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Anatomy Of A Photo: The Gents Of Wevelgem

Anatomy Of A Photo: The Gents Of Wevelgem

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If you ever doubted for a minute that the hardmen of yore drafted the blueprint for The Rules, you need only look at these fine examples to be reminded that no matter how limited the resources they had to work with, they still managed to do a better job of Looking Fantastic than we ever could.

It matters not to them that having pockets in the front of the jersey gave the impression of gynecomastia, their aching backs ably supported by crude inner-tube mansierres. They didn’t care that their cycling caps were actually just handkerchiefs tied at the corners, or that the bulging gusset in their shorts needed to be covered up at all times when off the bike by a strategically placed hand. It meant they got to fraternise with the likes of Wevelgem Mayor Wally de Schmoi, infamous for his love of wine, women and tucking his tie into his pants.

That’s just the way they rolled back then. And if you think they gave a fuck, well, think again. They were too busy laying waste to fools like us to even consider rolling their socks back up.

// Anatomy of a Photo // Awesome Belgian Guys // Breaking The Rules // Look Pro // The Hardmen

  1. @Nate

    Dude in the Roche whatever jersey with the misplaced sense of modesty looks like he’s about ready to rampage.

    He’s not being modest – he’s in the middle of an anecdote about how he told that sorry-ass bitch Tullio Campagnolo he don’t need no motherfuckin QR skewers cause his cock was so damned hard, last week he put a wheel on it to win Paris-Roubaix and then balled three podium hos and their sisters.

  2. On the right of the picture in the “Direct” jersey is Hugh Janus the (in)famous British cobble specialist. He’s doing the impression of a pair of scissors that allowed him to eke out a living on the variety circuit after his road racing career was cut short by the Flemish mafia for suggesting that Don “Crazy Trousers” de Schmoi give up on the blind Corsican tailor that he’d been frequenting in memory of his mother and buy something that actually fitted him in the local C&A store.

  3. Great photo. We British doctors are no longer permitted to wear ties at work but when I was a junior, it used to be common to see older physicians arrive on the ward with not only ties but also stethoscopes tucked into their trousers (and presumably their underpants). At least no-one complained about it being cold…

    I was just reading about the rigors of racing in wool garments in an interview with Stan Brittain – a local rider who rode the  Tour in the 50’s. I think I posted a link to this free digital magazine before but there’s a new issue now – edited by a clubmate of mine, there are some cracking photos:

    http://www.spincyclemag.com/

  4. @the Engine

    @TBONE

    ‘Mayor Wally de Schmoi, infamous for his love of wine, women and tucking his tie into his pants.’

    should read:

    ‘Mayor Wally de Schmoi, infamous for his love of wine, women, and tucking his tie into his pants.’

    Oxford comma for the win!

    In British English the Oxford Comma is only used to avoid ambiguity so the original version is the way to rock the punctuation on this side of the pond

    Speaking of rock the punctuation – the Oxford Comma in question, here’s a little sing-a-long by Vampire Weekend

    To the original ‘article’, the ‘gents’ above back then were the ‘pro’ benchmark at ‘looking fantastic’. (Did I just overuse the comma? Not sure to use ” or ‘. Prefer ‘ it’s neater.)

    As a juvenile kid in the club, I was handed down a woolen , yellow jersey with two button up pockets on the front. Geez I was looking fantastic waay back in the early eighties!

  5. @heinous

    We British doctors are no longer permitted to wear ties at work…

    Is that some sort of loony H&S directive from Brussels or PC bullshit brought in during the Blair/Brown years to stop you looking like a well educated professional and help you fit in with the proles?

  6. @Chris

    @heinous

    We British doctors are no longer permitted to wear ties at work…

    Is that some sort of loony H&S directive from Brussels or PC bullshit brought in during the Blair/Brown years to stop you looking like a well educated professional and help you fit in with the proles?

    Not – it was just that they decided that growing penicillin on one’s neck wear probably wasn’t the best idea they’d ever had. I believe some have even been persuaded that they should wash their hands.

  7. @Chris Spot on. Ostensibly in the name of “Infection Control”, the ties went out with the white coats and all without a shred of  evidence to support the strategy. The only ones wearing (shiny) suits and ties now are the hospital managers. I can’t say too much more or I’ll be packed off to the gulag…

  8. @the Engine I’d always been led to believe that a certain level of exposure to nasties was a good thing for our immune systems. Kids that play outside in the mud generally being healthier than those who are kept inside by nervous mums that ate constantly wiping down any available surface with a disposable detol wipe.

    That’s certainly been the explanation Mrs Chris uses for the state of the inside of her car.

  9. @heinous from what they were saying on the radio this morning you want to threaten to shout very loudly about it. There’ll soon be someone round from the trust with a suitcase full of cash and a confidentiality agreement.

    It’s a win/win scenario, you get a hundred grand or so to fund a summer following the racing in Europe and when you spent it and go looking for a new job, they can’t say you were rubbish.

  10. @Chris

    @the Engine I’d always been led to believe that a certain level of exposure to nasties was a good thing for our immune systems. Kids that play outside in the mud generally being healthier than those who are kept inside by nervous mums that ate constantly wiping down any available surface with a disposable detol wipe.

    That’s certainly been the explanation Mrs Chris uses for the state of the inside of her car.

    Although if you’re in your 90’s and have a large hole in your abdomen you might not be quite so keen to take your chances.

    The inside of my car with muddy bike bits, sweaty kit and the debris of transporting #1 child on her international sporting career, would, if sampled properly, have more unknown bugs in it that any given square kilometre of rain forest.

  11. @the Engine

    @Chris

    @the Engine I’d always been led to believe that a certain level of exposure to nasties was a good thing for our immune systems. Kids that play outside in the mud generally being healthier than those who are kept inside by nervous mums that ate constantly wiping down any available surface with a disposable detol wipe.

    That’s certainly been the explanation Mrs Chris uses for the state of the inside of her car.

    Although if you’re in your 90″²s and have a large hole in your abdomen you might not be quite so keen to take your chances.

    The inside of my car with muddy bike bits, sweaty kit and the debris of transporting #1 child on her international sporting career, would, if sampled properly, have more unknown bugs in it that any given square kilometre of rain forest.

    Bunkum!  The principles of combat medicine insist on mud to help fill the holes (or sphagnum moss if available) and the use of leaf cutter ants to suture the wound !  Rule #5!

  12. Fuck Me!  It’s 12 degrees C outside, this means a ride sans arm or leg warmers and short gloves…Spring is temporarily here!

  13. @Deakus

    Fuck Me! It’s 12 degrees C outside, this means a ride sans arm or leg warmers and short gloves…Spring is temporarily here!

    Hope you’ve done your guns

  14. @ChrisO

    @Nate

    Dude in the Roche whatever jersey with the misplaced sense of modesty looks like he’s about ready to rampage.

    He’s not being modest – he’s in the middle of an anecdote about how he told that sorry-ass bitch Tullio Campagnolo he don’t need no motherfuckin QR skewers cause his cock was so damned hard, last week he put a wheel on it to win Paris-Roubaix and then balled three podium hos and their sisters.

    Wow, that is the type of thing not normally seen ’round these parts. But, I think you’re onto something,  Chris!

  15. @Daccordi Rider

    I’m not sure it’s that the tie is long, just that those are fucking high pants.

    This pic was taken back in the day when men’s trousers had a waist band and were actually was worn around the waist. Not hip band or barely-hanging-onto-your arse band, but a waist band with braces (suspenders) Mayor Wally was secure. The man is deliberately smart.

  16. @wiscot

    @Daccordi Rider

    I’m not sure it’s that the tie is long, just that those are fucking high pants.

    This pic was taken back in the day when men’s trousers had a waist band and were actually was worn around the waist. Not hip band or barely-hanging-onto-your arse band, but a waist band with braces (suspenders) Mayor Wally was secure. The man is deliberately smart.

    Not to mention that trousers like that have rather voluminous pockets that allow for a reasonable amount of movement. Hence the gritted teeth and sly grin of a man lost in the moment.

    M. Roche has just noticed and is pointing it out to M. Direct. The flat capped flunky has noticed that they’ve noticed and is frantically working out how to effect the cover up.

  17. @wiscot

    @Daccordi Rider

    I’m not sure it’s that the tie is long, just that those are fucking high pants.

    This pic was taken back in the day when men’s trousers had a waist band and were actually was worn around the waist. Not hip band or barely-hanging-onto-your arse band, but a waist band with braces (suspenders) Mayor Wally was secure. The man is deliberately smart.

    wiscot…I think you are supposed to yell, “You kids get off my lawn!” now…

  18. @Chris

    @wiscot

    @Daccordi Rider

    I’m not sure it’s that the tie is long, just that those are fucking high pants.

    This pic was taken back in the day when men’s trousers had a waist band and were actually was worn around the waist. Not hip band or barely-hanging-onto-your arse band, but a waist band with braces (suspenders) Mayor Wally was secure. The man is deliberately smart.

    Not to mention that trousers like that have rather voluminous pockets that allow for a reasonable amount of movement. Hence the gritted teeth and sly grin of a man lost in the moment.

    M. Roche has just noticed and is pointing it out to M. Direct. The flat capped flunky has noticed that they’ve noticed and is frantically working out how to effect the cover up.

    These men have just seem the recently posted Kylie Minogue Agent Provocateur video. Mayor Wally is confident he can watch it in comfort, unlike the rider to his right. Oo-err missus indeed.

  19. Though twelve months always seems to go quickly, I forget what it’s like trying to shake off the winter excess & get going with the spring riding. I’m also actually doing a lot of work this year, instead of riding my bike so far & fast that I am too tired to remember all that I have to finish up.

    Anyone else experiencing the doldrums of a long winter? I’m just not that excited about pedaling these days & I’m not exactly sure why. Seems more like a chore than a blast.

  20. @Ron Maybe time to shake up the routine?  I was off the training completely for 2 months thanks to a hockey injury followed by a bout of Norwalk.  Found it a little tough to get back into until I signed up for a Fondo and got involved with a charity ride.  I am matching money for mileage and now I am training like a mad man as I already owe 600 km’s in training mileage.  It has given me more of a purpose to ride the trainer till I can get back outside.

  21. Those are some big honking tires they are riding in that photo… If I had to guess I say at least 28c and maybe in excess of 30.  Anyone have any idea what the actual tire widths were back in the day of this photo?

    Separately, I really like this photo because it reminds me of cycling’s blue collar, hard man roots.  The sport today (at least the Grand Tours) is frequently dominated by bulimic looking prima donnas who weigh about 140lbs soaking wet and have the fragile egos of a 13 year old girl (Schleck).  The gents in this photo look like they could be boxers or equally at home in a bar fight as they were in a group sprint.  My kind of riders…

  22. @Dr C

    The Smurfs are Belgian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smurfs

  23. Love the beautiful white shirt of the Mayor…

  24. Oh, that’s not the Sartorialist!

  25. @Pedale.Forchetta

    Love the beautiful white shirt of the Mayor…

    Yes, a clean shirt is important. My great-grandfather Giuseppe Musca always wore a crisp, clean white shirt tucked neatly into his pants, which sat around the full diameter of his ample belly, which was about two and a half feet off the floor. No one could quite say why, but the women adored him. Maybe it was the shirt.

    Roche has some meat on his arms.

  26. Schmoi has a proper fuckin’ hat there. No person I know, or have met, could were that that well. Douchebag Portland hipsters try, but then, they’re douchebags. From Portland. Awesome shot. 

    @the Engine

    @Chris

    @heinous

    We British doctors are no longer permitted to wear ties at work…

    Is that some sort of loony H&S directive from Brussels or PC bullshit brought in during the Blair/Brown years to stop you looking like a well educated professional and help you fit in with the proles?

    Not – it was just that they decided that growing penicillin on one’s neck wear probably wasn’t the best idea they’d ever had. I believe some have even been persuaded that they should wash their hands.

    I’ve worked in medicine for almost 23 years now, the last 10 in the OR. I wash my hands so much I’m convinced they’re totally sterile. But then at home, I have 2 small dogs, 4 chickens, random cats, and a 6 y/o. And we garden. Probably growing the next super strain of ebola over here.

  27. @ChrisO

    @Nate

    Dude in the Roche whatever jersey with the misplaced sense of modesty looks like he’s about ready to rampage.

    He’s not being modest – he’s in the middle of an anecdote about how he told that sorry-ass bitch Tullio Campagnolo he don’t need no motherfuckin QR skewers cause his cock was so damned hard, last week he put a wheel on it to win Paris-Roubaix and then balled three podium hos and their sisters.

    Strong work, much appreciated here.  You other pom gits talking about infections need to Stay On Target.

    @Deakus

    Fuck Me! It’s 12 degrees C outside, this means a ride sans arm or leg warmers and short gloves…Spring is temporarily here!

    You are complaining of gout (you’re in that crowd right? ) but the real problem is at 12 c your knees should still be covered.

    @Anjin-san This is why the classics fucking rock.

  28. @Touriste-Routier

    @Dr C

    The Smurfs are Belgian: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Smurfs

    In that case, they are as hard as f..k

  29. @scaler911

    Schmoi has a proper fuckin’ hat there. No person I know, or have met, could were that that well. Douchebag Portland hipsters try, but then, they’re douchebags. From Portland. Awesome shot.

    @the Engine

    @Chris

    @heinous

    We British doctors are no longer permitted to wear ties at work…

    Is that some sort of loony H&S directive from Brussels or PC bullshit brought in during the Blair/Brown years to stop you looking like a well educated professional and help you fit in with the proles?

    Not – it was just that they decided that growing penicillin on one’s neck wear probably wasn’t the best idea they’d ever had. I believe some have even been persuaded that they should wash their hands.

    I’ve worked in medicine for almost 23 years now, the last 10 in the OR. I wash my hands so much I’m convinced they’re totally sterile. But then at home, I have 2 small dogs, 4 chickens, random cats, and a 6 y/o. And we garden. Probably growing the next super strain of ebola over here.

    Much like this site – full of culture(s) that few appreciate

  30. @Nate If we can’t go out sans leg warmers when it’s that hot, we’re never gong to get to do it.

    Normal service has been resumed, it was 3 this morning.

    Told my wife I was going to get up at 5ish this morning to go for a ride. She laughed and pointed out that I say that quite often but rarely do. When the alarm went off, I got an elbow in the ribs and was told:

    “all that money you’ve spent on the Keepers Tour is a waste, you’ll be the fat one at the back. Come to think of it all that money you spend on cycling is a waste…”

    At that point I thought “fuck this, I can’t listen to this for another hour.” Fifteen minutes later, I rolled out the door and had a great ride.

  31. @Chris

    @Nate If we can’t go out sans leg warmers when it’s that hot, we’re never gong to get to do it.

    Normal service has been resumed, it was 3 this morning.

    Told my wife I was going to get up at 5ish this morning to go for a ride. She laughed and pointed out that I say that quite often but rarely do. When the alarm went off, I got an elbow in the ribs and was told:

    “all that money you’ve spent on the Keepers Tour is a waste, you’ll be the fat one at the back. Come to think of it all that money you spend on cycling is a waste…”

    At that point I thought “fuck this, I can’t listen to this for another hour.” Fifteen minutes later, I rolled out the door and had a great ride.

    I hate myself when I don’t execute ‘the’ early morning ride, even worse when the VMH asks, ” how was your ride this morning?” lying next to her in bed.

    Some days you just won’t to Forrest Gump it and ride across the country!

  32. @sthilzy

    Some days you just won’t to Forrest Gump it and ride across the country!

    Or hop in the car, nip through the tunnel, leave the car in a car park in Calais and head south west until you hit the ocean with a view of Africa.

  33. @The Engine Very witty Wilde…

    @Scaler911 You haven’t met me but I rock those hats. In my Borsalino, with Persols and a tailored Prince of Wales check…  I’m just waiting for Eva Marie Saint to invite me into her sleeper cabin.

    @Chris Was this expressed in so many words, or are you translating the spirit of her 5am mutterings. If she actually said that at 5am you’re in deep, deep shit.

  34. @ChrisO That was it pretty much word for word.

    To give it a bit more context the alarm on her phone had gone off at 4.30am – she’d been in India last week and it was set at such an ungodly hour to wake her up for the flight home. it’s a work phone that she usually leaves in the car. Anyway, she was still awake when my alarm went off and didn’t want me hitting snooze a couple of times while I failed to summon up enough V to VVake up and get going.

    Scary but it worked. I might have to put the alarm on her side of the bed for tomorrow morning.

  35. @heinous

    Great photo. We British doctors are no longer permitted to wear ties at work but when I was a junior, it used to be common to see older physicians arrive on the ward with not only ties but also stethoscopes tucked into their trousers (and presumably their underpants). At least no-one complained about it being cold…

    I was just reading about the rigors of racing in wool garments in an interview with Stan Brittain – a local rider who rode the Tour in the 50″²s. I think I posted a link to this free digital magazine before but there’s a new issue now – edited by a clubmate of mine, there are some cracking photos:

    my chemistry teacher, a bulbous fat Northerner, used to stick his tie down pants, maybe to distract us from his massive beer gut. In fact he looked like Schmoi without the hat. BTW the first issue of Spincycle had a tasty piece on wheelbuilding, the second issue is so-so.

    @scaler911 You’ve made a basic mistake it’s not just Portland hipsters are douches; ALL hipsters are douchebags!

  36. @zalamanda

    my chemistry teacher, a bulbous fat Northerner, used to stick his tie down pants…

    Your chemistry teacher, the bulbous fat Northerner, whose pants did he stick his tie down?

  37. @zalamanda +1.

  38. @Chris VVaking up is a great description of what is required to get me out of a warm bed in the dark, but knowing there’s a ride waiting helps.

  39. @ChrisO

    @The Engine Very witty Wilde…

    @Scaler911 You haven’t met me but I rock those hats. In my Borsalino, with Persols and a tailored Prince of Wales check… I’m just waiting for Eva Marie Saint to invite me into her sleeper cabin.

    @Chris Was this expressed in so many words, or are you translating the spirit of her 5am mutterings. If she actually said that at 5am you’re in deep, deep shit.

    Someone should forward this pic to Johnathan Vaughters. It’ll show him how to look sharp – even with your tie being down your pants.

  40. @Chris Avoiding starting the day with a steady stream of gripes from the spouse is about as strong a motivator as I can imagine.

  41. @zalamanda I went to a Christian Brothers school. We tried not to show any interest in what might or might not be tucked into the teachers pants.

    I enjoyed the wheel-building piece too and I met the guy in question – Pete Matthews – last Sunday on the club run. Really nice bloke and still a classy rider.

  42. @Nate Made it out of the house this morning without Mrs Chris even noticing that I’d gone. That’s two days in a row.

    If I keep this up I’ll be awesome on the Keepers Tour (for a fat slow bloke).

  43. Something that I find interesting about this article (besides the awesomeness of the photo) are the comments from @brett. I think his comments are spot on about how previous generations of cyclists did the best with the resources they had, didn’t give a damn how they looked, etc. Here is what I find interesting about it though…. why do we look back at previous generations that didn’t look good or show well as heroes that “did it right’ while we ourselves spend a considerable amount of time on how we DO look on our bikes?

    Look at The Rules as an example. There are numerous rules about how to dress and how to appear on our bikes, right? When did we decide to care so much about appearance, apparel and color coordination? Maybe we WOULD be better off not caring about how we look or how we place on Strava? Maybe it’s time to consider getting back to basics and simply not giving a damn about anything other than the ride itself?

    Just food for thought from my ride into work today. Either way, I really like the article @brett!

    -Dinan

  44. @Dinan

    I’m pretty new here, but what hooked me on the site–aside from the ridiculously deep well of cycling knowledge–is the aesthetic of the community. Or, rather, the focus on aesthetics, on the pleasures of the “superficial.” It’s just a pleasure to appreciate the look of well-designed kit. And people here generally operate with a healthy sense of irony.

    In light of the current Vatican conclave, I will defer to Father Guido Sarducci:

    “My two favorite theologians are Thomas Aquinas and Oscar Wilde, you know? Oscar Wilde, he was a real character, he said some funny stuff, like ‘Only superficial people can’t be superficial.’ Thomas, he said something about the Holy Spirit revealing itself through bodily stuff, but I can’t remember how it went, exactly. It was pretty profound, though.”

  45. @PeakInTwoYears

    I will be honest, Peak, this site did the same thing for me on initial look. In fact, it was one of the big reasons I started frequenting this site (content excluded). I would be a liar and a hypocrite if I said I didn’t put effort into making sure my riding was aesthetically solid.

    Most of my efforts are put into the bike as far as staying with a certain look or color scheme. In fact, I would argue that I am almost anal about it. I’ve spent absurd amounts of money building this carbon rig to match perfectly. It’s almost shameful.

    The clothing choices I make for cycling? Meh. I match (mostly) I will say that. But for me it’s much more function over form. I wear what best suits me for current conditions not how I wish to appear to others. For the most part I do match but if I don’t, I generally don’t give it a second thought.

    As far as my comments in my previous post, I can see now that it would read like I was looking down my nose at riders who take appearance seriously. I honestly wasn’t thumbing my nose there. More like verbally pondering a cycling world that was purely about the bike at all costs. It’s at least interesting to think about, right? Either way, thanks for the comments, Peak. Great to hear from you!

    -Dinan

  46. @Dinan

    I certainly didn’t detect any nose-thumbing, just wanted to respond to what I agree is an interesting question–the whole business of depths and surfaces. I think Frank has articulated the relationship between Looking Fantastic and riding hard rather well (that is, Looking Fantastic is powerfully anesthetic and motivational). Hardness and vanity…the Tao of cycling.

    Somebody just praised the word sprezzatura–what a Fantastic word, coming as it does out of the Italian Renaissance literature of the courtier, describing the ability, for instance, to cut someone to pieces either literally or rhetorically with the highest degree of practiced skill and make it look as natural as breathing. Hardness and, if not vanity, a decent appearance of unconcern…

    At present, I’m a little too budgetatus to act out the full extent of my latent vanity. But send some more work my way and look out…

  47. @Dinan

    @PeakInTwoYears

    I wear what best suits me for current conditions not how I wish to appear to others. 

    There’s where you’re going wrong. It’s not about pleasing others, but yourself. If you want to look like a slob, on or off the bike, so be it. Would you get up on a cold winter’s morning and dress in track suit, ugh boots and a wooly hat with beagle ears and a pom pom on top because it ‘suits the conditions’, and then go to work or shopping or a cafe like that? Or would you wear pants, shirt, jacket and shoes and still be warm but not look like you’ve come straight from the audience of the Jeremy Kyle show?

  48. @brett

    @Dinan

    @PeakInTwoYears

    I wear what best suits me for current conditions not how I wish to appear to others.

    There’s where you’re going wrong. It’s not about pleasing others, but yourself. If you want to look like a slob, on or off the bike, so be it. Would you get up on a cold winter’s morning and dress in track suit, ugh boots and a wooly hat with beagle ears and a pom pom on top because it ‘suits the conditions’, and then go to work or shopping or a cafe like that? Or would you wear pants, shirt, jacket and shoes and still be warm but not look like you’ve come straight from the audience of the Jeremy Kyle show?

    Hah! Thanks for the visual there. No, I wouldn’t dress that way unless I lost a bet….

    I don’t think I’m “going wrong” however. That’s the great thing about cycling to me, it is what you make it. I enjoy the the bike and the ride itself and really don’t care about the clothing other than it’s function. For others that might be the exact opposite. Or maybe they’re equally important? Who am I to say?

    I’m pleased with how I appear on the bike even if I do look like a slob. Being happy on the bike is why I ride! :)

    -Dinan

  49. @PeakInTwoYears

    @Dinan

    “I certainly didn’t detect any nose-thumbing, just wanted to respond to what I agree is an interesting question-the whole business of depths and surfaces.”

    “Hardness and, if not vanity, a decent appearance of unconcern…”

    Depths and surfaces? A decent appearance of unconcern?

    That is some seriously good stuff there, Peak. I wish I could put that kind of eloquence to my words in discussions like this. Thanks for taking the time to contribute. Well said….

    -Dinan

  50. “…a decent appearance of unconcern” I stole from Patrick O’Brian. I love that phrase. It does so much work.

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