Thursday, March 13, 2008

A View Of Falls Bridge

The Falls Bridge Before Dawn

The picture above was taken this morning on my cell phone and then automatically sent to my blog. I was really just trying this new blogger feature, but meanwhile the picture is interesting, if not great. The newly lit bridge is really a lovely sight in the morning. And you can see how much it is night again when we ride since the clock rolled ahead. It was 30 degrees this morning and I was a bit disappointed that it is still so cold, especially since it warmed up into a pretty nice day later on. But I know it will soon warm up and I can't wait.

The photo and obituary below are from this morning's NY Times. I think that Trek continues to play a huge role in cycling and is currently spearheading the movement to increase bicycle commuting so it is appropriate to mark the passing of the founder.

Richard Burke, Founder of Trek Bicycle Company, Is Dead at 73

Published: March 13, 2008

Richard Burke, a founder of the Trek Bicycle Corporation, which capitalized on the luster of Lance Armstrong’s victories in the Tour de France to reshape the way top-of-the-line bikes are manufactured, died Monday in Milwaukee. He was 73 and lived in Milwaukee. The cause was complications of heart surgery, said his son, John, who is now president of the company.

It was on an $8,500 carbon-fiber Madone model bike built by Trek that Mr. Armstrong won his first Tour de France in 1999, as well as the six straight Tour titles that followed.

“With that, Trek became the first American bike company to win the Tour and the first to build a carbon-fiber bike that won the Tour,” John Bradley, a senior editor and the cycling expert at Outside magazine, said Wednesday. “It was a watershed moment.”

Racing bikes must be as light and stiff as possible. Before they were made of carbon fiber, which has the best stiffness-to-weight ratio, the bikes were made of steel, titanium or aluminum. “Now you can’t find a high-end bike, or even a high-end bike component, that isn’t made out of carbon fiber,” Mr. Bradley said.

With his friend Bevel Hogg, Mr. Burke started the Trek company in 1976, in a barn in Waterloo, Wis. The company, now based in Milwaukee, has 1,600 employees and sells through more than 5,000 dealers in 75 countries. It makes more than 300 models, from a single-speed $140 bike for youngsters to the $8,500 Madone.

Mr. Burke was the owner of an appliance distributorship in Milwaukee before turning to making bicycles. At the time, European models dominated the market, and there were few luxury American brands. But in the mid-’70s, as American biking boomed beyond the tricycle and the single-speed Schwinn, Mr. Burke saw potential profit in the high-end bike.

That first year in the barn, the Trek company produced 805 handmade, finely detailed road bikes and earned $161,000. Last year, the company manufactured 1.5 million bikes and had revenue of $670 million.

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