Wednesday, January 8, 2014
Tuesday, October 8, 2013
My first wheels were tubulars made by the Italian company, FiR.
That was on my 1987 Marinoni.
Founded in 1956 by the Arrigoni brothers their first huge win was Stephen Roche riding FiR wheels winning the 1987 Giro and Tour.
It's one of those cycling things that I wished I kept but I can tell you that those FiR wheels were admired and well used!
Roche burning up the roads with FiR in 1987.
Friday, February 22, 2013
Friday file and I decided to change up my worn out saddle bag for a dyi tool carrier. Whilst, it won't give me a second water bottle it will give me a larger container to carry my tools, tubes and things. A good trade off. It's one of those bikey cosmetic changes I always wanted to make. Made from my oldest bidons, fitting for my next ride. Plus it holds more stuff than my old saddle bag!
Thanks to Guy for Fallen Angel: The Passion of Fausto Coppi by William Fotheringham. My current February book and after reading the first chapter, it may very well be the definitive story of the Campionissimo!
The 2014 Giro d'ltalia will start in Ireland! Italy's grand tour goes to the Emerald Isle... Good to see Sean Kelly and Stephen Roche with opening remarks...
My attention turns towards this weekend of classic cobbles with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne Brussels Kuurne. Weather forecast for Sunday's battle calls for snow. If that happens, either it makes for more dangerous riding or they completely scrap it. It's rare for a race to be cancel due to the snow, but it happened twice in KBK history; 1986 and 1993.
Race organizers said...
Bring on the Classics!
I'll be watching!
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
The 1961 Great Britain team at the start of the Tour.
British cycling enjoyed if not the most successful cycling season ever. Bradley Wiggins winning the 2012 Tour, Great Britain's golden home performance in the Olympic Velodrome. It was stellar. However, it didn't come over nite...
Think back to the 1955 Tour. Ten Britons made history and became the first British team to take part in the Tour de France. By stage 12 only Brian Robinson and Tony Hoar were left from a decimated team. Brian Robinson finished in 29th and Tony Hoar the lantern rouge. The first Britons to finish the Tour.
And then it was the great Tom Simpson.
In his first professional season, 1960, he finished fourth in the world championship, came within one stage placing of winning the yellow jersey in his first Tour. In the 1962 Tour, he wore the maillot jaune for one day and finished sixth overall. He was a classic star also winning; Tour of Flanders (1961), Bordeaux-Paris (1963), Milan-San Remo (1964) and the Tour of Lombardy (1965). The crowning achievement is his 1965 world road race title. His star status made him the biggest impression in Europe. From the excellent book, 'Roule Britannia' by William Fotheringham...
'Most Frenchmen of a certain age still associated any English cyclist racing in their country with Simpson. At the start of the 21st century, new British stars such as David Millar were hailed as 'le nouveau Simpson.'
Barry Hoban held the record for most Tour stage wins (before Mark Cavendish) at 8. He holds the record by a British rider for most Tours completed - 11 out of 12 (1965-1978). Vin Denson was the first Briton to make his name as a domestique. The first Briton to win a stage of the Giro in1966. His true love was to support. "I loved the idea of being well-respected and trusted, and not having too much responsibility."
The Foreign Legion, as Rupert Guinness called the English-speaking, talented riders arrived in the late-seventies through ACBB cycling club of Paris. The legionnaires were many and some of the big names were: Paul Sherwen, Allan Pieper, Sean Yates, Graham Jones and super climber; Robert Millar made their mark in cycling and the Tour. An English invasion. I'll add the Irish and Aussies, too. Sean Kelly, Stephen Roche, the anti-hero turned hero: Paul Kimmage and Phil Anderson were all former legion members.
In the 1987 Tour, a British team called ANC Halfords competed. Although, they were ill ready to take on the massiveness of the Tour... they did try. Malcolm 'the Sheffield Flyer' Elliot emerged as the only rider of the team to be competitive earning the bulk of the team's prize money in that Tour. He went onto success winning stages in the 1988-89 Vuelta a Espana.
In the nineties, Chris Boardman was the rider influential to increase funding for the Tour of Britain. His 1992 Olympic pursuit gold, breaking the world hour record 3 times, 1994 World Track Champion and 3 stage victories in the Tour propelled him to importance for more funding in British cycling.
Due to the legacy, British cycling success continues Team Sky; Mark Cavendish and Bradley Wiggins. I may have missed out on others who contribute to the British cycling reign but that would result in perhaps in another post.
When we first saw the beautiful British Superfine Wool we knew this would become a classic cycling cap. I said this would be perfect and immediately called it the, Brits winter cycling cap. And, who wouldn't love a 100% wool winter cap? The British have a rich cycling history and I believed, from the beginning, our Brits winter cap was destined to become a classic. You can now see our Brits in November's issue of Bicycling Magazine... Chapeau!
Monday, April 2, 2012
My old Cafe De Colombia Pilas Varta cycling cap
In 2005, I was at a local bike shop and I discovered this Cafe De Colombia cycling cap. It wasn't really well made, looking more like a painters cap. Seeing this cap opened a floodgate of memories reminding me of the emergence of Colombian cycling in the eighties. Back then, I didn't know much about cycling caps but I knew that it was an integral part of the racers cycling kit. It was what riders all wore and, in a way, it made them look regal like kings.
Before cycling helmets became the norm, I was out riding with a Z Peugeot cycling cap, in 1988. I even put it on backwards for that certain pro look laboring up Cypress mountain, North Vancouver. Thank god for those switchbacks for giving me a rest. But, I knew that wearing a cycling cap backwards was practical too. The brim protects the back of the neck from the sun. I was far from a pro but wearing the cap sure made me feel good.
It wasn't made well...
but it brought back good memories.
In the eighties, the Colombians were met with considerable scorn, by some European riders as incompetent and dangerous riders. They were the only amateur team in the 1983 Tour, with some of their best riders opting to stay at home for the Coors Classic which made them even more isolated. They survived hardship and blazed a trail with their 1983 Tour. The fine climber, Patrocinio Jimenez wore the KOMs jersey for 5 days finishing in 16th place. His teammate, Edgar Corredor finished the highest placed Colombian rider in 15th spot. In fact, he was the only rider to beat Laurent Fignon in all mountain stages.
Then in 1984, Luis Herrera (classically wearing a wool jersey) became the first Colombian to win a Tour stage, up the mythical L'Alpe-d'Huez. The Colombians arrived, with the mantle of sacrifice, hard work and class, into the cycling world.
The regal Colombian Cycling Sombrero by
Red Dots Cycling
On a wing & a prayer...
Herrera with cycling cap on his way to win in Avoriaz
Carolle and I worked closely with him making his caps to his specifications. I love the flashy Colombian ribbon creating a unique cap. As we sell more and more of our cycling caps, we also learn that there is more interest and desire to bring back the classic cycling cap to it's rightful place in the cycling world... hopefully knocking the baseball cap off it's temporary perch!
Once upon a time ago, they wore their cycling caps on
the podium and smiled!
1987 Giro podium...
(l to r): Roberto Conti, Johan van der Velde, Stephen Roche & Robert Millar.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
'What's our horror-scope say?"
Stephen Roche stormed into the 1987 Giro wanting more than just the co-leader position in the Carrera squad. Management wanted Roberto Visentini (1986 winner) to go for the overall. But, Roche thought otherwise. His early season results was clear indication that he should lead the team.
The Irishman won the Valencia Vuerta and his third Tour of Romandie. Visentini, on the other hand, had no wins leading up to the Giro.
Both riders took turns wearing the Pink Jersey and on stage 14, cracks appeared in the Carrera team armor. A small breakaway formed and Roche tore away with them leaving race leader, Visentini unable to respond. After the stage, Visentini lost a whopping six minutes & the pink jersey to Roche slipping down the GC. We may never know the real story. But I discovered interesting allegations... That the team was unable to support Visentini and that he had forgotten to eat.
The accusations continued, complicated by Visentini complaining to the media of Roche's betrayal. There was even talk forbidding Roche from starting the following morning and dropping him from the team for the Tour.
Uneasy Non Alliance...
More drama. The last week saw Roche holding onto his leaders pink jersey... tightly. The angry tifosi 'welcomed' Roche with insults, clenched fists, & spitting but was not subjected to actual physical damage. Speaking to L'Equipe, Roche revealed after stage 17 on the climb to Monte Bondone, "Towards the end of the stage, I told him (Visentini) that something wasn't working properly on the bike; the handlebars were shaking. Did you see his reaction was? he attacked immediately." Roche's faithful domestique, Eddy Schepers added this about Visentini; "He tried to push me into the ditch. Visentini can't bear the sight of me and it's time this Giro was over."
Visentini didn't deny this saying, "Yes, I did try to kick him up in the air. It's the least I could do."
With the hope of the overall lead fading fast, Visentini seem to suffer from a persecution complex by accusing the entire Fagor team, Robert Millar & Johan Van der Velde of conspiring to help Stephen Roche to win the Giro. With his raving, the Italian media turned a deaf ear and Visentini lost all credibility. Adding injury to his slurs, Visentini crashed and loss a further six minutes to Pila, and finished the stage in pain. Afterwards, the once proud winner in 1986, announced that he was retiring from the Giro due to a wrist injury. A sad way to finish.
Stephen Roche rode with quiet tact and duly won the final ITT stage, to celebrate his Giro victory in grand style. Proving without a doubt that he was the strongest in the 1987 Giro d'Italia.
...Visentini crashes to Pila losing any hopes of victory...
... to Stephen Roche!
photo: Jack Claassen
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Above is an excellent tribute video to the 70s/80s Dutch rider, Johan Van de Velde. He won many victories for the famous Ti-Raleigh team; the Maillot Blanc in the 1980 Tour, two Tour stage wins, Dauphine Libere, & twice Dutch National Champion.
Ti-Raleigh glory days.
But, his star shone racing for Italian teams. In 1984, he signed for Metauromobili-Pinarello and became for the first time in his career, team leader. Van der Velde said, "For many years I thought I would like to ride in an Italian team. I like the country, the mentality inside Italian teams suited me, and they always had good bikes and equipment. The Italian people can be temperamental, but I like that too. It was a small team but there were some good riders in it, including Lucien Van Impe and a Dutch friend of mine, Frits Pirard."
The following year, Van der Velde won his first Giro points title. He said, "When I got the points jersey I felt the really warmth of the fans for the first time. They cheer for everyone but especially for the jerseys, and there is a lot of interest in whoever is wearing them." But, he missed the Tour and moved to Panasonic under his old coach Peter Post wanting to relive his Ti-Raleigh days. He even won a stage and wore the Maillot Jaune but it wasn't the same. Van der Velde went back to Italy riding for the Gis team and duly won the 1986 & 1987 Giro points title.
Van der Velde (Gis-Jolly) wins the 1987 Giro points title...
flanked by Conti, Roche & Millar.
And, the tifosi love their heroes, who ride with panache like Van der Velde. In the famous stage on the frigid Gavia pass in 1988, heroes were created. Amongst them, Johan Van der Velde marched up the summit alone. Bare arms and staggering upwards was an amazing feat in blizzard conditions. It was epic!
Johan Van der Velde said, "It was hard but I got to the top in the lead and I was OK. I just have to go downhill all the way to Bormio and I have won a big stage. But once I got over the top, I have never known cold like it. I went down about two or three kilometres and I could not brake properly and it was difficult to see through the snow. So I stopped by my team car and drank some hot tea and some cognac. No matter how much hot tea I drank I could not stop shaking. When the bus came I got in it. There were other riders in there, and we went down by the bus with our bikes and got out three kilometers from the finish and rode over the line. Later the organisers said about 60 riders had come down the mountain in cars, vans and buses, and they could not disqualify all of them. So I did start the next day. It was an exceptional day, they said."
Van der Velde up the Gavia.
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Twenty-two years old, and going strong.
My trusty companion!
I admire my San Marco Rolls Saddle. Going on strong when I first bought it back in 1987. The nera Italian is one comfortable saddle. It's gone through extreme heat to soggy rain always supporting my behind. A true friend.
Italian saddle maker, Selle San Marco started building their beautiful saddles in 1935. I'm not sure when the Rolls was introduced but it's one of the company's top professional saddle. Begins as a nylon shell then cemented with an high density foam padding extending from the tip to the back. The padding helps so well that there is likely no nerve damage to the rider. A stylish gold plated 'Rolls' logo is riveted on the back to hold the calf leather to the shell. Supported on steel rails that are brass plated to go nicely with the gold plate. A great fit and classy Italian finish.
For my next bike ...the choice is obvious!
On top of his Rolls he rode on to win the 1987 Tour.
He's one of the countless pro's to enjoy the benefits!
From: 'Tour 87.'
Monday, August 17, 2009
Trying to follow in his father's footsteps!
Nicolas Roche is the son of the famous cycling champion, Stephen Roche. One thing is certain, dad followed his son during the 2009 Tour de France. Great family support in his first Tour. The younger Roche has placed in the top ten in Grand tour stages. Consistent enough and at the age of only 25 he has a promising future ahead. Will he reach his dad's star status?
Father said to his son, "The most important thing is to participate and learn."