a very considerate rear mudflap, makes me think I should install one too. I use a front flap to keep the drive clean but for now my rear fender keeps spray off my back with little regard for the soul behind me.
    /also noticed the rider switched off the blinky feature. I’m sure that came at the request of his riding partner.😉

    • Rando Theo says:

      Oddly, neither of them told me that my light was on the blink (literally)!😉 I always ride with it solid, having spent far too much time behind blinking red lights myself.

      If you ride on wet roads in close proximity to other riders, they’ll appreciate a mud flap. I used to ride without one, until I saw what happened to a dapper fellow behind me — his natty pink Rapha jersey and waxed moustache were covered in drops of mud and road grime…

  12. Michael says:

    Jan,
    You have mentioned that 99% of your daily travel is by bike. How many miles would you say you ride daily since you are pretty much car free?

    • Jan’s commuting miles vary from 2 to 20 miles. The key seems to be planning multiple activities in each outing to make efficient use of time: dropping off something, meeting for lunch, working in the machine shop, picking up groceries, etc.
      -Barbara, Compass Bicycles

  13. velofinds says:

    Reblogged this on Velo Finds and commented:
    That’s lovely—but admittedly also a bit incongruous seeing mudguards and lyrca mix😉 ‘Round here, lycra pretty firmly puts you in the roadie set…

    • Michael says:

      …fenders take you out of it.
      But seriously, for long distance riding, sometimes cycling specific, padded shorts can be necessary for survival. I wonder how many people have done an SR series with only street shorts and underwear. I bet someone has!
      I like wool cycling shorts more than I do the Lycra type. Better freedom of movement and wider temps range to use them in.

  14. Ford Kanzler says:

    Fine video. A bit of live audio and captioning about where you are at the time would be helpful additions.

  15. Chad says:

    My family regularly makes weekend trips to Long Beach and I’ve considered riding there to meet up with them. Do you have a map of the route you take that you’d be willing to share? Riding down the highway that far doesn’t appeal to me, but if there is a good alternative I’d sure appreciate the information.

  16. marmotte27 says:

    Jans seemingly prolonged absence makes me curious. Already in France doing some epic rides we’re going to read about in BQ?

  17. David Feldman says:

    Great video. I have driven and ridden that coast and loved it every time. The bikes looked so French it made the music sound weird–try Piaf and Django Reinhardt next time!

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