Showing posts from January, 2012

The C word: Cycling's essential element.

“The Muur is a rendezvous with your character
 - Eddy Planckaert

Last month , I posted a 'wee rant', taking a poke at the advent of 'halo bikes,' and their skyrocketing super-premium prices.  It surprisingly spawned exponentially way more traffic to our little wielercafe than any other topic  posted since its inception.  Picked up by a few forums, the debate kept going for quite awhile.

Learned something.  People love to talk about the bike.  And that for many, their top-level bike is it's a sacrifice they're happy to make, a hard-earned possession, and their true passion. Challenge it at your peril! 

Fair enough.   Many who love cycling express that with a real passion for the best cycling technology, and really get joy from it.  Thankfully a high-end bicycle is one 'luxury' where the absolute best is still an accessible stretch for many who really, really want it.

I'd always thought of the bike somewhat more practically, and narrowly I admit, a…

Photo of the day: Bobet winter training

Cold, but not frigid today.  Kind of like this day over 60 years ago, when this photo of Louison Bobet training with Antonin Rolland (rt.) was taken.  

Hands on the tops, spinning side by side, smiles all around.   All the essential ingredients for the perfect winter training spin.

Lost Equipes: Sonolor

You've just gotta love the sixties-seventies when it came to pro cycling sponsorship.

No multi-million dollar budgets then jongen.   In those days, pro cycling title sponsors tended to be, well, a little more provincial.

Back then, refrigerator and kitchen manufacturers (Ignis, Salvarani, Frimatic, SCIC, Fagor) - for some reason I'm not too sure of - were really big supporters.  Then there were the ice cream men (Miko, GIS, Sanson, Sammontana), beverage magnates (KAS, Pepsi, St. Raphael, Watneys, Maes Pils), and household consumer packaged goods brands (Mars bars, BIC lighters, Faema espresso machines).

And then there's consumer electronics, which in that pre-digital time, meant televisions and radios, tubes and transistors.  If you were a cycling fan in France or Belgium back then, there was a pretty fair chance you listened to Radio Tour in your Citroen on a Sonolor radio, or watched LeTour on Eurovision at home on a Sonolor brand TV set.

And if you lived in northern F…

Steel Flandria frames

For all you fellow retro-bike fans, at Velofollies show in Kortrijk, Belgium this weekend, Flandria just debuted two steel framesets:  A road and a track model.

Both made in Belgium from Columbus SL Niobium tubing, with chrome fork, chain stay and rear dropouts.   Only in flandria team red, of course!   Perfect for battling over cobbles or broken urban roads.

Pretty schweet.   Check out more photos here.

Photo of the day: Cyclists downhill skiing

Yesterday was an 'off day', but not a rest day.

Went downhill skiing at nearby Mt. Wachusett with my son, always a great day out.  I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that they had enough snow to have most of the mountain open and ski-able- because we haven't had much this year. It wasn't so crowded either - just a 1-2 minute lift line for most of the day - not bad for a holiday weekend Saturday...

Out on the pistes, just when I'd get my turns linking nicely, and feeling like Henri Duvillard or Gustavo Thoeni (giant slalom stars from my generation baybay), some guy who could really carve fast would come blowing by me, bursting my balloon and exposing me for what I am - an aged road racing cyclist trying to pass himself off as an expert downhill skier.

Q:  What's the biggest lie in skiing.

A:  "Advanced Intermediate"

Not that impefection on planks has ever stopped roadies going downhill skiing from time to time.  Back in the early-to-mid sixties, …

29 degrees F...

...relatively balmy compared to yesterday.  Going out for the Fixed Gear bike for about 2 hrs dressed like I'm going on a moonwalk.

"Roger, do you read me Houston?   What's that coordinate equation again?"    

2H (39x16) + (no lunch) - (freewheel) = Wintertrainen!

Picture of the day. Maillots, mode classique.

“The novelties of one generation are only the resuscitated fashions of the generation before last.”
                     - George Bernard Shaw (another Irish guy genetically unqualifed to comment on fashion)

Ah yes, New Year Day.  The cue for Pro Tour teams to roll out their new maillots.

Rabobank, Saxobank, Green edge, Quick Step, Katusha are all going with the 'classic' look: solid, bold color blocks.   I'm wagering Radio Shack and Garmin will follow suit with slight tweaks to last year's kit.   The net effect is that it looks like we'll be better able to tell them all apart this year, eh?   All in all an evolution in the right direction...

Green Edge looks like they snagged and tweaked the now defunct Lay-o-pard kit.   ("No worries mate, watch this, easy...I'll just change that sky blue to green... now that's a real beauty, eh?)

Classic style?  Here's a photo that's an icon of original classic maillot style:  The Four Horseman of Notre Dame…

De Flandriens Van Het Veld

In case you hadn't seen it, Sporza's Michel Wuyts just put together an extension to his great TV series last year 'De Flandriens', airing weekly now on Belgian TV station CANVAS.    This new series - De Flandriens van het Veld - focuses on Belgium's legacy of cyclocross champions. 

Clip below is from a Belgian talk show previewing the series... some cool old footage.

Here's the trailer for week one. Good footage of Erik DeVlaeminck.  De beste crosser of all time?   A lot of Duvel can get consumed in that arguement.   Based on palmares and legendary story factor, I'd give Erik the nod, but you can weigh in.  (More on that in a bit...)

Unfortunately more segments or clips are not on the web yet... hopefully they'll put them up once the series is over. 

While Wuyts keeps the heritage thread alive and well, a new generation of Flemish cross stars have been providing great entertainment this fall and winter.  I confess since cross season started, I've be…