The tenth installment of our Staff Favorites series features Mr. Jeremy Berger. As far as life experiences go, Jeremy’s raced so far ahead of the pack that he’s threatening to lap us. Last summer he trained for and completed an Ironman in Louisville. He lived abroad in Germany after graduating as a Fulbright Scholar; he drank whiskey with good ole boys while working as a line cook in Mississippi; he’s a natural (and trained) culinary whiz; recently, he adventured through a certain embargoed Caribbean island. He’s also got a great sense of humor, even when we poke fun at his raging Tom Cruise fandom.
At GP, Jeremy ranks as a quadruple threat: he’s a rock of a writer, a photographer with a burgeoning portfolio, a keen leader of some of our most popular issues, and the section editor of Limits, our newly minted endurance sports series. He has also written for Men’s Journal, Bon Appetit and AskMen. As Staff Favorites is wont to do, his favorite gear says a lot about him. It’s many-faceted, fun and useful, the signature of an aggressive and full approach to life.
Trader Joe’s Hobo Bread
Relegated to the bottom shelf in the bread section, barely visible to passers-by, Hobo bread only came into my life due to sheer curiousity. I discovered it because it looked like something brown and wet sticking to the inside of its bag. That’s what it is: a cylinder of infinitely-dense, sweet bread jammed up with raisins and nuts. Right now it’s my favorite thing to eat. Once when I went to the store and there were only a few left I experienced actual fear.
I was asked to be in a shaving segment on CBS as a spokesperson for AskMen.com. This was a few years ago. It was last minute, and I had just had my hair cut and had already shaved that morning. So Lou Young comes to my apartment with a cameraman and they set up in my shower — and we’re all just cramped into this tiny bathroom with a news-size camera, talking about shaving. All I have is disposable razors at the time, so I’m wearing a sweater, shaving my face that has no stubble, explaining how to shave to New Yorkers in front of their TVs. It didn’t go well. I was jeered in online shaving forums. I told my dad about it and he bought me this double edge safety razor as a gift. Now I know everything there is to know about shaving. Important lesson here: no cameras in the bathroom.
A little chafing is no big deal, but when you crest Mount Chafe on a four-hour run and things start to really burn — then your day is totally f***ed. These guys basically have a monopoly on the sports lube biz, and their product is really good stuff. I’ve also used Chamois Butt’r or even vaseline, which I’ll dab under the tip of my bike saddle for use in a pinch (a tip from a guy I met at Ironman).
These are my summer shoes, which I get at a store in my hometown in New Hampshire. I’m a leather laced softsole guy. I wish I lived in the woods.
Nerf Arrowstorm Gatling Unit
The finest Nerf weapon ever made. In 2006 in Allston, MA, I got my buddy from the window of my Honda, through the window of his first floor apartment, from a range of at least 35 feet. Later that day he shot me at close range while I was sitting on the toilet. This is known as Nerf karma.
Giorgio Armani 607 Eyeglasses
I’m not much for fashion and accessories, but I do have an opinion about eyewear, which is that Italians make the best frames. For me these are bold but still elegant and classic, unlike a lot of plastic frames out there now that make the person wearing them look like a clown. I’ve had them for almost five years, drop them a few times a week, and have never had to repair them.
Before I got into triathlons I was doing Japanese full-contact karate at a dojo in Koreatown. We’d train on the heavybag a few times a week. I’m able to train on one at the gym sometimes, but as soon as I get the space I’d like one of these in my apartment.
Sony CFD-55 Boombox
I’ve always been a low-tech guy, though that’s changing since I joined GP. This radio/tape/CD player was in my apartment when I moved to New York in 2007. I just use it for the radio, which is usually tuned to WNYC. Every Sunday when I’m not traveling I listen to the same two bluegrass and country shows I’ve listened to since 2007 — The Moonshine Show and the Tennessee Border Show — which are on the Columbia University radio station.
Jack LaLanne’s Power Juicer
I’m a heavy hitter in the juice game. This is my first and only juicer, which somebody gave me years ago. It’s held up well, but it gets a little choked up on kale. To mitigate the cost of making fresh juice I bike out to this wonderful market in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, which sells fruits and vegetables at wholesale prices. English cucumbers for like $0.30. At the fancy stores a jar of cucumber juice goes for $10.
Canon Rebel T2i
I bought this camera a year ago so I could take photos of the people and places I was writing about. It took me a few trips to learn how to think like a photographer, but I’ve come a long way in a short time. With a 50mm f/1.8 lens it’s super light and portable for travel — and I love getting up close to whatever subject I’m shooting. I’m really proud of that photo essay I shot in Cuba, which was all on this camera, mostly with the 50mm, and of a few shots I took at the Red Hook Crit Brooklyn Navy Yard race for an upcoming story.
The Grail: Porsche 550 Spyder
I’m no car expert like some of the guys here, but I do love to drive — and I know that the time I drove a 911 Carrera 4S I felt like we got on well together. Since we’re dreaming here, the car I really want is a 550 Spyder, introduced as a racecar in 1953 and available to the public in 1955. It’s small, low to the ground, slippery, fast and reminds of the classic time trial bikes from the same period (which I also want). Maybe Robert Redford will let me ride along in his in the meantime.