This cat got skills

On Rule #43: Shaming the Sensei

by / / 53 posts

I think it would be hard for anyone to make the case that Eddy Merckx was Roger de Vlaeminck’s Cycling Sensei, but I think we can all agree that De Vlaeminck was a student of Merckx, if only a student of his domination. But every student at some point becomes the master, and the driven student will always challenge the Order of Things.

Every rider should keep their bicycles safely inside their warm house during the Winter, on account of us not being savages and not wanting to leave our beloved steeds out in the cold. Rule #69 suggests, then, that if one happens to have a brick front staircase, one should ride one’s bicycle down said stairs rather than waddle down in cleats with bicycle lurched over the shoulder. Such was the case on this snowy Winter’s day, somewhere in Oost Vlaanderen, when the student Roger casually rode his bike down his brick steps while The Prophet waited on the sidewalk to start the ride.

Not only is RdV demonstrating a fundamental property of life (i.e. that shaming your Sensei is an incomparably rewarding experience) but that rivals can be mates. I observe two important points: Roger and Eddy are getting ready for what appears to be a winter training ride and Roger and Eddy are on rival teams. I’ve always been good mates with my competitors; I may well view them as pure evil during an event, but outside that narrow scope, I recognize that they drive me to become a better person, to explore the very limits of my abilities. For that alone, I owe them a debt of gratitude because the quality of my rivals tests the quality of my own character. Most of them are people who share the same motivation and goals as I do. There is no need to hate them in even the remotest realms of reality. We are not soldiers at war; we are foes engaged at a game of Sport – we are more similar than we are different.

Rule #43 is about brother and sisterhood. Save the rivalry for Race Day and learn to know your opponents and spend time with them. You may find they are much like you and have many lessons to offer. But come Race Day, crush them like an ant under the Lone Ranger’s boot.

 

// Etiquette // Folklore // La Vie Velominatus // Nostalgia // The Hardmen

  1. Has the fact that Belgium was the site for WW I trench warfare and a goodly dollop of action in WW II been considered as to why the hard men of cycling are from there?

    Just looking at the trees in the photo – they are quite young – as if there were none 10-20 years previous due to shelling etc.




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  2. Soooo much fuck’in right with this piece!!! We are all Brothers (and Sisters) on the bike. We walk (ride) the same path and have a common bond that goes beyond the race. It it something that when you both see each others shaved legs or tan lines, you can immediately relate to one another.

    The same goes for the military. When not deployed and you see a military member from another branch, there is immediate, usually friendly, bantor and picking on one another, maybe even a bit of scorn (Air Force guys are “soft”, Navy are just “water taxis”, Marines “JarHeads”, do not even lower ourselves to acknowledge the Coast Guard) but when deployed, you will not find a tighter bond outside of genetics.

    And it is our foes that truly make us. They are the ones that make us get outside and train on the cold, raining days. To not have a dessert. To pass on the second piece of Halloween candy. Every true hero needs a worthy foe, not some camel fucker.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZE0TYKYfEo

    Although I suppose that we get closest to your transcendent Velominatus when we get to the point where anyone outside ourselves is no longer needed as a foe, when we are our own foe, but that just sounds wayyy too cheesily “Deep, Dude” for an early Tuesday morning.

    And before I finally shut up, I still see your hints of the Dark Side creeping through here. I think only the Sith aspire to overtake and beat their Sensei, no???




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  3. Damn, imagine rolling out of your house to meet…The Prophet for a training ride? That’s awesome.

    I actually am able to leave my front door, mount my bike on the porch, roll down two steps, a path, then onto the sidewalk and into the street. Pretty cool to roll out of the house in style, and not have to waddle down steps in cleats.

    Oh, and best of mates. I play soccer twice a week, a rolling group of guys and you just split up evenly depending on how many show up. Ages are from 25-71, pretty good soccer as even the old guys are very tactically shrewd. The amazing thing is that cursing and fighting are frequent, but most head to the pub post scrimmage for some brew. Fun to tell someone you fucking hate their guts, then share a beer with ’em.




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  4. True right, soul crushing has its place and time. I do like the pre and post race bantor.




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  5. That’s a great picture and I’m distracted by the guy parked on the sidewalk.

    Riding down stairs is fun. I do it on my way out of the house too.




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  6. @Harminator

    But you just know Eddy is thinking “If you pinch flat I’m leaving without you.”

    Ha, awesome!

    I will never understand guys who can ride in winter without gloves. My hands and feet tend to get cold, not my body or face or head. I just don’t understand how guys keep feeling in their hands in cold wind. If I need a LS top or leg warmers or a winter cap, I sure as heck need full-finger gloves.




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  7. @Buck Rogers




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  8. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    Ha! Yup, Frahnk’s Sith is showing.




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  9. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    Oh no, not again!




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  10. Allan Pieper used to warm up his bike by the stove when he lived in Belgium. I’m sure he learned that from the Planckaert brothers. It makes a little bit of sense; warm up the bike and body.

    I think Rodger was showing off his mad CX skills to the Man in that photo.




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  11. Descending in the drops I see.




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  12. @Buck Rogers

    Yes and no. I feel a bond with some of my fellow Cyclists, others I want nothing to do with. The amount of fuckwits I see doing stupid shit on bikes every day makes my blood boil as they are hurting our collective cause.

    Then there are the leeches. What is it that makes some people think that a bunch (I use the term loosely, as our group is never much more than 6 riders) passing them is an open invite to hop on the back, or worse, shove into the line? This happened to us yesterday, this fat hairy fuck thought it’d be a good idea to jump in as we passed him, forcing me out into traffic then having the gall to grumble at us when we forced him back out again. Those cunts can fuck off.

    Then there are the good guys… I have a large circle of friends who are mostly all riders, and we share the same warped senses of humour, tastes in music, beer and a general contempt for those who do their best to tarnish our shared passion.




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  13. “Classic looking wool kit.” Dug around to uncover Torm from the UK making Sportwool products. Torm makes their T7 with full length YKK 3C locking zip. I can’t handle quarter-zip.




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  14. @razmaspaz

    Descending in the drops I see.

    #brakes




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  15. @SamFromTex

    I’m distracted by the guy parked on the sidewalk.

    Blasphemy.




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  16. @brett

    @SamFromTex

    I’m distracted by the guy parked on the sidewalk.

    Blasphemy.

    I have a funny feeling given the B plate on the car (suspecting that international travel was not that common even in Belgium back then) and the fact that it’s a smart/large car and the direction of EM’s bike that the offender is he himself.




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  17. @Teocalli

    @brett

    @SamFromTex

    I’m distracted by the guy parked on the sidewalk.

    Blasphemy.

    I have a funny feeling given the B plate on the car (suspecting that international travel was not that common even in Belgium back then) and the fact that it’s a smart/large car and the direction of EM’s bike that the offender is he himself.

    “International Travel” In Belgium means driving about 20 miles in any one direction to reach another country! Back in the pre-EU days, vehicles that traveled around beyond their natural borders had the stickers: NL, GB, B, F, D, I, DK etc. When we were on long drives on holiday we used to while away the time counting the different ones we’d see.

    Speaking of riding down stairs, RdV will be doing so with grace and finesse – unlike the two twats I saw in Chicago on Sunday riding a couple of the blue hire bikes down stairs near the lake with nary a care in the world for the welfare of the bike. I’m sure their thinking was “:it’s not mine so I can try and break it.” Morons.

    That lead pic must be seriously off-season – the Prophet looks a tad rotund around the waist, although I’m sure it’s just the bulk of many layers of wool rather than the result of Ullrichian excesses.




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  19. @Buck Rogers

    Soooo much fuck’in right with this piece!!! We are all Brothers (and Sisters) on the bike. We walk (ride) the same path and have a common bond that goes beyond the race. It it something that when you both see each others shaved legs or tan lines, you can immediately relate to one another.

    The same goes for the military. When not deployed and you see a military member from another branch, there is immediate, usually friendly, bantor and picking on one another, maybe even a bit of scorn (Air Force guys are “soft”, Navy are just “water taxis”, Marines “JarHeads”, do not even lower ourselves to acknowledge the Coast Guard) but when deployed, you will not find a tighter bond outside of genetics.

    And it is our foes that truly make us. They are the ones that make us get outside and train on the cold, raining days. To not have a dessert. To pass on the second piece of Halloween candy. Every true hero needs a worthy foe, not some camel fucker.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mZE0TYKYfEo

    Although I suppose that we get closest to your transcendent Velominatus when we get to the point where anyone outside ourselves is no longer needed as a foe, when we are our own foe, but that just sounds wayyy too cheesily “Deep, Dude” for an early Tuesday morning.

    And before I finally shut up, I still see your hints of the Dark Side creeping through here. I think only the Sith aspire to overtake and beat their Sensei, no???

    I think, rather to take it further, this is more in the realm of former Allied and Axis military who since those dark days have met each other and found that they are in fact very similar to each other, and were just pawns in a fucked up game, that they are both good cunts who can get along with each other, but who BITD would have taken not a single thought to knife each other to death in the trenches.




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  20. Cycling with a competitor or with the VMH Tough choice…

    …although I’d be temped to have a word about the Ugg boots.

    (perfect display of caps, though)




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  21. @Teocalli

    @brett

    @SamFromTex

    I’m distracted by the guy parked on the sidewalk.

    Blasphemy.

    I have a funny feeling given the B plate on the car (suspecting that international travel was not that common even in Belgium back then) and the fact that it’s a smart/large car and the direction of EM’s bike that the offender is he himself.

    Oops… by “the guy parked on the footpath” I thought he was referring to The Prophet… my mistake. Sorry @SamFromTex




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  22. @Chris based on his eyeline, I think he may be wondering about her choice of footwear too.




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  23. @Buck Rogers

    And it is our foes that truly make us. They are the ones that make us get outside and train on the cold, raining days. To not have a dessert. To pass on the second piece of Halloween candy.

    Second piece? Is that were I have been going wrong?




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  24. @Chris

    Cycling with a competitor or with the VMH Tough choice…

    …although I’d be temped to have a word about the Ugg boots.

    (perfect display of caps, though)

    I spent quite a while freaking out about that Big Ring before I realized it’s a moped.

    @brett It’s all right, my phrasing was a bit off. Surely The Prophet wouldn’t have driven over, though?




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  25. This website- and this post, in very particular- brings a great deal of joy into my life. Chapeau! (And, uh, happy holidays, too…)

    jb




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  26. @SamFromTex Moped? Merckx forbid. It’s a derny, specifically for motor-pacing. Mostly only seen on the track these days for Steher and Keirin, but some riders used to train behind them on the road. Bordeaux-Paris was motor-paced for half the route during most of its history.




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  27. @brett

    @Buck Rogers

    Yes and no. I feel a bond with some of my fellow Cyclists, others I want nothing to do with. The amount of fuckwits I see doing stupid shit on bikes every day makes my blood boil as they are hurting our collective cause.

    THIS!




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  28. Note the car on the drive. I’m not sure what it is (Lancia?), but like everything else in the 70’s it’s as cool as fuck.

    Chris




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  29. @Chris Myhill

    Note the car on the drive. I’m not sure what it is (Lancia?), but like everything else in the 70’s it’s as cool as fuck.

    Chris

    Looks like a Lancia – some sweet Italian stylin’ going on at the rear end. I’d date the picture to the late 60s as Merckx rode for Faema from 1968 to 1970 and de Vlaeminck for Mars Flandria in the late 60s too. Roger and Erik rode a lot of cyclo-cross in their days so mad skills on bike handling were currency of the realm for them. I heard it told that Roger could actually ride in the tram tracks commonly found in Belgium and hop out without crashing. That’s bike handling right there!




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  30. @unversio

    “Classic looking wool kit.” Dug around to uncover Torm from the UK making Sportwool products. Torm makes their T7 with full length YKK 3C locking zip. I can’t handle quarter-zip.

    I have the T7 jersey and I like it a lot. I wish it was a bit shorter, but they clearly state their jerseys are a bit relaxed, not club fit, but not peloton-tight. My biggest gripe is the pockets. They’re a bit too small and definitely too narrow. I can’t fit a big beer in the center pocket after rides, nor some holiday whiskey in a bottle on way home from the bottle shop. But, the biggest issue is that I can’t fit my Lezyne (older model) bag with my tube, tool, CO2.

    If they resize the pockets, I’d say they’re golden. But, as it is, I tend not to wear the jersey that often because the pockets make carrying my normal ride/puncture gear a pain.




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  31. @Chris

    Cycling with a competitor or with the VMH Tough choice…

    …although I’d be temped to have a word about the Ugg boots.

    (perfect display of caps, though)

    I’d happily follow her rear wheel, as opposed to that of Gus, my burly soigneur. Also, I’d overlook the boots. At least she’s not riding in Crocs!




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  32. @Ron

    @unversio

    “Classic looking wool kit.” Dug around to uncover Torm from the UK making Sportwool products. Torm makes their T7 with full length YKK 3C locking zip. I can’t handle quarter-zip.

    I have the T7 jersey and I like it a lot. I wish it was a bit shorter, but they clearly state their jerseys are a bit relaxed, not club fit, but not peloton-tight. My biggest gripe is the pockets. They’re a bit too small and definitely too narrow. I can’t fit a big beer in the center pocket after rides, nor some holiday whiskey in a bottle on way home from the bottle shop. But, the biggest issue is that I can’t fit my Lezyne (older model) bag with my tube, tool, CO2.

    If they resize the pockets, I’d say they’re golden. But, as it is, I tend not to wear the jersey that often because the pockets make carrying my normal ride/puncture gear a pain.

    Essentially needed the Sportwool jersey layer this winter. Ordered their accompanying base layer as well. Riding tubulars all winter so I only carry Lezyne Pressure Drive and one small alloy tyre lever to dig under the tyre. In most winter scenarios will wear a dhb gilet over the T7 jersey to which I can complain that the rear pockets are way too damn high!




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  33. @wiscot I actually think it’s a DAF (Dutch car known for driving backwards as fast as going forward). The car parked on the sidewalk looks like an Opel Kadett.




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  34. @Chris

    Cycling with a competitor or with the VMH Tough choice…

    …although I’d be temped to have a word about the Ugg boots.

    (perfect display of caps, though)

    That is all kinds of awesome. the best looking derny pilot in all Flanders; usually it’s some large older man, whose chief attribute is the ability to punch a bit hole in the wind.




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  35. @wiscot

    @Chris Myhill

    Note the car on the drive. I’m not sure what it is (Lancia?), but like everything else in the 70’s it’s as cool as fuck.

    Chris

    Looks like a Lancia – some sweet Italian stylin’ going on at the rear end. I’d date the picture to the late 60s as Merckx rode for Faema from 1968 to 1970 and de Vlaeminck for Mars Flandria in the late 60s too. Roger and Erik rode a lot of cyclo-cross in their days so mad skills on bike handling were currency of the realm for them. I heard it told that Roger could actually ride in the tram tracks commonly found in Belgium and hop out without crashing. That’s bike handling right there!

    @KogaLover

    @wiscot I actually think it’s a DAF (Dutch car known for driving backwards as fast as going forward). The car parked on the sidewalk looks like an Opel Kadett.

    I thought it was an Alfa Romeo myself, maybe a Giulia, but the tail on those had a dip in the middle so a Lancia was my second guess. The only DAFs I’d heard of were trucks! @bianchi denti will know…




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  36. @brett

    @KogaLover

    @wiscot I actually think it’s a DAF (Dutch car known for driving backwards as fast as going forward). The car parked on the sidewalk looks like an Opel Kadett.

    I thought it was an Alfa Romeo myself, maybe a Giulia, but the tail on those had a dip in the middle so a Lancia was my second guess. The only DAFs I’d heard of were trucks! @bianchi denti will know…

    The only DAFs I remember were smaller on account of the rubber band drive not being up to powering a bigger car as I remember them.




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  37. @Nate

    That is all kinds of awesome. the best looking derny pilot in all Flanders; usually it’s some large older man, whose chief attribute is the ability to punch a bit hole in the wind.

    But some manage to bring a bit of style to the job:




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  38. @pistard

    @Nate

    That is all kinds of awesome. the best looking derny pilot in all Flanders; usually it’s some large older man, whose chief attribute is the ability to punch a bit hole in the wind.

    But some manage to bring a bit of style to the job:

    I think this pic belongs in the Michelin Man thread. A shirt and bow tie can’t hide those rolls o fat!




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  39. What about all the fat American dudes who wear a fleece vest year round to hide their cheeseburger lockers? It’s like…buddy, I can still tell you’re fat under that vest. And, it’s 20*C, why the vest?




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  40. @unversio

    @Ron

    @unversio

    “Classic looking wool kit.” Dug around to uncover Torm from the UK making Sportwool products. Torm makes their T7 with full length YKK 3C locking zip. I can’t handle quarter-zip.

    I have the T7 jersey and I like it a lot. I wish it was a bit shorter, but they clearly state their jerseys are a bit relaxed, not club fit, but not peloton-tight. My biggest gripe is the pockets. They’re a bit too small and definitely too narrow. I can’t fit a big beer in the center pocket after rides, nor some holiday whiskey in a bottle on way home from the bottle shop. But, the biggest issue is that I can’t fit my Lezyne (older model) bag with my tube, tool, CO2.

    If they resize the pockets, I’d say they’re golden. But, as it is, I tend not to wear the jersey that often because the pockets make carrying my normal ride/puncture gear a pain.

    Essentially needed the Sportwool jersey layer this winter. Ordered their accompanying base layer as well. Riding tubulars all winter so I only carry Lezyne Pressure Drive and one small alloy tyre lever to dig under the tyre. In most winter scenarios will wear a dhb gilet over the T7 jersey to which I can complain that the rear pockets are way too damn high!

    Ha, I wish the T7 was shorter because the pockets are a bit low for my liking. Different folks, different torsos. I’m very careful about what I put in my pockets, but the T7s are a bit small. Plus, in winter and fall riding you always have extra warmers, gilets, etc.

    If you don’t have one, I suggest a merino wool baselayer. I picked up an Icebreaker t-shirt model last year and the thing is thin and comfortable but paired with a LS Castelli jersey and a gilet, I’m fine down to around 0*C. I used to wear heavier, bulkier jackets (have one Descente one, one Castelli) but never wear them anymore. It’s amazing how warm just the baselayer and LS jersey keep me.




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  41. @Ron

    What about all the fat American dudes who wear a fleece vest year round to hide their cheeseburger lockers? It’s like…buddy, I can still tell you’re fat under that vest. And, it’s 20*C, why the vest?

    That’s classic… not heard that before. Damn I love a good cheeseburger. I never keep ’em stored in a locker though. Thank goodness for riding the wheels off of a handful of bikes. Cheers




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  42. @wilburrox

    @Ron

    What about all the fat American dudes who wear a fleece vest year round to hide their cheeseburger lockers? It’s like…buddy, I can still tell you’re fat under that vest. And, it’s 20*C, why the vest?

    That’s classic… not heard that before. Damn I love a good cheeseburger. I never keep ’em stored in a locker though. Thank goodness for riding the wheels off of a handful of bikes. Cheers

    In Wisconsin, they’re brat lockers.




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  43. Alfa.




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  44. @Ron

    Ha, I wish the T7 was shorter because the pockets are a bit low for my liking. Different folks, different torsos. I’m very careful about what I put in my pockets, but the T7s are a bit small. Plus, in winter and fall riding you always have extra warmers, gilets, etc.

    If you don’t have one, I suggest a merino wool baselayer. I picked up an Icebreaker t-shirt model last year and the thing is thin and comfortable but paired with a LS Castelli jersey and a gilet, I’m fine down to around 0*C. I used to wear heavier, bulkier jackets (have one Descente one, one Castelli) but never wear them anymore. It’s amazing how warm just the baselayer and LS jersey keep me.

    [ Ed McMahon voice ] “You are correct — sir!” I will ride all winter long with just a Merino wool or blend base layer and short sleeve jersey with warmers (preferred) and then may add the gilet on the right occasion. Vanity found me though at a weak moment and I couldn’t resist the TORM black base layer with white striping on the collar, sleeves, and bottom hem. Icebreaker is in the top 5 [ top V ] proven within my online research. I rotate Nalini, Rapha, Campa, Craft and recently adding to the rotation is SmartWool and Torm. I am a base layer zealot!




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  45. @wiscot

    @pistard

    @Nate

    That is all kinds of awesome. the best looking derny pilot in all Flanders; usually it’s some large older man, whose chief attribute is the ability to punch a bit hole in the wind.

    But some manage to bring a bit of style to the job:

    I think this pic belongs in the Michelin Man thread. A shirt and bow tie can’t hide those rolls o fat!

    A fucking bow tie!




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  46. @wiscot

    @Chris Myhill

    Note the car on the drive. I’m not sure what it is (Lancia?), but like everything else in the 70’s it’s as cool as fuck.

    Chris

    Looks like a Lancia – some sweet Italian stylin’ going on at the rear end. I’d date the picture to the late 60s as Merckx rode for Faema from 1968 to 1970 and de Vlaeminck for Mars Flandria in the late 60s too. Roger and Erik rode a lot of cyclo-cross in their days so mad skills on bike handling were currency of the realm for them. I heard it told that Roger could actually ride in the tram tracks commonly found in Belgium and hop out without crashing. That’s bike handling right there!

    In fact, both World Cyclo-Cross Champions; Eric was Pro World Champion 7 times (!) and Roger won both the amateur and pro titles.




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  47. @brett

    @Buck Rogers

    …Then there are the leeches. What is it that makes some people think that a bunch (I use the term loosely, as our group is never much more than 6 riders) passing them is an open invite to hop on the back, or worse, shove into the line? This happened to us yesterday, this fat hairy fuck thought it’d be a good idea to jump in as we passed him, forcing me out into traffic then having the gall to grumble at us when we forced him back out again…

    Late to comment, but — seriously: what about some (un)common politeness? I almost always ride solo, but if I come across a group or another rider, give a little distance. Hang on the back. Show that you know how to handle a bike and handle yourself in a pack and around other riders. Then ask if you can hang in.




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  48. @cognition

    Spot on… none of that on display at all. We’ve had other riders who’ve obeyed Rule #19 and have been welcomed into the fold. This guy just wanted to be an ass and shove his way in without a word or any sense of safe riding.




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  49. @Nate

    @Buck Rogers

    didn’t take long for this to pop up. it was my first thought after reading this article- Obi-Wan vs Darth. Although, I don’t think they were buddies outside of their lightsaber duels.




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  50. Close guys, very close…. but its a Fiat 124 Sport Coupe…. probably a ’69




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