Trek Bicycle co-founder Richard Dick Burke died of complications from cardiac surgery at the age of 73. He started the company to bring the glory of bicycle design and quality back to the United States. With a total of five employees, Trek Bicycles began building in a small red pole barn in Waterloo, Wisconsin. The movement he began eventually led to one of the most successful bicycles in the last 30 years. Lance Armstrong won Le Tour de France a record seven times, each time on a production Trek bicycle.
Trek is a Wisconsin-based company, so I have a special place in my heart for the company and its bike offerings. Dick Burke started his company while living in Milwaukee (my hometown). Waterloo is only miles from where I live now. Since I started riding again, I bought a Trek hybrid bike after trying out a number of different brands. Even after I realized that I prefer road bike riding, I tried out a handful of different bikes and fell in love with a Trek. So, yeah, the company that Mr. Burke started has a special place in my heart, all because of his vision.
But I think Dick Burke’s legacy goes beyond finding a great company. Trek has made the American bicycle market fun, showing the world that a midwestern company can do good. Trek teamed up with Greg LeMond, Gary Fisher, and Bontrager to expand its offerings and improve its own products. As mentioned, Trek provided production bicycles to the legendary Lance Armstrong, taking a chance on someone that no one else would touch because of his recovery from cancer. A Trek bicycle would go on to win an eighth Le Tour de France victory by providing bicycles to Alberto Contador. Trek made riding fun again for all levels of rider with the introduction the Lime. And today, Trek promotes its “1 World 2 Wheels” program, which encourages people to park their cars so they can go outside and ride.
This blog is dedicated to Mr. Burke’s family, friends, and fans. Thanks for the great ride.