The Passion of Cycling
Seattle harbors a dedicated and vibrant cycling community, and is home to Bicycle Quarterly Magazine. The Seattle International Randonneurs chapter might well be the biggest in North America and Bicycle Quarterly Magazine is largely to blame for stoking the contagious fervor for long-distance cycling, cyclo-camping, and a significant lean in this city toward steel bicycles and the meticulous evaluation of component performance. I’m not talking about the tri scene. I’m talking about wool and steel, fenders and racks–ingredients that fit hand-in-hand with the ethos of the Pacific Northwest.
Jan Heine, founder of BQ, describes Bicycle Quarterly’s inception and passionate focus thus,
“I’ve always loved cycling (well, since I was five years old), and I’ve always been drawn to riding off the beaten path. It started when my friends and I explored forest roads on our racing bikes, then we discovered randonneuring, Paris-Brest-Paris and riding gravel roads. We took much inspiration from previous generations, especially the French randonneurs. Starting with Vélocio, these riders explored un-made mountain passes and rode their bikes to the ends of the earth. To share this passion, I started Bicycle Quarterly.
Bicycle Quarterly’s feature-length bike tests take you on amazing adventures, where we challenge the test bikes to the limits of their capabilities. Our stories bring you unexpected discoveries of unexpected places: the secret passes of the Cascade Range, the story of female randonneuses in mid-century France, the mountain roads of Japan. Our well-written technical articles, like our research on the performance of wide tires, have changed the cycling world. And we take you into the workshops of the greatest builders all over the world and explain how they make bikes and why they are special.”
A few years back, Bicycle Quarterly Magazine issued a call-out to its regional readers to gather for a few days of riding. The format was simple: a meeting place and date were announced and the invitation was sent out!
Word spread quickly and plans started brewing in delighted anticipation. The Un-meeting was on:
“The Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting has a simple format: A meeting time and place are announced, a few routes are scouted, and everybody is welcome to join us for a day of cycling “off the beaten path”. The following day, there is the option of joining the group for the ride back to Portland via the scenic Historic Columbia Highway. Logistics are up to each participant. The Un-Meeting has no entry fees, no waivers and provides no services. Everybody is welcome on any type of bike. However, because there are no services, riders must be self-sufficient. There will be no sag wagon…”
Each year more enthusiasts flock to the BQ Un-meeting. It serves as a gathering spot for adventure-hungry cyclists who have come from all over Cascadia to ride together and attracts a motley crew of gravel-lovers, and adventure seekers. This year, word is that Un-meeting will lure riders all the way from the Southern Hemisphere.
Off the Beaten Path
2016 BQ Un-meeting shares the same weekend as Swift Campout, June 25th and 26th, and begins in Carson, Washington. Cyclists are already planning their routes from Seattle and Portland as they commit to riding to the gathering spot on the Columbia River, bike-camping en route as they wind along the river gorge or weave through the stunning terrain of the Gifford Pinchot National Forest.
Join the gathering at this year’s Bicycle Quarterly Un-Meeting on June 25 and 26 in Carson, Washington and register your adventure as a Swift Campout! Simply add BQ Un-meeting in your destination field as you set up your Camper profile! To find out more please head to the Un-meeting’s official site.
Sign up for Swift Campout for a chance to win a Bicycle Quarterly subscription or a Rene Herse coffee-table book.
Get a taste for what’s inside the pages of Bicycle Quarterly Magazine! Get whisked away to the dirt roads and volcanoes of Mexico on the Paso de Cortes. READ THE STORY