The Red Guard is Back!

Well, sort of.   I just hope Briek Schotte doesn't roll over in his grave!

On Wednesday night, in the middle of yet another snowstorm, a group of middle aged American flahutes proved their stripes by ignoring the TV media's 'sky-is-falling' exhortations to stay off the roads, and instead gathering at BikeWorks in Swansea Mass. to share a Duvel toast and launch a new Masters racing team:  Fast Eddy's Flandria Cafe - Bikeworks - Flandria.

This is what flahutes look like when the beer runs out.
We assembled a great group of 45+ masters riders who will focus on doing New England races and Gran Fondo rides.   I'm proud to be riding with all of them this year.   Who are they?  Oh don't worry, this blog will be roasting most of these guys as the season goes on.  (Wouldn't be a real wielercafe if we didn't now would it?)
For now suffice to say it's a mix of guys whose cycling cred runs the gamut from Ex-Pro to Nieuweling, but who all fit their passion for hard old-school riding into balanced, successful and responsible lives.  Family guys who share a proper perspective on where sport fits into life.

Or as our flandria cafe founding member Marc 'DeMeyerstein' put it:  "We're kinda like Rapha ... only with Belgian beer."

Joking aside, I'm excited to partner with BikeWorks' owner Bob Polakowski in a shared quest to demonstrate that 'old guys rule...or will at least die trying'.   Bobby is an old friend who over time, has grown the Swansea Velo Club into one of the best racing clubs in Southeastern New England.   Bob's that really rare kind of guy who could remain a supportive friend...even when I opened a rival bicycle store just seven miles up the road a decade ago.  Now that's my definition of a truly good person.   Similarly, Bob's been just as good a friend to many in the area who share his passion for cycling.  I know firsthand just how tough the retail bike biz is, and know it takes a special kind of guy to make a success of it.  Bob, Matt, Dave and all the guys there make BikeWorks the kind of store that takes care of every customer from the top racer to the recreational rider.    If you're ever in the neighborhood, drop in, or check out the website here.

We're also flattered to be representing the newly relaunched Flandria Bikes over here in the good 'ol US-of-A.  The guys got a chance to check out a the new Flandria Competition and Professional frames built up, and touch a signed Freddy Maertens jersey.   (And no, I didn't make anyone genuflect first.)  Flandria is the brand that put first Shimano on the pro racing map.  It should be back at the forefront of cycling.  For our own small part, I  feel a little responsibility to get these red bikes back at the front of the Masters peloton, and do a great heritage proud.

We also showed off our team kit design for 2011.  Now I'm no designer, but I've been around them enough to know that when interpreting a classic, you shouldn't mess with a timeless design.  Our Giordana team kit pays homage to the traditional red and white flandria colors and bold clean block design.  I think the guys were pretty stoked to learn they'll be riding this year in the colors of one of cycling's great teams - to uphold an important tradition,  to be 'Flahute', not 'Fred'   I was pleased it was a hit with the guys.  Appropriately old school, don't you think?

I also want to sincerely thank our other sponsors:  Hallamore,  Beaupre Electric, Tickle's, Blount Seafood, Blue & White Motors, Giro helmets and Northwave Shoes.

Riding the French Alps with DuckStore.  Few things are better than this.
The night was capped with a presentation from my ex-LOOK colleague and friend John Goldsmith who runs a company called Duck Store productions . Based in Annecy, France, DuckStore organizes great cycling trips in France.  Johnny's trips are crafted for true cycling enthusiasts:  Great route variety, minimal car transfers, maximum cycling, quiet lodging spots, and fantastic camraderie.

John talked about his trips tothe ASO's two L'Etape du Tour cyclosportives this July... he's still got a few pre-registration places still available for these fast closing events.  I highly recommend snagging a spot.  After surviving John's fantastic three day wedding- famously known as 'Ze-Event'- back in '95 at LaCluzaz, I can attest with experience and confidence that JG and Knar definitely know how to design and host fun, memorable adventures.

Speaking of advertures, blogging about the coming adventures of the flandria cafe team will be fun over the coming months.  Stay tuned cafesupporters!

Comments

  1. Edo - i hope this kit design met the approval of DeMeyerstein or we cold be in for a long season.

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  2. Congrats Eddie. Are the jerseys available for purchase?

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  3. I would have had the shorts with red piping on them and I do like the subtle black/yellow collar with the red jersey (Belgium flag colors).

    However, is there any reason why the beautiful Flandria emblem did not make the shoulder sleeves of the jersey or at minimum the empty center rear pocket of the jersey?

    Overall very nice - but I would have made it 'less busy' more retro.

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  4. Center rear pocket is good idea Ted... will see what we can do! You should be in design! Any chance of bringing you out of retirement? We need a certain Pawtucket flahute rouleur.

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  5. Damn - I live in Vancouver Canada, a little too far away from you guys. I'd love to be part of this group. Right now, we're experiencing 'flahute weather' (cold, or rainy, or both) out here so this would be ideal kit to wear right now.

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  6. Eddy - I'm still cycling but mostly doing errands on my German city bike - would love to be on your team this year.

    If you remember correctly I designed a full-suspension titanium bike with Dixon Newbold and built it at a Russian helicopter factory in Eastern Poland in 1995 - Performance Bikes was the customer.

    I lived there for over 6 months designing the jig to accommodate the aerospace standards frame blueprint (a thousandth of a mm). Lived in a rented house 3km outside the city zone in the middle of a winter that was 10X worse than this one - had no car - -no bike actually - no house phone and nearly no money - then my business partners took over the company by voting me out as President (corp had three partners with 33% vote). Little did I know that the two would have majority in every decision.

    It thought me a lesson in business and the fact that you can accomplish anything that you want in life without worrying about money.

    To this day I am still amazed what I accomplished that cold winter in Eastern Poland.

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  7. Eddy - I posted the redesign on the facebook page - I tweaked it a tiny bit - let me know what you think.

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  8. When does training camp start? Caymans? Mallorca? As you can see I have a few pounds to lose...

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  9. Eddy, I just discovered your blog and it is great. Are the jerseys available for purchase? Many thanks!!

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