We Were Young and Totally Rad

We Were Young and Totally Rad

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It's been an interesting week in the Velominati Archives of Awesomeness, after a freak discovery of boxes containing “photographs”. After conducting some research, we've come to understand that “photographs” are like pictures, except they are stored neither on the Geekbox nor on the Interwebs, but instead reside on a special kind of shiny paper that tastes funny.

It's a rough ride down memory lane, this, where I'm forced to reconcile what I remember of the past and what is shown in these photos.  Here I am, roulin' dirty in my Briko Shots and longish hair, on my beloved Schwinn Whateverthefuck. I don't look nearly as cool as I remember.

It was a completely old-school steel frame with a long wheelbase, borne from the fires of innovation ignited in Marin County. When I first became acquainted with it, it was a bit of a clumsy thing with its long wheel base and tall head tube, but I slapped a road stem on it (which I drilled out for a cable stop) for some good, low-shoulder stability, and a first-generation Rock-Shox. I surmise the frame was made of sand-filled tubes, yet the long wheelbase meant it climbed and descended like it was on fucking rails. Together, we rode some of the most technical singletrack imaginable. And, it being the early Nineties, I naturally knocked on a set of LeMond-inspired Scott AT-4's to get nice and low for a convenient alternative to suicide.

My Merckx, I loved that thing.

When we merge our past and present, we turn up all kinds of delightful conflicts; little bits from the past always turn up which don't fit into the puzzle quite how we remember them and force us to relive those brief moments. Number One Bike Shop Buddy, Saul from SpeedyReedy, sent me a few pictures of himself racing: one of him on his old favorite, a GT Avalanche, and one pushing it LeMond-style at his local State Road Race Championships. After sending me his old Campy downtube shifter, our own Gianni sent me a shot of his young self, riding the Bella which housed that selfsame shifter – taken, I'm guessing, only a few days after Humans invented the Wheel. These are the moments of La Vie Velominatus; Cycling is a lifelong endeavor.

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// Accessories and Gear // Technology // The Bikes // Tradition

  1. Mate, it’s the same for everyone. Thankfully no-one imported Briko Shots when I wanted a pair and I never had a saddlebag or other rule-breaking accruement, so perhaps some were cooler than others…I did have disgusting long hair for a year though

  2. The photos are beautiful!

  3. Are those first couple of shots in Teddy Roosevelt N.P.? Nice place.

  4. wow…

    Pic’s are always a bit scary, as you mentioned, a bumpy road down memory lane. Even w/all the right goods of the day, years later, we can look back and scratch our heads wondering what in the world were we thinking. Mine was a Peugot steel clad ride. I have to admit, I was young in college, stupid and only going for the look of the bike, and the Peugot had it. The bike shop owner warned me much like my buddies before loading up that chick, because as we know, the ride may be ugly and regretable days later. Throw in a good dose of ignorance and the ride was painful, maintaining it was non-existant and I started looking at my buddies around me and learning.

    Back to the photo’s, I will say, there are some timelessness to the shots. I note the stems, the steel geometries, the bars, the clips, and the are all right and just as good today as they were originally, and that says alot! When its right, its right.

  5. Great photos!

    I was actually looking at a college kid the other day and thought to myself, “Wow, she is going to be pissed when she sees a photo of herself in a few years and realizes she used to go out in public dressed like that.”

    Interesting coincidence with finding old photos – I’m at my parents house for a holiday visit and going through some old photos, journals, and stuff, trying to organize and purge my storage.

    And that Giordana jersey Gianni is wearing is awesome. I’d wear that all the time.

  6. @Ron
    A sister bought me that jersey, some knowing LBS worker must have steered her right. I still wear it. That is my locally made Bella, with matching silca pump, campy head. This photo must be about 1983. No clip in pedals yet as I bought the first generation white Look pedals as soon as I could. Toe clips sucked. But check out the shoes, pure Italian love, Marressi, the best shoes I’ve ever owned.

    No helmet either, I was working the Eric Vanderaerden look, without the perm and ability.

  7. I realize that these image can be found elsewhere on this site but I believe they are the very definition of “young and totally rad”.

    The only caveat might be the unshorn guns and the folded down tube socks with the 7-ll kit but come on, death metal hair (no mullets hiding under that helmet), hot pink leathers, Campy track hubs, bombing the big dubs at 50kph. Rad to the nth degree. I was definitely the shizzle.

  8. I must say I love these old photos. My old man was a serious bushwalker and some of the photos and films (silent) that they took in their youth are just awesome. My appreciation of them may however have something to do with not being around to witness the fashion in person, and be embarrassed by it.

    Note: Long time reader, first time poster.

  9. Is the potato man from Idaho?

  10. @The Potato Man
    Welcome aboard. Nice nom de plume. Bodes well for your avatar.

  11. @Cyclops
    I know the Velominati have been over this picture before, but there is just too much awesomeness in your 7-11 photo: The Playboy bunny at 1 o’clock to the baby bottle; the Sidi shoes with the tube socks; Winnie the Pooh in a sailor hat; the other Playboy bunny at 12 o’clock to the Christmas bear; two possible Betamax sitings–on the TV and again in the mirror’s reflection; and a TV with knobs! Yeah, get the fuck up off the couch and change the channel! I miss the 80’s.

  12. I knew I’d seen Gianni somewhere before…

  13. @Cyclops
    Those gloves are rad. Remind me of my first pair of euro-bright lycra-backed gloves, which I had forgotten about until just now.

  14. @Marko

    Are those first couple of shots in Teddy Roosevelt N.P.? Nice place

    No, that’s in Ketchum, ID, one of my favorite places to ride. Back in ’94, we discovered it, and fell in love; trails graded and built specifically for mountain bikes – until then, we’d always ridden on old motocross trails for good, technical singletrack. Climbing on these trails with perfect hairpin turns was heaven.

    We still go out there to this day.

    @Cyclops
    I don’t think it’s possible to post those pictures too often.

  15. @Jeff in PetroMetro

    A TV with knobs! Yeah, get the fuck up off the couch and change the channel! I miss the 80″²s.

    We had a remote with a cable connected to the TV. It was chaos. Someone would get confused about if they had to get up to change channels or not. Then someone would trip and put their head through the TV and we’d have to start all over.

    That TV of ours had a fucking Oak case. Our current TV is about an inch thick and replaced what feels like an entire wall with “A Sunday in Hell”.

  16. @Brett
    I just puked in my mount a little bit. Not much, but a little bit.

  17. Cyclops:
    Is the potato man from Idaho?

    Negative, the Potato Man is from that Badass country on the upside down part of the world (as opposed to that sissy one across the ditch).

  18. Great old pics. We all look a little less cool then we thought.

    May I embarrass myself with this fine example from 1984. My new Miyata Ridge Runner, an actual mountain bike if you will – kinda rare back then. My riding “kit” consisted of OP shorts, tube socks, Nike sneakers, Campy long sleeved t-shirt, and official string back bike gloves. Helmets? Sorry, too early for that.

    Even so, still had much fun back then, as now – maybe even more so. Mountain biking was all new and minty fresh.

  19. @The Potato Man

    Potato Man is from that Badass country

    Point taken, but none of that explains Rove.

  20. @Dan O

    Dude! OP shorts and tube socks with a fucking Campy long sleeved t-shirt. Did the chicks even know how subliminally cool you were? I bet you got laid right after the picture was taken, huh?

  21. @Dan O
    I think Cyclops is on to something.

    But, Dan O, I sense a history far more sinister. I see fear fused with excitement. Someone pursues you.

    No, no. It’s more than just one person. It’s a group. A hoard. You ride to escape. Who are they? And what do they want from you?

    Ah. The Past speaks to me. You are chased by a band of bikini-clad Velomihotties whose collective desire is to enslave you and satiate their voracious sexual appetites. Oh, and they ride matching Ritchey Palo Altos.

    Such is the magnetic power of OP shorts with matching tube socks.

    So who won?

    BTW, I like how you matched your bidon with your kit. Quite sharp.

  22. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Horde. I meant to type horde. Not like a hoard of gold, but like a mongrel horde. No, no. Not mongrels. This was a scorchingly hot horde.

    And Cyclops is ONTO something.

    And what’s with my use of “matching” and “matched” so many times and so close together? Can’t I come up with a better word? How about “color-coordinated”?

    Oh, fuck it.

  23. @Dan O
    This pic is most excellent.

  24. @Dan O

    Even so, still had much fun back then, as now – maybe even more so. Mountain biking was all new and minty fresh.

    Incredibly rad picture. That was a really cool time; I got into it just a little after that, but it was really cool to be at the sharp end of the stick, trying to figure out how to ride things not many people had ever done before.

    You had people like Jacquie Phelan riding the shit out of all these men who thought they had the sport figured out. So cool.

    The Charlie Cunningham bike she rode – Otto – was a pretty freaky contraption:

  25. @Cyclops and Jeff
    Even with the allure of OP shorts and tube socks, no chasing group of bikini clad women to be found – on foot or classic Ritchey mountain bikes. However, my girlfriend – who later become my wife – took the photo. Maybe it did have something to do with the OP shorts and tube socks after all.

    Yes, I did try and match the kit at the time. Tube sock color bands match the bike, t-shirt, and water bottle. The gloves also match the shorts. Pretty damn sad, though kinda cool also.

    @Frank
    Phelan was awesome – welcome to old school mountain bike freak town – as was that Cunningham bike she rode. Bicycle Quarterly magazine did a great write on that bike and interview with Phelan and Cunningham about a year ago. Super cool interesting and talented folks – totally out of the mainstream. I dig it.

  26. Dan O:
    @Cyclops However, my girlfriend – who later become my wife – took the photo. Maybe it did have something to do with the OP shorts and tube socks after all.

    So then you DID get laid right after the picture was taken. I knew it.

  27. @Dan O
    Really? No bikini clad horde deftly handling Ritcheys? Hmmmm.

    Ouch. My bad. I thought I had a psychic moment. (That’s embarrassing. I’ve got to stop drinking Chimay for breakfast.)

  28. @frank
    Frank. Look more closely. The “men” with Jacquie aren’t men. Well, not then. One or two of them might be by now.

  29. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Right you are. Although the dudette mid-crash may be riding the same Schwinn I’m riding in the main pic of the article. Coincidence?

  30. CJ:
    @The Potato Man

    Potato Man is from that Badass country

    Point taken, but none of that explains Rove.

    Nothing can explain Rove

  31. @frank
    The very exact same bike? Like the same bike. Hmmmm.

  32. Cindy Whitehead is stacking in the first turn, and Hannah North has the skid lid, and the awesome Chris culver is chasing, along with “Polly Preaux”(peggy herzog)l. I have some nice shots where I’m beating all the men, if you want…jacquiephelan.com is my blog by the way…

  33. Cindy Whitehead is stacking in the first turn, and Hannah North has the skid lid, and the awesome Chris culver is chasing, along with “Polly Preaux”(peggy herzog)l. I have some nice shots where I’m beating all the men, if you want…jacquiephelan.com is my blog by the way… PS that is the 1985 National Championships, being contested in Santa Barbara somewhere….not the rainy horrible race of 1983, but the nice overcast one…I forget which guy won..oh, wait. Joe Murray.

  34. @jacquie phelan
    Hail to thee, Alice B!

    You rocked the Bell V1 Pro. That was, by far, the best looking racing helmet of ’85-’86. Skid Lid? Ewwww. Brain bucket.

    Cindy Whitehead. Any relation to Mark Whitehead (ex-Mr. Rebecca Twigg)?

    I speculate that Tomac and Yeti stole the whole drop-bars-on-mountain-bike design from you. I hope they wrote you a check.

    Should some freakish disturbance in the Universe fling you toward the hole that is Houston, I would be honored to share a cup of tea and a bike ride (mountain or road–your choice) with you.

    Happy Trails!

  35. @Jeff in PetroMetro
    Jeff
    I need a shop to ‘need’ me…In the mid-nineties i did two year’s worth of weekend clinics in Houston–made actual money, had actual Other Person (Lance Smith, thank you very much, dude!) orgnizing it. I just sailed in, taught, and met folks,and kept a nice check. If the universe re-aligns (Enron disaster ruint my annual visits) I would happily be back…

  36. @jacquie phelan
    Hmmm. Intriguing. Enron was so 90’s. The PetroMetro is economically rocking along these days. $100 per barrel oil does that here. I’ll check ’round to see what the market might be for a mountain bike clinic and high tea. It might be a Spring or Fall thing as it tends to get a tad hot from mid-April until October. But I won’t know until I ask.

    Me gots ur email address @batnet. I’ll be in touch within a couple of weeks.

    Muchas Gracias.

  37. @frank

    @Dan O

    Even so, still had much fun back then, as now – maybe even more so. Mountain biking was all new and minty fresh.

    Incredibly rad picture. That was a really cool time; I got into it just a little after that, but it was really cool to be at the sharp end of the stick, trying to figure out how to ride things not many people had ever done before.
    You had people like Jacquie Phelan riding the shit out of all these men who thought they had the sport figured out. So cool.


    The Charlie Cunningham bike she rode – Otto – was a pretty freaky contraption:

    Freaky contraption?
    No Frank, that is a beautiful thing.
    For a bike nearly on 20 years old I sit here gobsmacked at how right the proportions look to me.
    I love the Charlie Cunningham frame that looks as good if not better than most modern mountain bike frames.
    I also like the cyclocross bar end shifters and the placement of the rear brake.
    I remember reading about Jacquie back then. Awesome that she has graced us with her presence.

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