Rik Van Looy and Company

Anatomy of a photo: Gun Check, Gent-Wevelgem 1965

Anatomy of a photo: Gun Check, Gent-Wevelgem 1965

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The above photo was liberated from a Dutch website which appears to be dedicated solely to a book about Dutch and Belgian riders both old and new.  I can’t read a lick of Dutch, in fact, I’m not even 100-% sure it’s a Dutch site (based on the “.nl” though I’m pretty sure).  The website is rad though and the book looks mint, anybody know it?  Check it out and see what you think.  The guy in the back of the gruppetto is, of course, Rik Van Looy.

// Anatomy of a Photo

  1. It may be Dutch, but I’m guessing it’s in Holland or the Netherlands

  2. @michael

    Wouldn’t that make it Hollish or Netherlandsian?

  3. Amazing photo. Van Looy’s expression is priceless. With Google Translate, I tried to figure out a way to order the 2009 edition, but it doesn’t look like they ship internationally… Gotta learn Netherlandiansianese.

  4. i love the sponsorship from ford

  5. This photo is so awesomely confusing.
    Apart from the fact that I initially thought the Ford rider was Bruce Springsteen, I’m most baffled by Rik II smiling. I’d be very, very suspicious were I the other two.

  6. @Marko
    Or Hollerland?

    Don’t piss Frank off. He might take away my VSP points. Oh, wait. I don’t have any to take away.

    Yep, it’s definitely Hollerland. Damn Hollerlanders.

  7. Rik van Looy is in the back. Willy Vannitsen is the Ford with the gunrack. Thuur De Cabooter is the one listening to van Looy go on and on about the Vannitsen Gun Show.

    Sure don’t look like the Brothers Grimpeur.

  8. Les Frères Grimpeur are just off the frame to the left. The younger Grimplet’s chain skipped, and these three brutes ran them over. “See,” says van Looy (in the thickest Dutch accent imaginable), “the cobbles ’round these parts aren’t that bad at all.” De Cabooter is actually looking back in disgust at the last bump in the road (Grimp the Elder).

  9. Jeff in PetroMetro:
    Willy Vannitsen is the Ford with the gunrack.

    Stone. Cold. Genius.

  10. @Steampunk
    Shit. Laughed a mouthful of dinner all over the computer screen.

  11. Bar-end shifters and short shorts: two of the worst innovations in cycling.

  12. It looks like Van Looy is about to feed Vannitsen’s horse, while an early prototype Thor looks on…

  13. @marko

    nice link and the website is pretty cool looking. Pity I can’t understand a thing.

    @Steampunk
    very good.

    That photo is the bomb. So much could be read into that photo given their expressions….

  14. Yeah, that site’s definitely Dutch. You can tell because everything is more Awesome when you’ve got the web page up. Whenever you’re wondering, you can try this little test:

    1) Open anything with writing on it that you think might be Dutch.
    2) Check stuff out. Everything should be more Awesome. Look out the window: More awesome.
    3) Close said item with suspected Dutch text on it.
    4) Check stuff out again. Everything should be less Awesome. Look out the window again: Less Awesome

    That’s pretty conclusive. I probably don’t need to get into more detail than that, but let me know if you need more help.

  15. @co-mo

    Bar-end shifters and short shorts: two of the worst innovations in cycling.

    I’m with you on the bar-ends, but it’s impossible for me to separate how fly these guys were from how short their shorts were. Conclusion: those short shorts were fly. And almost certainly better than the down-to-the-knee look popularized by COTHO.

  16. The Awesomeness test is one way determine a site’s Dutchness factor. I personally follow the Vierdess method.

  17. How come Rik is so much more awesome than Rick?

    Those guns are impressive. Man, mine never even looked like that back when I was playing college sports and had to lift weights. They surely don’t look like it now, when my sole pursuit is daily crank turning.

    We all move through stages in life. I kind of feel like I’m at a new stage, and cycling is a huge part of it. I’ve been a pretty dedicated Velominatus for a few years now, upping my kms every year, adhering to the Rules more closely. However, this is only the second year I’ve really followed all the pro races. Spring is here, the Classics are here, and it feels like along with spring a new period of my life is opening. My life seems to center on the cycling calendar, which follows the seasons, which means I’m in rhythm with life via cycling.

    Cycling is riding tempo in my life these days.

    And thus, I’m living in Awesomeville.

    Oh, and I got engaged to my gal on 17 March. Easy to remember, right? St. Patrick’s Day in Prague. She rides a nice burgundy Takara with dt shifters and, most importantly, lets me keep four bicycles in our tiny house. And, she’s great and beautiful in every way.

    Sorry for the aside, bring on the G-V race! Happy second day of spring fellow Velominati!

  18. That’s an awesome photo. Several interesting things. Sure they are “short” shorts, but they were wool, cut short (by today’s standards) and because they had no leg grippers they had a tendency to get loose and ride up. Mind you, if I had guns like Van Looys, I’d be happy to show ‘em off! (I have a pic at home of an Italian rider in the Giro in 73 and his shorts are flapping they’re so friggin’ loose!) Also, look at how close the difference in height between the saddles and bars are. For De Cabooter they’re almost level. Today, some riders have an almost 6″ differential. Also, look at the amount of “bend” in Van Looy and Vannitsen’s legs. They’re sitting pretty low. The bar end shifters are also used as few bikes from this period had any kind of braze-ons. Water bottle cages were held on with clips – as you can see in the picture. They were also limited to one cage I believe. De Cabooter even has a frame-fitting pump on there too. A different era for sure . . .

  19. Don’t know where this beongs, but I couldn’t say it better myself: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/mar/20/school-of-life-cycling

  20. @Brett
    Ewww. And yet, spot on.

    @wiscot
    Rik is SO AWESOME precisely because he’s without a bidon in his cage. He’s laughing at how wussy Vannitsen and De Cabooter are for needing bidons at all.

    Also, note how Old School the Ford jersey is compared to the others. It’s still sporting pockets on the front while the others’ pockets are on the back.

    Ah, look at all that luxurious fork rake and those laid back angles. These guys are driving Cadillacs.

    The pump? IMHO, I think it’s trompe l’oeil–that’s something in the field behind De Cabooter.

  21. Jeff in PetroMetro:

    @wiscot
    Rik is SO AWESOME precisely because he’s without a bidon in his cage. He’s laughing at how wussy Vannitsen and De Cabooter are for needing bidons at all.

    Nothing to add!

  22. what a beauty of a foto!

    awesome, confusing and i am just like most, in awe of the heat their packin

    IMHO however, the gorilla rider on the left is getting passed, he was on a lone wolf break….has been drilling it all day like a new found love…hears something and its a guy in a Ford freaking jersey, who may or may not even be in the race for all he knows, his hair in place better than coppi, comes passing by like a kenworth diesel running full steam.

    Rik VanLooy is hanging obviously, complementary that he is able to take it so easy in the streamline of the train.

  23. and he asks ‘is that a 302 Boss’…

  24. @Souleur
    “Thuur. Seriously. He’s a caveman! Mad as a hatter. Grunted at me, like, I don’t know, a hundred-and-fifty kilometers ago, and I haven’t had to take a pull since. I mean, look at me. I’m as fresh as a loaf of bread straight out of the oven. I even smell good. And I think he’s deaf. Must be deaf. I’ve been singing one of those new Beatles tunes for two hours. I can’t get it out of my head. It’s really catchy. It’s a Pick-to-Click. And everyone knows I can’t sing. I sound like a tom cat. He hasn’t bitched at me once. Weird. Anyhow, you should get on this train before you get dropped like a bad habit. Maybe later we can buy him a beer or something.”

  25. I’ve just spent another 15 minutes or so poking around Dutch awesomeness. There’s all kinds of hidden little gems on that site. Christ, I wish I could read Hollandaise.

  26. @Marko
    If you need to understand Hollandaise to read that web page, you need to see a specialist for your condition.

  27. @Cyclops

    Nice. “Is that a compact?” Brilliant.

    Dutch awesomeness distilled and concentrated into liquid form (a very potent substance). This is what is in the bidons, I’m sure of it.

  28. @Marko
    Huh. I always took bike porn to mean something different entirely.

  29. petro: lay off the quads bro…espresso that is

    i just blew my lunch through my teeth laughing at that

  30. @wiscot
    Nailed it.

    @Ron
    Congrats, Mate. Excellent news.

  31. @ G’phant – Thanks! I’m a maturing Velominati. Don’t even have a bike build plan in the works, gettin’ engaged…It feels good though. My VMH is great.

  32. @Ron
    your life as you know it is over. You are fucked.

  33. @Ron… many congrats on engagement, and glad you found a Velominata – who rides vintage, too. Maybe you’ll get as much as five years of gripe free riding before those That Fucking Bike conversations start: FOUR bikes? What do you need FOUR bikes for? They all look the SAME to me? And do you have to keep them in the HOUSE? Can’t you just have ONE, and keep it in your shed…next to the bed I put in there for you?

    I echo your sentiments on La Vie Velominatus… I’m using Google Translator to try and understand the website for the E3-Prijs this Saturday to get the lay up… Boonen is in, but not sure if Spartacus is too.. Then there’s Ghent Wevelgem on Sunday… family time not looking so good

  34. @Ron
    Congratulazioni!

  35. @Marko
    Ahahah!

  36. Rik: “You guys are idiots if you think I’m doing any work!”

  37. Rik

    ‘its no wonder his legs are thicker than my chest and his arms are thicker than your thighs, hes just chewed off the top of my head’

  38. Built Ford Tough? Holy shit. The guy’s just like a Ford truck; huge, inefficient, and probably noisy.

  39. @packfiller
    Vannitsen’s palmares (107 wins in Cycling Archives) certainly don’t read like a Ford’s (and there’s no mention of his breaking the Principle of Silence, although the guns look as though they might). 1965 had him at the twilight of his career. He still finished 3rd at Paris-Roubaix.

  40. @frank
    You may have seen this already as it’s making the rounds, but here is more evidence of Dutch Awesomeness.

  41. @Steampunk
    DZ. Nuts.

  42. @Steampunk
    Man, I love DZ. He’s a hometown boy from SLC and makes me laugh uproariously.

  43. @Nate
    BRUTAL! That’s an awesome vid! Inspiring as I thought I had it rough here in Georgia with 20 mph winds.

  44. @Nate
    Great interweb find! That one poor rider couldn’t even get his bike under himself. That’s one occasion where being too fat to climb isn’t such a bad thing.

  45. Ha, amazing how his bike was blowing sideways like a sail. I wonder how fast that wind was?

  46. Jeff in PetroMetro:
    @Brett

    The pump? IMHO, I think it’s trompe l’oeil-that’s something in the field behind De Cabooter.

    I did some checking last night. Even as late as 1973 in the Giro teammates of Merckx on the Molteni team carried spare tubs and pumps with them so that they could fix their own flats after the team cars were gone. In this instance, Van Looy doesn’t carry a pump or spare as his tubs wouldn’t dare puncture.

  47. @Nate
    And there we have the answer as to why the Dutch are good climbers. Awesome vid. Thanks, mate. I guess that’s a day not to ride the “aero” bike, huh?

  48. Just noticed the rider in the Ford jersey is the same guy as on the cover of A Dog in a Hat.

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