Riding with the Compass Crew


Most of the staff at Compass Cycles consists of avid cyclists. In fact, we knew each other on the bike long before we started working together. Occasionally, Compass has a “company ride”.


Our last ride went north. It was one of those perfect mid-winter rides. The snow-covered mountains were crisp and clear, full of promise for our summer adventures. Conversation alternated with working together in a paceline. We enjoyed the steep, curving descent into the Snoqualmie Valley (above).


While we enjoyed pastries in Snohomish, our trusty steeds were parked outside. Left to right: Theo’s MAP randonneur bike, my Firefly fat-tire racer, and Gabe’s Pelican city bike. Very different machines, and yet similar in many ways: All are designed for performance, with low-trail geometries, Compass tires and René Herse cranks.


We rode through the bucolic Snoqualmie Valley, enjoyed a second food stop at our favorite taco truck in Monroe, and then headed home on beautiful backroads (above). It was nice to get out of the city, and we still made it back at the office for the 3:30 Fedex pickup… Now we just wish we could find time for a Compass ride every week!

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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13 Responses to Riding with the Compass Crew

  1. Christian Bratina says:

    Riding in Washington state was a great experience, but you have never mentioned the miles and miles of big, juicy blackberries every August. It was a perfect excuse to stop and wait for my touring companion.

  2. DaveS says:

    I can’t believe that Jan’s riding a bike without fenders! Any word if Compass will be supplying a proper fender for the Rat Trap Pass tire?

    • We do have a fender for the 26″ x 54 mm Rat Trap Pass tires – the smooth Honjo 650B fenders. The radius is just right (Rat Trap Pass and 650B x 42 mm Babyshoe Pass have the same outer diameter), and the width is the maximum you can do on a road bike: In the smallest gear, the chain will hit a fender that is wider than 62 mm. So you need a fender that doesn’t wrap around the tire a lot, and you mount it a bit higher above the tire (about 25 mm clearance).

      Why no fenders on the Firefly? I really enjoy the feel of a racing bike. It feels different when rocking it from side to side while riding out of the saddle. Also, the clearance on the Firefly is too tight – just 15 mm between tire and bridges. I’d have to go down to the 44 mm Naches Pass for fender mounting that is safe on gravel, and that would defeat the purpose of the bike.

  3. Andy says:

    Did you guys carry along locks or cables to secure your bikes during the pastry stop? Having had multiple bikes stolen here in Seattle I’m always paranoid of someone snatching my bikes, even in a seemingly ‘safe’ neighborhood.

    • No locks, but kept the bikes in sight. Usually, I do bring a very lightweight lock that at least will defeat the opportunistic bike thief. Out of the city, the well-equipped professional thieves are rare, since there is little chance of encountering a bike on any given day.

      • Rider X says:

        Its hard to tell, but did you do the helmet lock trick? The theory makes sense, a crime of opportunity grab will likely be thwarted when the front wheel doesn’t move. But has anyone seen it work in action?

      • I did put my helmet around the front wheel. I figure that it gains a little time if somebody tries to run off with the bike. Works better with disc brakes, because the rims are relatively clean!

  4. Garth says:

    The two bikes are also almost the same blue. At first I thought you were doing another blind tubing thickness/planing test.

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