Riding long distances from our home base in Seattle, we realized that we needed bikes different from those available during in the 1990s. Our dream bikes combined racing-bike performance with the equipment for true adventures. We took our inspiration from mid-century randonneurs, who had pioneered long, spirited rides over all types of terrain. Through them, we discovered the genius of Rene Herse (pronounced reNAY AIRS), a maker of prototype airplanes turned bike builder, who had perfected the type of bike we needed. Herse’s first bike, presented in 1938, weighed just 17.5 lb (7.9 kg), fully equipped with fenders, lights, racks and wide tires. He quickly earned the nickname ‘The Magician,’ so amazing were his bikes.