My first bicycle was a yellow Schwinn sometime around 1987. After a few falls and skinned up knees, I learned to ride that bike without training wheels. I believe it was purchased from a bicycle shop on Main Street in High Point, North Carolina. You can’t miss the place. A giant red bicycle stands on top of the square brick building. Bicycles have been sold there since at least the early ’80s.
In middle school and high school, I went through three bikes. The first was a blue Diamondback Viper. The second was a red Haro Shredder. BMX was huge in the ’90s and anyone with a clue about what was cool was into the X-Games. BMX pros like Matt Hoffman, Dave Mirra, Jay Miron, T.J Lavin, and Ryan Nyquist covered the pages of BMX magazines and, subsequently, my middle school binders. I never had the time, patience, or guts to try any real tricks, but I rode the mess out of those bikes and, in a way, though I was just like the guys in the BMX magazines. The third bike was a green/blue fade Mongoose Switchback mountain bike. This was a great bike to take on a long ride because it had gears. This was, in fact, my first bicycle with gears. This was the bike I took to college when the BMX craze subsided and I needed a more efficient means of getting around.
After college, I wanted a bike to cruise around town on and occasionally take to Piedmont Park in Atlanta. I looked for weeks and found a Cannonade M700. I had always dreamed of owning a Cannonade. They seemed like the best bike you could ever have. It was the epitome of a “fancy bike”. The coolest thing, to me, about Cannondale was that in the 90’s they came out with a mountain bike with a “head shock” that added suspension under the headset and before the fork. It was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I wouldn't mind owning one of those head shock bikes one day. It would be red, of course.
Eventually, I got into road cycling when a friend Adam mentioned he was going to train for a 100-mile bike ride, a “century ride.” As insane as that sounded to me, I started researching road bikes and, before I knew it, I was driving to Warner Robins to look at a Trek 2300. Now, the thing about bikes in general, if I had learned only one thing, is that components, the gears and brakes and little things about a bike, matter the most. This bike I was looking at, while older, was a nice bike and I was getting a great deal buying a high-end bike used rather than a lower end bike new. So I bought it. I had no idea how to ride it, but I learned and trained hard. Eventually, I pedaled that thing for almost 7 hours across 100 miles of Carolina shoreline. I will always love that bike and the hours spent in saddle are some of the best I've ever spend riding.
When I bought the Trek 2300 I did research, as I tend to do, about the history of Trek, it’s bicycle technology, any partnerships they have, and just the brand overall to better understand what I’m riding. I get kind of obsessed over things like that. One thing I learned in my research was that Greg Lemond (more about him in a second) started a brand of bikes that partnered with Trek. The Trek 2300 (my bike) had an identical twin on Lemond’s brand called the Lemond Zurich. The only difference between the two bikes was that the Trek was made of aluminum and the Lemond was steel. The difference in the frame material changes the feel of the bike, the comfort, the agility, etc. One is not better than the other, just made for slightly different riding styles. Honestly, I just liked the classic look of the Lemond frame.
[Greg Lemond was a professional cyclist of the ’80s and ’90s. in 1986, he became the first non-European to win the Tour de France. In cycling, especially American cycling, he is a legend.]
Last week, while looking for a bicycle for a friend, I came across a Lemond Zurich in my size. I drove an hour to look at it, rode it around a parking lot to test the fit, and drove home with a smile on my face and a bike in the back seat.