Greetings and best wishes for the new year. We have a long year ahead of us and the time is right to start making plans for bicycle escapism. For our first issue of 2017, we have an inspiring collection of stories from local destinations, destinations within reach, and another installment of Bicyclist ‘Beyond’ to inspire your plans and adventures for 2017.

For those local or visiting Southern California, we have a piece by Ginger Boyd breaking down the monthly Calabasas-centered Bikes & Brunch ride put on by Machines For Freedom. This enthusiast road ride is central to the monthly meeting of some of the fastest women riding bikes in SoCal and an inspiring story of community in Great L.A. While planning your spring calendar, be sure to read the profile of Grand Staircase in Moab, Utah by Shari Sullivant. The tour is a beginner-friendly ride over 5 days in the dirt roads of Moab and an excellent introduction to bike-packing and self-supported touring.

Long-time contributor Rich Wolf checked-in with an account of his experience at the 6-12-24 World Time Trial Championships in Borrego Springs, and Charles Lindsey details common mistakes made on long rides, sharing a chapter of his new book, Your Century Ride: A Training Plan for Achieving a Road Cycling Goal.

After receiving a tremendously positive response to our first international profile in the last issue, we’re continuing the journeys. This issue, we’re putting the bike in the forefront as Victor Prestinary follows the Titan Tropic MTB event in Cuba where more than 150 riders spent 5 days crossing the jungles and sleeping in tents. This bucket list event provides U.S. citizens an opportunity to ride in Cuba while still following recently implemented travel restrictions.

As for the bike, Kelley O’Toole looked to Meld Solutions for the creation of a custom saddle designed to match her posterior. A process involving foam, a proprietary mapping algorithm, and lots of attention to detail, resulted in a custom-molded carbon saddle weighing 136 grams.

You’ll also find a new BPM (Bicyclist Product Matrix) highlighting our favorite products of 2016, and a fresh dispatch from John Jones of Jones Precision Wheels presenting a carbon vs. alloy wheels comparison. Winner? It’s complicated.

Until next time, see you on the route.

Chris Reynolds

Editorial Director & Publisher