Todd Balf

Todd Balf

Published

Why Haven't You Heard of Marshall "Major" Taylor?

Though he died in obscurity, the turn-of-the-century cyclist had a pioneering career on par with Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson. A new documentary and a major ad campaign featuring rap superstar Nas aim to finally make Major a household name.

Todd Balf
Apr 19, 2018

The Biomechatronic Man

MIT research scientist Hugh Herr lost both legs below the knee after a 1982 winter climbing ordeal. In less than a year, he hacked his prosthetics to allow him to climb again, and he went on to become one of the world’s leading innovators in the field. Author Todd Balf, who lost partial use of his legs after a spinal-cord injury, gets a front-row seat as Herr and his MIT colleagues plot their next big act—new science and technology to end a slate of disabling conditions.

Todd Balf
Sep 6, 2017

Chug! Run! Chug! Heroes of the 5-Minute Beer Mile

There’s a new competition raging among elite runners: the beer mile, in which you do four laps around a standard track, chugging a 12-ounce brew at the start of each loop. If you can do it in under five minutes—without hurling or passing out—you’re not just fast. You’re a hero.

Todd Balf
Dec 1, 2014

By the winter of 1854, the Advance crew had been trapped for almost two years, their ship frozen in ice just below the North Pole. Some had lost limbs to scurvy and frostbite; some had succumbed to Arctic hysteria; all of them were starving.

Todd Balf
Apr 17, 2012

Electric bikes are for schmucks, right? Nah. The newest models are stylish, useful machines that will put a lot more riders on the road.

Todd Balf
Jun 28, 2011

How a carpentry-challenged nonsurfer built a classic wooden longboard with his own kook hands.

Todd Balf
Oct 5, 2009

Bike racing's most hellish climb isn't L'Alpe d'Huez or Mont Ventoux; it's New Hampshire's Mount Washington

Todd Balf
Sep 1, 2004

The growing pains of a man-child and world champion

Todd Balf
Apr 28, 2004

Let the motorized leaf peepers have their New England. It'll keep them far away from ours.

Todd Balf
Sep 18, 2001