Monthly Archives: February 2013

Double Blind Headlight Test!

The Quarterly Bicycle editorial board takes your safety seriously (seriously). As a service to the folks of the cycling community we are offering the results of our double blind test of the latest and greatest from the manufacturers.

Quarterly Bicycle Test Methodology:

Test Subjects: Ads were placed on Craig’s List for two blind persons to perform the double blind testing. This was initially unsuccessful and QB resorted to responding to various personal services ads on Craig’s List to find suitable subjects. Rigorous screening of willing individuals was necessary to prevent test team from being creeped out too much.

Intensity:  each light is placed 10cm from the test subject’s eyes and turned on the brightest setting for 5 minutes. The duration of the resulting purple dot(s) are evaluated thusly.

No dots = score of 0

0-5 minutes = score of 3

5-15 minutes = score of 6

Permanent purple dots = score of 9

On/Off switch Ease of function: Each test subject tested the lights for ease of locating, and ease of operating the on/off switch.

Could not find it, crashed when looking for it = score of 0

Found it but could not tell if switched on = score of 3

Easily found, easily operated = score of 6

Safety:  Safety of the light user only was considered. Complaints from and incapacitation of other roadway and pathway users was used as the only true indication of safety. (Ed Note: Double Blind Test Subjects did not perform this portion of the testing)

No reaction by others = score of 0

Flipped off/honked at by others = score of 3

Pulled off roadway by constable = score of 6

Cause others to crash = score of 9

Social Justice: This new category for testing is a part of the new enlightened QB with a conscience. We have adopted this progressive philosophy so that folks can have a clear conscience when purchasing product.

Cooperatively owned Company (tyranny by committee) = score of 0

Chemical Free Work Force (no healthcare) = score of 2

Sourced via Kickstarter = score of 4

Organic Work Force (forced to live via subsistence farming) = score of 6

Free Range Workforce (non-unionized day laborers) = score of 9

Lights Tested: Only lights purchased on the internet via Deal Extreme were considered due to budget constraints and we want to assure our investors that no more than $5.99 (free shipping!) was spent on any single light for this test. The Fly and the Wasp were purchased at the Saturday Oakland bike swap for $5 each.

ninja turtle light

ninja turtle light

Ninja Turtle Light: This light is so cool looking, but clashed extremely with the classic lines of the test randonneuse. For this light a Trek Madone was borrowed. QB Score: 14.4 (Ed. note, light mount broke when the borrowed Madone fell over at Starbucks, resulting in a 10% score penalty, per QB testing standards)

Intensity:             3

On/Off:                  0

Safety:                  3

Social Justice:     10



Lightster: No tester would allow themselves to be seen in public with a light named ‘Lightster’. A RUSA logo sticker was used to cover the Lightster name and still no one would use the light for the same reason. Gaffer tape was used to cover the RUSA sticker and testers then acquiesced and used the light.  QB Score: 25 (Ed. note, Double blind testers inadvertently turned the light to strobe mode and suffered from an epileptic seizure. This happened three times with this particular light and the test team was intrigued by the absolute repeatability of the seizure duration [ 5 min. 38 sec.]– this will be incorporated into a future double blind taillight test)

Intensity:             3

On/Off:                   6

Safety:                  6

Social Justice:     10+




Head Lamp: This light was used as a supplemental light for descending and for looking for lost keys. QB Score: 21

Intensity:             3

On/Off:                   0

Safety:                  9 – very effective for directing into the eyes of other roadway users, Ed.

Social Justice:     10



Fly: This light is effective as a light for seeing the road, but failed dismally in the QB test highlighting the need for folks to rely on our expertise for their purchasing needs. There was no strobe setting and the cut-off optics of the light made it fail the safety component of the test.  The light is further handicapped by failing the Social Justice testing component as the workforce is not Organic, Free Range or Chemical Free. QB Score: 12

Intensity:             6

On/Off:                   6

Safety:                  0

Social Justice:     0



Wasp: This light is effective as a light for seeing the road, and extremely safe as it caused no less than 3 cyclists, 4 motorists and 2 motorcyclists to leave the roadway. Almost all pedestrians encountered flipped us off or cursed. While there was no strobe setting the intensity and uncontrolled throw of light more than compensated for this lack in safety devices.  The light is also made in the USA and although is not labeled as such the workforce is most assuredly Organic, Free Range and Chemical Free. QB Score: 28

Intensity:             6

On/Off:                   3

Safety:                  9

Social Justice:     10

Conclusion: No light results in more safety than the uncontrolled intense light of a Wasp except the neighbor’s Deer Spotting Light with 10,000 foot candles. Unfortunately the Deer Spotting Light does not work with a USB connection. QB will continue to provide folks with valuable information for purchasing product as soon as new product is available within the QB budget. Stay tuned.


History of Randonneuring – installment 1664

In this installment of the QB Historic Moments Series we document a conversation between aged randonneurs who considered themselves the crème de la crème of the high rouleurs back in the 1980’s. The conversation was overheard the night of 18 February, 2017 at the Resto Frites Brasserie, Place du General de Gaulle, Hautemont, Nord-pas-de-Calais, Fr.



Pierrette (showing old photo to others): Crossed paths with these guys during a solo attempt at breaking the women’s record on the Menton-Hendaye Diagonale. Memory is getting a bit foggy but I think the year was 1987. It was somewhere in the vicinity of Bagnères-de-Luchon, as I recall. Can any of you assign names to these characters? I’m finally getting around to writing the “compte rendu” and want to get the facts straight.

One might guess that if the attempt for the record were successful, then there would have been a more timely compte rendu. Everything did start out well; I rode from Menton through the Massif des Alpilles and on to Languedoc-Roussillon in great time. But my plan to divert course early on through the Pyrenées was a bust–literally. I thought I might earn brownie points by taking in the mountain passes. What’s more, I thought I might profit from a side trip through Andorra. But the mountain riding proved tougher than anticipated and my plan to smuggle tobacco and booze out of the Principality was foiled by Spanish customs officers at La Farga de Moles. Of course any smuggler worth their weight in salt would have taken the Port de Cabús route. This smuggler was young and naive. And impetuous.

The stuff was confiscated and I was detained for over 3 hours, long enough to jeopardize my shot at the record. Worse still, I had spent nearly all of my francs on the lost the investment. On the bright side, the ride through Val d’Arran and up the Col du Portillion into France was made easier without the load of contraband.

All hope for the record was lost with a rear tire blowout while descending the Tourmalet. Thank goodness I didn’t panic; I managed to bring the bike to a stop without suffering a crash. The 27 inch tire was shredded beyond a simple boot repair so I had to send for a replacement tyre from the UK. (Remember, this was before conversion of my faithful 1984 Trek 520 to 700c). Eventually I made it to Hendaye, just barely under the time limit for official finishers. Done.

The original plan was to complete back-to-back diagonales and do Lands End to John O’Groats as a finale. It would have been so perfect. Menton to Hendaye followed by Hendaye to Dunquerke from where I would take the ferry accross Le Manche to Dover. From there it would be a trivial matter to find my way through Cornwall to Lands End to start the grand finale to John O’Groats. Oh, well. Being penniless meant I had to work as an au pair for the summer to earn enough for the trip home.

Gabriel: Kooks – That’s my Dad on the right.

Pierrette: Kooky, yes! Especially the guy on the left without a helmet. I remember him going on about food poisoning; something about crêpes in Bretagne during the Brest to Strasbourg Diagonale. And then I knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that he’s a kook when he claimed to have ridden the 2016 edition of Paris-Dakar-Paris super grande randonnée. I mean come on, what kind of BS is that?!! I rode it and he was not there. I think he’s full of stories. What a Kook!

Franck: I was running the BDB French original store in Maubeuge France in the early 70′ to mid 80′ and knew Gabriel’s dad very well at the time. The shop was BoîteDechienBicyclettes and indeed the parent company of BDB that hipster fixie shop in the Mission of San Francisco, CA. Also we did have a small shop in Brest as well but it was called BDB ravitaillements ( pour le retour), small trivia that few are aware of.
That’s me on the left with Gabriel’s dad circa 1984.

UFO sightings in Sonoma County!

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office has reported several sightings of a ufo or several ufo’s recently in rural Sonoma County and we, QB are passing on the information as this is a popular area for our readers to transport their randonneuses via auto to enjoy wine and bbq. The Sheriff wants us to reassure you folks that every drone available is out patrolling the skys keeping us safe from ufo’s and evil doers in general.

The first sighting was reported by Zeb Lincoln from his hospital bed ‘I was heading home at bar time and saw this bright object on the road – I was so dazzled I rolled my monster truck. The doctors say I will be up and blasting around on my Harley blipping the throttle with glee in a couple weeks; thank God things could have been worse.’

artist's reconstruction via photoshop depicting UFO as described by citizens

artist’s reconstruction via photoshop depicting UFO as described by citizens

Several other citizens have reported daylight sightings as well. The authorities want to reassure the public that the UFO has also been seen to stop at stop signs and signal turns and appears to be non violent.

Stay tuned for updates.

Remembering the 2016 Paris-Dakar-Paris

Today we take a sentimental look back at the 2016 edition of the Paris-Dakar-Paris Super Grand Randonnée.  Rare film footage of the event was recently uncovered. This short film documents a nervous mass of participants at the starting line, immediately before and after the off. Judging from the scenery, it looks as though this could have been one of the occasions when PDP started at the Bois de Boulogne. Randonneurs can be seen stuffing themselves with last minute calories. We feel their tension. The first ones across the starting line, the coureurs, are of course the fastest. The later starters take a somewhat more leisurely approach. The film even captures spectators watching the excitement. It is our pleasure to share it with you today. Enjoy!

Retraction and Apology

We the (other) contributors to Quarterly Bicycle wish to retract the recently published article, Motor Vehicle Research: Which model is best for the Randonneur-Poseur?

We would like to thank Randolph Peabody, Esq. for bringing to our attention the fact that the article was not peer reviewed prior to publishing, and that the article was in clear violation of our editorial policy of testing for safety.

Crash testing was not reported, although many anecdotal accounts of crashes experienced and caused by the author during the test have been rumored by other Randonneur-Poseurs. Further, reliability of the GPS system in each vehicle was not reviewed or reported and the editorial board simply cannot tolerate driving off short piers or onto footpaths like has happened to us so often in the past.

Our apologies to our advertisers and readers, we will take measures to ensure such errors and omissions do not occur in the future, that diagrams resembling ear hair or vortexes of despair will not be used to substantiate substandard research, and that posts that are way cooler than ours will be suppressed.

Persephone T. Crock

Robert Pineapple

Arnold Schwing

Motor Vehicle Research: Which model is best for the Randonneur-Poseur?

Here at lovely Quarterly Bicycle we recognize that our readers share a passion for the classic randonneuse.  It is a thing of beauty, the pinnacle of efficiency and design.  We also recognize that not every rider is a Super Randonneur. In today’s busy world so many lack the free time or fitness required to complete a 200 km brevet much less a 1200 km grand randonnée.  Many of us are faced with a conundrum: how does one transport a classic randonneuse bicycle without actually having to ride it and get it all mucked up?

Lovely Quarterly Bicycle performed a study to find the optimal solution to this problem. Herein we report our findings from research on various automobile models for suitability in transporting a classic randonneuse outfitted with full fenders, racks and integrated lighting system.

Transporting a randonneuse by automobile is not a simple as it might seem. While the contemporary road and mountain bike can be mounted on a roof rack with ease, the full fenders affixed to the typical randonneuse all but rule out the roof rack proposition.

Materials and Methods

In this study we tested ten different motor vehicles using two main test criteria.

Test criterion #1: Suitability for transport of the bicycle to an urban location such as a café, brew pub, bistro, etc.  For the urban driving test, it was a requirement for the host city to have a street layout dating from 19th century or earlier. Indeed, two of the host cities used in this study, Paris and Bordeaux, were built upon a medieval street layout.

Test criterion #2: Suitability for transport to a remote location for the purpose of taking “epic” glamour photos of the classic randonneuse bicycle. It was a requirement for this test to include unpaved and mixed-surface road conditions in a mountainous region.

Each motor vehicle was rated on the QB scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the maximum possible score. The test vehicles were rated for cargo capacity (CC), fuel economy (FE), style (S), off-road capability (ORC) and ease of parking (EOP) in the city.


The data from our motor vehicle research are summarized below.

SEAT Altea

The construction quality of the Altea vehichle we tested was of poor quality. The AC was not functioning. The vehicle lacked power in the mountains and had poor clearance. Storage of the bicycle in the cargo hold required removal of the front wheel. The car lacked style and we got no respect while driving it.

SEAT Altea
SEAT Altea score:  CC3; FE5; S1; ORC1; EOP5

Peugeot 3008

The 3008 is a fine vehicle. It has enough cargo capacity to fit a fully assembled bicycle as pictured in the photo below.  Parking the 3008 was not as easy as we would have liked.

Peugeot 3008 score:  CC8; FE5; S7; ORC6; EOP4

Lancia Delta (3rd Generation)

The Delta is well known for its World Rally Championship pedigree. The 3rd generation Delta is more refined than its predecessors.  It was by far the most stylish vehicle we tested, excepting the Citroën HY. It was a powerful vehicle but fared poorly in the fuel economy test.

Lancia Delta 3rd generation
Score:   CC5; FE4; S9; ORC7; EOP4

Citroën HY

They HY is a true classic with style galore and enough cargo capacity for an entire flèche team. Too bad we had to park it on the outskirts of town and bike in to the coffee shop.  Still, if you don’t mind riding a few blocks, the HY is a viable option for the randonneur-poseur.

Citroën HY9-Citroën HY
Citroën HY score:  CC10; FE1; S10; ORC6; EOP1

Toyota Prius

Pictured below, the Prius demonstrates its ability to handle dirt road conditions using front wheel drive in the Snoqualmie National Forest. Let’s face it – the Prius is butt ugly. What the Prius lacks in style points it makes up for in fuel economy and cargo capacity. With the rear seat folded down, it was possible to carry the randonneuring bicycles of two poseurs (51 cm and 60 cm) in the cargo bay (some disassembly required). A single, fully assembled randonneuse bicycle was able to fit inside with ease.

toyota prius
Toyota Prius score:  CC9; FE10; S5; ORC6; EOP8

Renault 4

The Renault 4 suffered a minor mechanical breakdown during our testing as pictured below. Fortunately, this model is simple and easy to repair on the road, an attribute that any randonneur would appreciate, even a randonneur-poseur.


Renault 4 score:  CC6; FE5; S5; ORC5; EOP5

Peugeot 203 Camionnette

We tested the flatbed version of the 203 Camionnette, which offered a plethora of cargo capacity. Unfortunately, it offered no protection from the elements. The suicide doors (pictured below) paired nicely with the inverse break levers of our porteur style randonneuse.

Peugeot 203 Camionnette
Peugeot 203 Camionnette score:  CC5; FE6; S8; ORC8; EOP6

Citroën 2CV

What can we say – the 2CV is a true classic and in our testing it did not disappoint. Any randonneur, whether a poseur or not, should be proud to be behind the wheel of a 2CV.  When the full set of data were processed, the 2CV was edged out only slightly by the Toyota Prius.

Citroën 2CV
Citroën 2CV score:  CC7; FE7; S9; ORC8; EOP7

BMC Mini

The Mini is another classic, but really…Forget the randonneuse, bring the Brompton!

BMC Mini
BMC Mini score:  CC1; FE9; S8; ORC1; EOP10

Lada 1700i

We wanted to like the Lada, but it seemed to lack a certain something. This impression was substantiated by our test data.

Lada 1700i score:  CC5; FE4; S5; ORC5; EOP5

Once all of the data were gathered we set about to to solve the problem of the optimal motor vehicle. The data were treated as a first order ordinary differential equation with its corresponding vector field:


A plot of the data is shown below. [Ed. note: any resemblance of this image to human ear hair is purely coincidental.]



This study demonstrates unequivocally that the Toyota Prius is the ideal motor vehicle choice for the randonneur-poseurfollowed closely by the Citroën 2CV as second best.


The authors wish to thank all who generously donated or loaned test vehicles. Without their generosity our research would not have been possible.


The author drives a Toyota Prius and is a randonneur-poseur.

Cycle Shoe Shootout!

QB tests all the favorite shoe choices of the discerning cyclists!

In this rundown we perform our rigorous scientifically based test regimen to determine the finest shoe wear for your needs.

To narrow down the variables, thick grey wool socks are used consistently in each evaluation.

Crocks: total score, 23 out of 40

Comfort: 5 out of 10

Style: 9 out of 10

Grip: 5 out of 10

Climbing/Sprinting: 5 out of 10

Flipflops: total score, 13 out of 40

Comfort: 2 out of 10

Style: 2 out of 10

Grip: 5 out of 10

Climbing/Sprinting: 4 out of 10

Birkenstock Sandals: total score, 21 out of 40

Comfort: 6 out of 10

Style: 4 out of 10

Grip: 5 out of 10

Climbing/Sprinting: 6 out of 10

Red Pumps: total score, 31 out of 40

Comfort: 4 out of 10

Style: 10 out of 10

Grip: 10 out of 10

Climbing/Sprinting: 7 out of 10

Conclusion: Clearly no shoe is perfect, but Red Pumps are the obvious choice of discerning cyclists everywhere. Nothing matches the style, grip or climbing of Red Pumps and no other shoe makes us feel as pretty.