Remember your first bike? We do too

What’s With The Bikes?


Marshal: Well, whaddaya say?
Bicycle Salesman: I say this, I say ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends and enemies, meet the future.
Crowd member: The future of what?
Salesman: The future mode of transportation for this weary Western world. Now I’m not gonna make a lot of extravagant claims for this little machine. Sure, it’ll change your whole life for the better, but that’s all.

– Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)

y first mountain bike was a red Trek with a sharply slanted top tube. My older brother was getting a bike and what I knew was that I needed the exact same one, with the same “Cherry Bomb” decal on it. In the interest of protecting my manhood, my parents were able to find an almost identical bike that I could stand, rather than hang, over. A women’s bike. Or, to revise history a little, a bike with an accommodating geometry.

If anyone ever made fun of me for it I guess I don’t remember. The important thing was to get me on a bike, riding around the neighborhood, on trails and whenever we went on camping trips, which was often. It wasn’t long before I upgraded to a Trek 7000. Today I ride road and triathlon bikes in New York City and my brother thrashes trails on a Santa Cruz near his home in Colorado. My parents recently upgraded their old road bikes, too.

Cycling is unique because it’s a part of our lives forever, and because it inspires passion in so many forms. We’ve captured just a glimpse of this in the Cycling Issue: the unveiling of the largest bikeshare program in the country; Danny MacAskill’s bonkers street trials riding; nighttime crit racing in Brooklyn; engineers studying the science of comfort and making spoke length calculation tools, on the side; a $13,000 road bike.

As we prepared to launch Limits, cycling seemed like the perfect way to kick things off: it’s a sport that touches nearly everyone, and yet at the same time it can be incredibly niche. Some people ride to work on a Dutch-style commuter, others compete in 100-mile endurance races on a mountain bike. It touches our lives as spectators, too, as some of the biggest names in cycling — in sports, for that matter — fall from grace for using blood substitutes and transfusions to boost their aerobic capacity; we throw the word “doping” around casually, but in fact it’s a pretty extreme concept. We plan to cover all of this in Limits, with an emphasis on the borderlands, as we like to say. Cycling is just the beginning.

For me, the most exciting part of this channel is all the surprises as I get to know the sports and the people involved. After all, I hadn’t ridden anything except that Trek 7000 mountain bike when we launched the Road to Ironman series last summer. We’re fascinated by the idea of people getting in over their heads and then pushing themselves beyond what they originally thought possible. Next week we’ll launch a summer series about exactly that, with a special guest contributor to GP. He had a pretty bad wipeout earlier this month, but he’s still in one piece and excited to share his journey to one of the most challenging endurance races in the world.

Jeremy Berger, Limits Editor