of this magazine were born. “I had seen ‘Breaking Away,’ and my brother while I was in high school got this really fancy Serotta.” He couldn’t afford such things himself, and wasn’t from the kind of family where one asks dad. His father was a modest restaurant owner, and didn’t believe in buying his kids even the simplest toys, so forget about a bicycle. He and his two older brothers adapted, as many kids from the developing world also do. “We would take stuff, in most cases, apart and never get them back together again. But occasionally, we could get stuff back together again, in modified form. We had to make our own damn toys, which in most cases was finding something someone else threw away and taking it apart. The most fun things were the most complicated things.”

He graduated high school in the middle of the ’81-’85 recession, the worst one between the Great Depression and now. With few prospects, he joined the army. “I bought their propaganda about money for college hook, line and sinker.” He doesn’t describe that time in glowing terms, but he made the most of his purgatory, learning every skill and trade he could along the way. During this time, he was finally able to buy his first quality bicycle: a Trek 720. It has between then and now seen countless tires, a second wheel set (the first one wore out a long while ago), hauled uncountable pounds of cargo (most memorably 11 flats of soda) and over 25,000 miles. He estimates mileage by chains worn out: about 3000 miles per. Its worn, tired frame now hangs stripped on his wall in an unglamorous retirement. “It’s still rideable,” he assures. His army commitment done, he returned to his hometown of Chicago. There he managed to eek out a degree in mechanical engineering from a state school with his army