The Real National Pastime

May 2, 2004
Outside Magazine
Cycling Special, March 1997

The Real National Pastime

A springtime guide to the latest gear, essential skills, and the countless ways Americans bond with their bikes

It seems fitting that baseball and bicycling both click into gear this time of year. What could be more apple-pie than either of them? But while baseball seems to have done everything in its power to alienate the masses, cycling stands out as a pursuit that includes us all--every bit as appropriate at Columbus and 83d as it is on the Continental Divide. Certainly you'd be hard pressed to find an American making $10 million a year pushin' pedals, and if you did, he probably wouldn't be out beaning photographers for sport.

But even though biking embraces us, it also challenges us to keep up. And so, on the pages that follow, we provide the tools you need to do just that: the best new values at the bike shop for city, road, and trail, tricks that separate accomplished riders from duffers, toys that will make many a cyclist drool. We've also assembled a scrapbook--a family album, you might say--with an assortment of riders who remind us that ours is a two-wheeled melting pot. So read on, velo-Americans, and let your spring training begin.

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