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Over a few beers

The walls are wood-panelled. The lighting is low. The menu, classic steak-house. The air is a comforting blend of seared rib-eye, tobacco and beer. The service is fantastic, because everybody is considered family at the Pine Knoll Supper Club. It’s winter and the Pine Knoll is as much a refuge from the Wisconsin chill as it is a place to have a good meal at a fair price. Tonight it’s about to witness history.

Two men sit at the bar, talking over beers. One is lively, compact. The other tall and side-burned. They’re deep in a debate over the relative merits of two words: Trek and Kestrel. If you happened to catch their conversation, it probably wouldn’t hold your interest. Even the men themselves don’t realise, on this cold winter's night in 1976, that they’re about to shape the future of cycling.

Dick Burke and Bevil Hogg are performing a time-honoured ritual of business in Wisconsin. Friends and business partners meet over a few drinks to hash out the day’s events, plan the future and debate ideas, both good and bad. Tonight, the topic is what to call their fledgling bicycle company.

The debate is cordial, as supper-club conversations typically are, but the stakes are high. Bevil, the tall one, champions Kestrel, a swift bird of prey, and an apt name for an active lifestyle company (like the one Bevil would later go on to found). His partner listens intently, but stands strong behind his own travel-inspired contribution: Trek. Dick Burke’s belief in the power of a good idea proves persuasive. And just like that, Trek Bicycle is born.

The Pine Knoll, shuttered since 2010, still stands a few miles from Trek HQ. Rumours of a reopening swirl every now and again, more wishful thinking than fact. But one fact is indisputable: the Pine Knoll’s place in Trek history is secure, hatched over a few beers and proudly proclaimed on millions of bike frames across the globe.

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