Off The Beaten Path

The Bicycle Quarterly “Team”

The Bicycle Quarterly “Team” is the inspiration for much of what we do. Whether it’s the ride stories in Bicycle Quarterly or the components made by Compass Bicycles, it all starts with a bunch of friends riding bikes. You may have noticed that “team” is in quotation marks, because it’s not an official team, but a really remarkable group who have found each other over the years.

We all are of similar strength, which means that a common pace comes naturally. We’ve ridden many thousands of miles together, so we have developed similar styles. We can paceline on gravel descents, because we know that nobody will suddenly brake or swerve. Riding with people you know so well is relaxing and safe. Our conversations during these rides are animated and inspiring. Our friendships extend far beyond the bike.

At this time of year, we usually ride in the foothills of the Cascades and train to see our form return, while we wait for the snow to melt on the high mountain passes. We really live for those summertime adventures!

Whether it’s riding 530 km (330 miles) from Seattle to the highest roads on Mount St. Helens (above) and Mount Rainier, and back, in 24 hours, during the original Cyclos Montagnards Challenge…

… or climbing gravel mountain passes at night (and hiking through snow at the top), it’s great to have a group of friends who share the excitement of planning rides that go a bit beyond what many consider possible on a bike.

We like to ride at a spirited pace and over long distances. That is demanding on our bikes, and more than one idea for Compass components has originated on a ride, when we found that the available equipment wasn’t up to the task. “There must be a better way!” has been the start for many a new product. We then return to the workshop to make prototypes. We test them on the following rides. Once we’ve found them up to the task, we put them into production.

Similarly, we take Bicycle Quarterly’s test bikes on adventures that explore the limits of rider and bike alike. If a bike performs well in our testing, readers can be assured that it’s an excellent machine.

Of course, not every ride is a magnificent adventure. Often, we just head out for six to eight hours. We ride into the foothills of the Cascades (above), or through Western Washington’s marvellous coastal landscapes.

Whether our rides are short or long, we are lucky to have these friends, because as much as we love our bikes, they are an end to a means: enjoying our rides even more.

The best of these rides are turned into stories for Bicycle Quarterly. You can read about one of the most memorable rides, the Volcano High Pass 600 km Super Randonnée, in our sample issue online.