Saturday, October 16, 2010

More From The Archives

I seem to be having some kind of writer's block despite having a vast amount of work and play to blog. While I seek my muse I thought I'd blow the dust off the 'site by posting up some more recently scanned historical goodness from the huge pile of bicycle related paraphernalia that I have built up over all these years. I hope you enjoy looking at these old pictures as much as I have enjoyed digging the books and images up...and thanks to Stu for the inspiration!

Greg LeMond has become known lately more for his at times slightly over the top anti-doping stance than his amazing feats as a rider. He was the first English-speaking rider to win a Grand Tour when he won the 1986 Tour de France in a torrid battle with his legendary 5-time Tour winner teammate Bernard Hinault, and he went on to win it twice more as well as the World Championships in 1983 and '89. His book was the Bible to us roadies of the late 80s/early 90s, and his bike fitting advice holds up pretty well to this day...

This book from the late 60s is also crammed full of advice, but much of the training and nutrition tips are risible in the context of the modern era.

Here's a great shot of the tactic "attacking out of a corner" from the above book. The rider is Eddy Merckx.

Also from the same book is this shot of what is purported to be the ultimate in aero positioning!

And Fausto Coppi shows us that one doesn't need to remain on one's drops to put one's power down.

This book devoted to holders of the fabled Maillot Jaune was written after Merckx had won his 4th Tour de France in 1972, and features oddly chosen and somewhat truncated tales of legends from Garin to Bobet, from Anquetil to Walkowiak. Good if quirky stuff.

I've posted a shot of this before, but I never tire of it so here's another detail from the Guinness Guide to Bicycling of the pink Mercier that first turned my adolescent mind to impure thoughts of bike lust...

...and a classic Thevenet era Peugeot PX-10 Professional from the same wonderfully evocative tome. We had a set of these Mafac centrepull brakes only gold and drilled out sitting in the cabinet of the Bicycle Village for years - how I wish I'd had the foresight to snap them up.

Here are a few photos from races around New Zealand taken in 1981 and 82 mostly by my good friend Henry Chlebowicz. This is Henry test-riding his new Alan in Severn Street, Island Bay. He's wearing a Mexico team top from the team that came here for the 1981 NZ Games. I can't believe how empty the Bay seems back then!

Here's an Alan just like it (only smaller) in front of a very cool Capri at some race. These were the first widely available aluminium racing frame. To describe these frames as whippy doesn't do justice to the impressive flex these thin tubes glued into lugs produced, but they were light and comfortable. Euro cyclo-cross riders in particular loved them for their springy resilience.

Edit January 14th, 2011: I have it on good authority that the Alan in fact belonged to the great Anthony Cuff from Palmerston North, one time World Flying Kilo Record holder with his 59.62s which was the first flying kilo under a minute ever ridden.

A race (Gold Coast 80 possibly?) heads up Wellingon's fabled Paekakariki Hill. Wainui strongman Stephen 'Box' Carton leads young Shane Joyce (Bluebird Hutt) and (I think?) Greg Cundy (Kapiti). Empire Games gold medalist and NZ great Harry Kent shepherds them on the moto.

The great Jack Swart ponders his new Shimano Dura-Ace AX kit before a race. Not sure why he's bothering, I think he only ever used the big ring and small cog...

Here's my friend Dave "Giuseppe" Barnett on his Viner. Barney, as he's now known, was a great rider who twice won the Mountains Jersey in the Dulux, and also finished a solid 14th in the amateur "Baby" Giro d'Italia riding for New Zealand. He's pictured here at the AirNZ Junior Tour in 1982.

At big races Henry and I would wander among the star rider's bikes dreaming of one day owning our own bit of exotic Italian mystique. Here's a Simonato, a great example despite having being "despoiled" with Japanese componentry.

After the 1980 Moscow Olympics boycott, New Zealand held the 1981 NZ Summer Games around the country for the twenty or so nations that didn't go to the Olympics. Wellington hosted the cycling events, with track racing at Hataitai Velodrome and a road race. The exciting course ran south up Cambridge Terrace, around the Basin Reserve and back down Kent Terrace about a hundred times...

Here Roger Sumich piles on the pressure past the Kentucky Fried Chicken (still there!) on the corner of Pirie Street and Kent Terrace.

Gary Gibson took this shot of Roger Sumich outsprinting Jack Swart into Katikati during the 1982 Dulux Tour...

...and also this shot of 1982 Dulux winner Stephen Carton heading Tony Catterick and Gary Johnson over the line in a stage of that year's race.

Back to Europe now, and delving deeper into the past. My friend Chris astounded me recently with an out of the blue reference to Belgian great Rik van Looy, so I had to search out my book on the Emperor of Herentals. Chris hasn't been riding long and it's cool to see that newcomers to the sport are sometimes as interested in the history as they are in the modern racing.

Now this is a good position on a bike. World Champion in both '61 and '62, here Rik II makes the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix look easy as he rides to victory in the 1962 edition.

Another one of the books I bought waaaaay back then was vital in helping me select the geometry of my late-lamented custom Raleigh 753. The book is still full of scrawled notations from me nutting out details like chainstay lengths and bottom bracket drop...

Bicycle Frames by Joe Kossack, published in 1975.

This featured some grainy black and white pictures of some beautiful kit like this wicked Colin Laing TT special. Check the painstakingly drilled out parts.

Here's an early progenitor of the modern carbon frame. Graftek sold these aluminium wrapped in carbon fibre frames from '75 to '78.

This beautifully clean Don Millberger poses an interesting problem - what exactly is the random straddle wire doing? Check the colour-coded Silca Impero pump while you're cogitating.

Witcomb Cycles are known for their fine frames. As the caption says, this cat is brazing in a replacement seat-tube on a used frame.

These days Ritchey components are almost ubiquitous, but the man behind the name first rose to prominence as a talented amateur racer who built frames. Tom Ritchey road or mountainbike frames are highly prized by collectors and are incredibly hard to come by, aren't they DB?

I'll finish this post off with a few pages from my 1974 Campagnolo Catalogue n. 17.

Campagnolo Super Record groupset.

The rest of the Campagnolo Super Record groupset.

And finally, the physical embodiment of all that is sacred to me - a full Campagnolo Tool Kit in it's walnut case. If I die without ever owning one of these my spirit will roam the earth moaning and jangling its ghostly generic tools...

Thanks for reading, Oli


Lynskey said...

I really enjoyed reading this one bro. Your words capture a unique aesthetic and I dig all the tangential parts of the cycling world that you write about. I can tell that you really love it, and that's damn cool.

David Benson said...

I got my own copy of Joe Kossack's book out recently in search of that very picture of Tom Ritchey.
Unfortunately I will never be that fast, even though I now have the right bike.