The night before I set out on a bike journey from Chapel Hill to Raleigh (and back), I checked my email one last time to ensure I hadn't missed an update from the team that would take me with them. Indeed, I had overlooked perhaps the biggest clue about just what I'd gotten myself into—not only with the trip but also in assembling Ride, the INDY's inaugural cycling guide.
"Are you going to let Grayson borrow some sweet socks," wrote Ileana Rodriguez, "or should I let him wear some of mine?"
I laughed, shrugged it off and went to bed, but the next day, my fellow riders converged on our rendezvous point sporting socks of brilliant colors—bright pinks and burning oranges, dreamy blues and blossoming greens. "It's one of the cycling customs you can participate in for cheap," Rodriguez later explained, saying those mores extend to multi-thousand dollar bikes, skin-tight and custom-branded jerseys and feather-light bike components.
Biking, it turns out, is one of the deepest subcultures I've ever encountered. Each of the wide sport's many subdivisions, from BMX and cyclocross to fixed-gears and cruisers, reveal a catacomb of new information—a glossary of terms, a manual of equipment preferences, an index of etiquette.
The first Ride isn't an attempt to explore and explain them all; rather, it's a modest attempt to reveal the ways that people in the Triangle use those systems and their bikes for pleasure, sport and transportation and how you might join them, even if you're new to two wheels.
Remember: There are plenty of people here to help with the quest. They might even let you borrow their socks. — Grayson Haver Currin