Anatomy of a Photo: Looking Fantastic

Roger de Leginck riding in a Flemish Mirror. Photo: CorVos/Pez

Steel Gazelles, check. Monster fork rake, check. Hairnets, check. North European monsoon, check. Flemish Mirror, check. Chain welded to the Big Ring, check. WTF Leggins affixed to Our Hero, check.

Roger de Vlaeminck does his part to remind us that while Looking Pro isn’t synonymous with Looking Fantastic, being a Level V Badass can make even the most jacked gear look the business.

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75 Replies to “Anatomy of a Photo: Looking Fantastic”

  1. Awesome photo, definitely Looking The Business.

    I can’t believe the size of the guns on the guy who isn’t Roger dV. His thighs are bigger than his waist. Damn powerful looking.

    And I know it was just how it was & you don’t know the difference if you’ve only ridden that way, but whenever I get on an older bike I can’t believe how far down the hoods are/were. It feels strange reaching that far. Makes the jacked up hoods some folks ride today seem crazy. I guess you held your hands & wrists in a different position.

  2. @RedRanger

    I’ll have to wait till I get home to look at the picture, the iPhone does not do it justice. But Roger DV has by far one of the coolest names in the sport, second to Merckx. I’ll see if I can hunt down a photo of them two talking.

  3. That looks like the picture they placed next to the definition of Rule #9..unless they decided to use this one…

  4. I agree frank, whereas we have deep seeded concerns about the shin guards worn by a legend, it is totally negated by his total obliteration of the elements by his sheer WILL.

    Note: the cap, bill up…casually deliberate, and this off-sets much of the concerns we share. Also note the diesel up front pulling like a frieghtliner…cap backward…not casual but because he is at work, yet as if he needs the aerodynamics, right…maybe it helps his ears as he pinned them back too??

    I love the attitude that permeates the photo. Neitehr give a damn that it is cold, wet and nasty. Put it in the 53t please, and knock the rear down to at least a 15t because he can and they are riding home fast.

  5. Marko’s obligatory nobody’s-position-on-a-bike-has-ever-or-will-ever-be-as-cool-as RdV’s post.

  6. @Marko

    Marko’s obligatory nobody’s-position-on-a-bike-has-ever-or-will-ever-be-as-cool-as RdV’s post.

    The position works for RdV as his femurs are Rockette worthy long, which explains the leggings from his night gig as a caberet dancer. It’s not even raining in the photo, the sobbing tears the fat kid on the front is producing for having been cut from the chorus line might help lose some water weight in addition to what that plastic sweat jacket is doing. All the while RdV is screaming that he can’t see around fatty’s ass to the echelon from which they’ve been dropped.

  7. @cutters79

    Lest we forget Roger’s smallest gear is probably 42-19!

    My ’92 Merckx with all ’92 circa gear has a straight block 11-18. I wonder what his actual gearing is? Looks larger than a 19 to me.

  8. What an amazing picture. You just have to love the way his wheels divide the water behind them.

  9. @Buck Rogers

    @cutters79

    Lest we forget Roger’s smallest gear is probably 42-19!

    My ’92 Merckx with all ’92 circa gear has a straight block 11-18. I wonder what his actual gearing is? Looks larger than a 19 to me.

    It looks like a 23, meaning if they are on a six-speed block, that’s what, a 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23? Ouch. Dudes had to know how to mash a gear on one end and spin like a bastard on the other.

  10. @Souleur
    Clearly RdV does give a damn that it’s cold, wet and nasty or he wouldn’t be wearing those stupid leg protectors. That’s 10 points off his style file he’ll never get back.

  11. never had heard of these prior to this post, yet here is one in the wilds of SE portland…of course it wasn’t defying gravity like this…

  12. @RedRanger

    One of my favorite photos:

    Merckx: “Remember that one time I borrowed a wrench from your team car? Yeah, I never gave that back. Sorry mate.”

  13. @mcsqueak
    It looks to me like the square at the start of RVV; Merckx is obviously saying, “When the Kapelmuur goes like this, I’m going to drop you like a oiled Jell-O.”

  14. @gaswepass


    never had heard of these prior to this post, yet here is one in the wilds of SE portland…of course it wasn’t defying gravity like this…

    My mom’s steel is a Gazelle. Dutch brand – very popular over there. Also makes a lot of commuter bikes. You don’t see many of them here, but they’re beautiful bikes. And as you can see, they are light enough that you have to anchor them down or they levitate.

  15. @frank

    @mcsqueak
    It looks to me like the square at the start of RVV; Merckx is obviously saying, “When the Kapelmuur goes like this, I’m going to drop you like a oiled Jell-O.”

    +1. That’s more or less what I always imagined when I look at that picture. one of my favorite photo’s for sure.

  16. @oli
    perhaps your right. my constant optimisim in looking back at our legends keeps begging me to give them tons of credit. Rdv is the only one i have ever seen wear that kinds shin guard.

    Was it a moment of weakness? did he ever go to the vatican and confess this? if so, it had to be momentary and a venial cause, cause he simply rocks it every other time.

  17. @frank
    Gazelle is the Dutch version of Raleigh or Bianchi – bikes from the very bottom of the range to the very top. The good Gazelles are very, very cool bicycles.

  18. @Oli

    @Souleur
    Clearly RdV does give a damn that it’s cold, wet and nasty or he wouldn’t be wearing those stupid leg protectors. That’s 10 points off his style file he’ll never get back.

    That’s like telling Warren Buffet he lost a c-note. Its not like those ten point make any difference to his VVorth. That aside, SERIOUSLY. What. The. Fuck. Are. Those. Things? And they had knee warmers and tights then. What did these offer that those couldn’t?

  19. @Souleur, @Oli
    And the moral of this story, kids, is that just being a Pro or dressing like the Pros is not enough. They are a good guide, but just because the Pros do it doesn’t mean it (a) Looks Fantastic or (b) is sensible. Always seek to find the V as it flows through your decision making.

  20. @frank

    The Prophet says: “I could still drop you anytime, you lanky Dutchman.”

    As to RdV is rocking, I’m guessing something that is water proof, but not breathable, hence the open backs? He didn’t need your fancy polyester and carbon fiber.

  21. @gaswepass


    never had heard of these prior to this post, yet here is one in the wilds of SE portland…of course it wasn’t defying gravity like this…

    Been into the “Holiday Ales” again?

  22. @RedRanger
    You’re right. I retract the training part. It looks too fitted to the shin to simply be a rain/warmth thing. But maybe it’s just a hard shell, which won’t absorb any water. I dunno.

  23. I’m currently riding the 50k round trip to work on an early 80s Gazelle Champion Mondiale, bought to protect bike number 1 from the winter commute. Still a fast and stiff ride aged almost 30, with 53/42 Campy Gran Sport up front, matching down tube shifters (more trouble than it’s worth to change down!) and classic drop Cinelli bars.

    Here it is at the top of Highgate Hill basking in its ability to hurt my knees!

  24. @RedRanger

    One of my favorite photos:

    This is the photo that is also on Bigringriding, right, with the awesome caption about how Merckx is Telling RDV exactly how he is going to f#$k him in the upcoming race? Love it.

  25. @frank

    @Buck Rogers

    @cutters79

    Lest we forget Roger’s smallest gear is probably 42-19!

    My ’92 Merckx with all ’92 circa gear has a straight block 11-18. I wonder what his actual gearing is? Looks larger than a 19 to me.

    It looks like a 23, meaning if they are on a six-speed block, that’s what, a 14, 15, 17, 19, 21, 23? Ouch. Dudes had to know how to mash a gear on one end and spin like a bastard on the other.

    Agree, looks bigger than 21 but definitely not a 25. One of the things I love about “The Rider” is the scene where he is selecting cogs for the upcoming race. I never did that. I had a few casettes that I would switch out, but never actual built up individual cogs for a race. Too cool.

  26. @Oli

    @Souleur
    Clearly RdV does give a damn that it’s cold, wet and nasty or he wouldn’t be wearing those stupid leg protectors. That’s 10 points off his style file he’ll never get back.

    Somewhere, I have another pic of RdV wearing those leg protectors. (I’m going nuts looking for it). They we’re a kind of semi-hard shell neoprene type thing with velcro straps around the legs. Given RdV’s exemplary hardness, I suspect it may have been a case of him getting serious bucks to wear them. (Kinda like Kelly wearing those really shitty Brancale helmets in the late 80s). I’ve never seen anyone else wear them, so I think it was a one-off with Roger. Maybe he got so much shit for wearing them he stopped doing it.

    These guys could get such great positions because the differential between saddle height and bar height was much less than commonly found today.

    I think Roger is thinking “whatever” to Eddy’s comment that as the road gets steep that his ass will be dropped.

  27. Eddy: hey rog, my dick goes this way, when you wear those ugly bastards, yours goes the other way, now ditch them things…you make us all look bad

  28. @wiscot

    @Oli

    I’ve never seen anyone else wear them, so I think it was a one-off with Roger. Maybe he got so much shit for wearing them he stopped doing it.

    I’m having serious trouble trying to picture what someone would end up looking like after they gave RDV shit about anything!

  29. @DerHoggz
    Hey DerHoggz, check out the Ontario Cogal and see if you’d be up for meeting us there for a Memorial Day Sufferfest

  30. @Oli

    @Buck RogersMonsieur De Vlaeminck, I wish to assure you that I said none of these things I’ve been unfairly credited with. Mercy, merci.

    De Vlaeminck is probably on a flight right now to your house to personally KICK YOUR ASS! :)

  31. Those leg protectors aren’t much more dorker that guys taping on that bright Green and Blue SpiderTech nonsense on their legs these days.

  32. @Chipomarc

    Those leg protectors aren’t much more dorker that guys taping on that bright Green and Blue SpiderTech nonsense on their legs these days.

    I was waiting for someone to comment on that one way or the other. I’m still on the fence, especially if they provide some muscular support, which improves performance. I mean, Frank has been known to rock the nose plaster, for chrissakes! Also just got a couple of the Spidertech thingies from their launch swag bag. Don’t see myself ever wearing them, mind…

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