Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Perfect Sunday Afternoon For A Ride 4/29/12

The top of Pilot Mountain as seen from Pinnacle Hotel Road.

I was a little late getting out on my bike today, so I just rode by myself. The sun was shining and the temperature was right around 80. Perch Road headed towards Pinnacle, NC has always been one of my favorite roads to ride on. There are a lot of other good roads in the area to ride on as well. It's been a long time since I had ridden on those roads, so that's where I headed.  I enjoyed seeing Pilot Mountain in the back ground during much of the ride.  I didn't ride up it today because I wanted to keep my speed up and not get bogged down on the climb. There was plenty of climbing on my ride anyway. The total ride distance was a little more than 62 miles. Today was just a great day to ride a bicycle. I hope everyone else got out and rode their bikes on this beautiful day!
Another view of Pilot Mountain from Pinnacle Hotel Road.
Riding on Pinnacle Hotel Road. Music: Sittin' Here Wonderin' by Luther Stoneham.

Looking across the countryside from Caudle Road,
On the way in I stopped at a pasture, on the edge of the Winston-Salem, NC city limits, that I've stopped at before. It has a nice mix of ponies, donkeys, lamas, sheep and goats. They were enjoying the fresh spring grass. They all came over to investigate me when I approached the fence. 
Grazing in the grass.

A donkey looking through the fence at me.
I'm not sure if this pony could see me or not.
A sheep looking through the fence.
They bored of me very quickly and went back to grazing in the grass.
 Back in 1969  Friends of Distinction sang a song about "Grazing in the Grass".

Do You Remember MAFAC Racer Brakes?

MAFAC or Manufacture Avernoise de Freins et Accessoires pour Cycles (Arveni Manufacturing Works for Bicycle Brakes and Accessories), was a French manufacturer of bicycle brakes and tool  kits. 
In 1952 the Racer center pull was introduced. These brakes were designed to clear fenders, front rack mounts, handlebar bags, and large tires. This made MAFAC brakes one of the most popular models from the 1950s through the 1970s. 
Anquetil raced on MAFAC Brakes!

The MAFAC center-pull brakes were solid brakes and inexpensive which led to them being specified on everything from inexpensive to competition level bikes. Economic pressures and strong competition from Japan led to the company's disappearance in the late 1980s.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Wednesday Night Riders From CG Hill Memorial Park 4/25/12

It was Duncan's Birthday!

 What a wonderful evening for riding a bicycle! The temperature was approximately 70 degrees and no noticeable wind when we started riding. Everyone rode well and had a great time. Another great cycling adventure!

The group going up the one big hill on "Julie's Loop"

Megan and Timmy with Megan's New Trek Madone 5.5

60° North - A British Adventure

Simplex Advertisement 1974

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Honore Barthelemy

Honore Barthelemy

Honore Barthelemy (1890 – 1964) was a French road racer who took part and finished fifth overall and won four stages in the 1919 Tour de France. He was born in Paris, France.
   In 1920, says the Yellow Jersey Guide to the Tour de France, he crashed on the stage to Aix-en-Provence and only slowly got back on his bike, dazed and bloody. He could not bend his back and had to turn his handlebars upside down to be able to continue. As his dizziness lessened, he realised that what he thought was concussion was blindness. A flint had gone into an eye.
    Despite that, he finished not only that day but the Tour, coming in eighth despite half-blindness, a broken shoulder and a dislocated wrist. He was carried in triumph at the finish. Nor did he stop racing when he was fitted with a glass eye. Dusty roads made it uncomfortable and he often took it out. The socket would then become infected and he would plug it with cotton.
    "It makes no difference to my sight but it's more comfortable," he said. The glass eye often fell out and in 1924 he had to get down on his knees on the finish line to see where it had gone. He grumbled that he spent more on replacement eyes than he earned in prizes.
    At the 1921 Tour de France, he finished third overall and won stage 12. He last rode the Tour de France in 1927, abandoning on stage 9.
    He won the marathon Bol d'Or track race two times in 1925 and 1927.

Monday, April 23, 2012

'New Bicycle' 1950s cartoon advert

1914 Tour de France

1914 Tour de France Route

The 1914 Tour de France was the 12th Tour de France, taking place from June 28th to July 26th. The race 5,405 kilometers (3,359 miles) was started by 147 riders and the average speed was  26.835 kph (16.67 mph). There were a total of 15 stages. Seven racers that started the Tour were previous Tour de France winners; Philippe Thys, Louis Trousselier, Lucien Petit-Breton, Octave Lapize, Francois Faber, Odile Defraye and Gustave Garrigou. The only notable change to the Tour protocol was the addition of race numbers being attached to the rider's bikes. The cyclists used whistles, to warn people they were coming. (mainly on downhills)
 The 1914 Tour de France Field. 

The day the 1914 Tour de France started, June 28, was the same day that Serbian secret agent Gavrilo Pincip assassinated Austo-Hungary's Archduke Ferdinand. This event started the tragic series of ultimatums between the powers of Europe and brought about the beginning of World War I. The 1914 Tour ended on July 26. On August 3, Germany declared war on France and invaded Belgium. The Tour de France would not be held for the next five years.
You look closely to see the 1914 Tour de France riders in the picture above.

The 2 favorites were the previous years Tour winner Phillipe Thys and his teammate, the talented but volatile Henri Pelissier. Thys was dominant the entire race. Even though his only stage win was the first stage, he finished in the top five in every other stage.
Thys crests the Galibier. Henri Pélissier went over first.

After thirteen stages Pelissier was in second place 31 minutes and 50 seconds behind Thys. In the 14th stage to Dunkerque, Thys' had a mechanical breakdown. Receiving any help while fixing your bicycle was not allowed, and in the 1913 Tour de France, Eugene Christophe lost too much time and ultimately his chances of a victory by repairing his own bicycle. Thys decided to take the risk of a time penalty, and bought a new wheel at a shop. This cost him a 30 minute penalty, which left Thys only 1 minute and 50 seconds ahead of Pelissier. Pelissier did his best to overcome the time difference, but Thys followed him. In the end, Thys stayed less than two minutes ahead of Henri Pelissier, and managed to keep that margin until the finish in Paris.

Final 1914 Tour de France General Classification:

1. Philippe Thys (Peugeot) 200 hours 28 minutes 48 seconds
2. Henri Pelissier (Peugeot) @ 1 minute 50 seconds
3. Jean Alavoine (Peugeot) @ 36 minutes 53 seconds
4. Jean Rossius (Alcyon) @ 1 hour 57 minutes 5 seconds
5. Gustave Garrigou (Peugeot) @ 3 hours 21 seconds

Peugeot took 4 of the top 5 places.

Phillipe Thys; winner of the 1914 Tour de France
Click here to learn more about Phillipe Thys.

Henri Pelissier; finished second in the 1914 Tour de France.
Click here to learn more about Henri Pelissier.

Jean Alavoine; finished third in the 1914 Tour de France.
Click here to learn more about Jean Alavoine.

Jean Rossius; finished fourth in the 1914 Tour de France.
Click here to learn more about Jean Rossius.

Gustave Garrigou; finished fifth in the 1914 Tour de France.
Click here to learn more about Gustave Garrigou.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

My Bicycle

Bob's Bike Shop

by Kent Peterson

Steve rolls up, five minutes before closing time with a seriously tweaked wheel and a sob story about a race tomorrow. I try to put him off, but when he offers to buy us all burritos, Tess and the boys out-vote me. Tess takes Steve's cash and the evening's bank deposit, promising to return with burritos for all. I pop Steve's wheel into the truing stand and the boys each keep working on the bikes in their respective stands.

As I turn my attention to the wheel, Steve asks an innocent question, "So, how did you ever get into the bike business, anyway?"

My younger son lets out a groan and his older brother turns to Steve and says "Oh man, why did you have to ask that?"

"What?" Steve says.

"Pay them no mind," I say, "they've heard this story a few times..."

"More like a few dozen times," the one with the smart mouth interrupts.

"Maybe a hundred times," the one with the even smarter mouth adds. "But now you've done it. Did you know Dad used to have a car?"

"Strange, but true." I say to Steve, "I used to have a car. Back when I was your age," I add, addressing my son, "I wasn't that bright..."


It took all winter and the first part of the spring, but by April I'd saved up enough snow-shoveling and lawn-mowing money to buy Tex's brother's old MG. The car was my British racing green ticket to freedom and in my dreams I'd give Cathy rides home after school, her blond hair flowing in the wind, her laughter like music as she chuckled at my latest observation of the human condition.

The car was great, with real dials and an honest-to-god rag-top but it had its quirks. The car had an unhealthy thirst for oil and it spewed smoke like Q had rigged a smoke screen that would let 007 leave any villains coughing in confusion. The electrical system would've been more at home in Dr. Frankenstein's lab than under a car hood. Excuse me, bonnet. When you own an MG, even if you've lived in Wisconsin your entire life, you start dropping British-isms into your speech and you wear one of those tweed driving hats. At least that's what I did.

I drove the car back and forth to school and I got a job where I learned to smile as I asked "You want fries with that?" My paychecks all seemed to go into gas, oil, big checks to an insurance company and fixing the latest and most drastic of the MG's quirks. The only times I got to see Cathy outside of the couple of classes we shared would be when she and big dumb Todd would stop by at Gordy's and I'd ask if they wanted fries with their order. I'd hear her laughter like music as Todd made some obvious observation of the human condition. God, how I hated Todd.

I was on my way to work when the MG broke down.


This time, some hose cracked and something leaked and a ton of smoke poured out of pretty much everywhere. I coasted to a stop in front of Bob's shop. Of course, I didn't know then that it was Bob's shop. I didn't know Bob and I'd never had any reason to go into his shop. Bob's place was a bike shop and what would I need a bike for? I had a car. Bikes were for kids.

I was still swearing at the car when Bob came out to ask if I need any help or a fire extinguisher or anything.

"A phone," I said. "Can I borrow your phone? I gotta call work and tell 'em I'll be late."

"Sure, sure," said Bob, and I followed him into his store.

The place was packed with bikes and smelled like old tires. There was stuff everywhere. Tires hung on pegs above the rows of bikes and there were baskets and bells and brightly colored shirts and a board with a bunch of gears hanging on it. Wrenches hung, each on their own hook, next to tools I didn't recognize above a workbench containing a vice and some gadget with a wheel clamped in its jaws. Posters advertising brands I didn't know flanked pictures of skinny guys I didn't recognize sprinting across some finish-line somewhere in Europe.

"What's a Molteni?" I asked, pointing to the picture of some dark-haired guy with big legs. I'd read the word off the front of his shirt.

"Molteni?!?" Bob paused, then followed my gaze to the poster. "Oh," he laughed, "some Italian company, I think they make sausage or something."

"Who's the dude?" I asked.

Bob shot me the look you get when you ask a really dumb question and then smiled broadly and said "Merckx. His name's Eddy Merckx. Don't you have to make a call?"

"Oh yeah," I said, as Bob pointed me to the phone. "I'm not looking forward to this. Gordy was so pissed the last time I was late."

"Gordy?" Bob asked. "You work at Gordy's? The burger joint?"

"Yeah, " I said. "I know you... Double Cheeseburger, no mayo, right?"

"Yep." Bob laughed. "I guess it's true, you are what you eat."

"I'm supposed to be at work in twenty minutes. I betcha Gordy fires me this time."

"Ride there," Bob said.

"What?" I said.

"Ride there," Bob repeated. "I'll loan you a bike."

"But - but it's too far," I protest. "And it's up a big hill."

"Geez!" Bob exploded, "Hand me the phone and I'll call Gordy myself and tell him to fire you! It's two miles at most!" Then he paused for a second and added, in a quieter tone, "Look, I ride there darn near every day and I'm an old man. You can certainly do it. You know, bikes have gears these days."

"I dunno." I paused, still holding the phone.

"Look," Bob said firmly. "You're burning time debating this. You can take my burger bike. It'll take you ten min..." he paused for a second, looked at me and quickly amended, "You can make it. At Fourth Avenue cut over to Maple and take it up the hill instead of Pine. It's a block out of your way, but it's not as steep."

"OK," I said, kind of relieved not to have to make the call. "But I've got a dumb question. How do I work the gears on this thing?"

Bob gave a half-roll of his eyes as if to say "Kids these days!" and then patiently explained the two levers that work the gears. "The lever on the left controls the front der... chain shifting thing. Moving the chain over to the smaller ring up front makes things easier. The right lever controls the rear derailleur, we call the shifting things derailleurs, and the back is the opposite of the front. In the back, the smaller gears are harder and the bigger one is easier. Oh, and you shift while pedaling."

"Where's the clutch?" I asked.

"No clutch," Bob replied. "Bikes don't have clutches. But they don't like to shift under load, so downshift before you need to. You'll catch on, it's easy. It's like riding a bike."

We agreed that I'd bring the bike back after I'd finished my shift at Gordy's.

"I'll leave my car as collateral," I said.

"I'd rather have something of value," Bob grumbled in response. "Bring me a burger and we're square."

I made it to work with three minutes to spare.

Riding back to the shop was easier than riding to work. The wind blew through my hair and for a few minutes at least I out-rolled the smell of french fries that clung to my work clothes.

The shop was closed by the time I get there, but I saw Bob inside. I knocked on the glass and held up the greasy burger bag. Bob opened the door and let me in.

He went back to working on a wheel that was clamped in what I'd later learn is called a truing stand. "You're working late," I said.

"I've got a lot to do," Bob said. "It's my busy time of year. So, how are you going to get that car out of my parking space?"

"Oh - I, uhmm..." I hadn't really thought this through.

"It's got a blown head gasket," Bob explained, "I checked it out after you left. You're not driving it anywhere for a while. You got money for a tow?"


"That's what I thought. OK, I'll help you push it around back. I've got some space back there and you won't get ticketed. When is your next paycheck?"

"Friday, no, a week from Friday. Crap."

"You're burger-based career plan seems to have gone slightly awry, my friend. How are you getting to work between now and next Friday?"

"Maybe I could bike there?" I ventured.

"My generosity has its limits, kid," Bob grumbled, but then he went on. "Look, you need wheels and I can use some help, so here's what we do. You keep the burger bike for the next couple of weeks, but you come here before and after your shifts at Gordy's. You don't seem that bright but you can probably get the hang of sweeping up and putting away parts and things..."

And so I rode for the next couple of weeks. I swept and shelved and Bob decided that maybe I could learn a few more things so he showed me the differences between brake and derailleur cables, how to adjust brakes so they don't squeal, how to lube chains and true wheels. I listened as he debated the merits of drilling out brake levers and derailleurs with various customers.

"How much is Gordy paying you?" Bob asked one day and when I answered he followed up with "Heh, I guess the burger business is every bit as lucrative as the bicycle business. If you want, you can keep working here and I'll match what Gordy's paying you. Your hands will still get greasy, but at least you won't smell like fries."

"But - but," I protested, "Cathy never comes here."

"Cathy?" Bob asked and I told him all about the goddess with the golden hair and the lilting laughter and that someday she'd see that she would be much better off with me than with big dumb Todd.

Bob nodded sagely and said "Let me see if I have this straight: you're working at a job you don't like, to pay for a car you can't afford, to impress a girl with an established track record of liking big, dumb guys. Right?"

I admitted that it sounded kind of stupid when he put it that way.

"Oh no," Bob countered. "The plan will work. You've got the dumb part down and you just have to shoot up another six inches and she'll fall for you like a ton of bricks." He dropped the sarcasm from his voice, shifted gears with just the slightest pause and went on, "Look, kid, I'm sure she's a looker and hell, maybe she's the one for you. And when I was your age I was probably twice as stupid as you are now. But there are lots of gals out there, some that are pretty and some that are smart and a lot that are both. I'm sure you don't believe me, but it's not worth settling for a woman who will settle for dumb. And you know," he added, "some cute gals come into bike shops, too."

I gave notice at Gordy's the next day. When school got out for the summer, I started working full time at Bob's.

I learned a lot that summer and some of it was about bikes. Bob helped me replace the head gasket in the MG and then I sold it to Todd's little brother. I used the money I got out of the car to buy an old Peugeot PX-10. "Oh God," Bob said, "going from a British car to a French bike. You must be one of those guys whose not happy unless he's got something to tinker with."

Bob taught me how to tinker with a lot of stuff. Sometimes in the busy season we'd stay late, after we'd closed up the shop just to catch up on repairs. At night the skip off the ionosphere would let the shop radio pull in the blues station from Chicago and we'd listen to B.B. King and John Lee Hooker and Billie Holiday.

One night after work Bob popped a tape in the VCR and we watched a documentary about Eddy Merckx. The guy came in second in some race and we watched as his shoulders dropped and he looked sadder than any blues song I'd ever heard. He wasn't pissed, he was just sad. And then he went and rode. In the rain and on rollers next to his washing machine. And he rode and he rode and he rode. And he won. "See that?" Bob said. "You keep going."

And Bob kept going. He was twice my age and twice as fast on a bike. As I got to know Bob, I learned his story. He talked about his wife a lot, even though she'd died a few years before, a victim of a hit-and-run. I thought maybe that was why Bob hated cars, but that turned out to be one of those simple and wrong conclusions that kids jump to some times. Bob kept talking about Martha because he still loved her and he didn't stop loving her just because she was gone. He told me that she was pretty and smart and that she'd been worth waiting for. And he didn't work all those hours in the bike shop because he hated cars, he did it because he loved bicycles. You find someone or something to love and you stick with it. Bob didn't hate cars, he really seemed to enjoy himself when we were working on the MG, but he never loved cars the way he loved bikes. I think Bob was one of those guys who was happiest when he had something to tinker with.

"You should go make something of yourself," he told me. "It's a big world, check it out." On Saturday mornings, before the shop would open, we'd go down to the long, flat Sawmill Road with bikes and a stopwatch and we'd time-trial. Thursday nights after work, we'd do laps out by the Airport. And at least a couple days a week, I'd do burger runs up to Gordy's. I no longer needed to go a block out of my way and go up Maple. I'd punch it straight up Pine, just like Eddy Merckx.


A knock at the window puts an end to my story. I slide the deadbolt and give my wife a big kiss as she rolls her bike through the door.

"Finally!" says Eddy. "We're starving here."

Tess shakes her short brown hair free of her helmet, her laughter filling the shop like music. "It's up a big hill!" she says, repeating one of our oldest family jokes. "Actually," she adds, "I've never seen the taco truck that busy. I guess the word has gotten out." She hands Steve's change to him along with the first burrito and passes a second one on to Eddy. Turning to grab his supper, Eddy notices for the first time that his older brother is getting red in the face while pushing on a big wrench.

"Hey, College Boy," he says "you'll never get it out that way. It's Italian. Right-hand thread on both sides."

My eldest son gets that "Doh!" look on his face and Tess and I exchange a half-roll of our eyes as if to say "Kids these days!"

My lovely wife hands me a burrito. "Miss me?"

"Every time you go," I say, "but you're worth waiting for." Turning to our son I add, "Take a break, Bob. It's burrito time."

Saturday, April 21, 2012

CTC, Cyclists Special, 1955: Out for a cushy ride

From London to Rugby by train; Warwickshire by bicycle, May 1955. This British Transport Films 15-minute short is snapshot of a different England. CTC members go on group rides via a 'cyclists' special' train.

TAG - Skater vs. Bike Messenger: short film by William Prouty

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Steel Wheel Duo Spokesongs Tour from Joel Landis on Vimeo.

Trent Wagler and Jay Lapp (Steel Wheel Duo), have been called
"Shenanadoah Valley's newest and finest songwriting force" by Blue
Ridge Outdoors. This fall they took their force to the outdoors and
piled their instruments, microphones, and few CDs on their bicycles
for a 280 mile journey through the mountains of Virginia to play their
Americana Roots music. This short film by Joel Landis chronicles the
first Steel Wheels Green Tour. Check out Trent Wagler and The Steel
Wheels music at

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Henri Pelissier

Henri Pelissier (1889 - 1935) was a French racing cyclist from Paris and champion of the 1923 Tour de France.

Pelissier was one of four brothers, three of whom became professional cyclists. He began racing professionally in 1911 and amassed important victories before the First World War, including the 1912 Milan-San Remo and three stages in the 1914 Tour de France.
Pélissier brothers (l to r) Henri, Charles, Francis

One day in August of 1911 while walking on the edge of Paris Henri Pelissier met Lucien Petit-Breton, one of the great cycling hereos of the day. Petit-Breton had already ridden the Tour de France four times and won it in 1907 and 1908. He asked Pelissier if he would like to travel to Italy with him to race. Six hours later they were on a train to Milan.

Their first race was the Tour of Romany-Tuscany. Pelissier crashed and didn't finish. But he won Turin-Florence-Rome and the Tour of Lombardy. 

 In his first time racing the Tour de France, Pelissier finished second in 1914 less than two minutes behind Philippe Thys of Belgium. He won the 10th, 12th and 15th stages.

 In 1923 Henri Pelissier  won the Tour de France at the age of 34. During his career he also won Milan - San Remo, Paris - Brussels, Paris - Roubaix twice, Tours of Lombardy three times, Bordeaux - Paris and Paris Tours.

Pelissier was repeatedly at war with organisers, sponsors and the press. When  he went training, he urged his friends to take it easy - "it's important not to wear yourself out" he advised - but never letting on that he had been out at dawn for 40 kilometres of "speed training".

He dismissed his rivals with a sneer. "The others are cart horses; I'm a thoroughbred," he said during the Tour de France. The next day Pelissier had a flat tire and the whole field left him and his brother Francis 30 minutes behind. 
Pelissier rode his last Tour de France in 1925. He did not finish. He stopped racing in 1927 and did nothing for two years. Then he returned to the sport as a motorcycle-pacer and team manager. He had little success at either. 

Henri Pelissier's first wife, Leonie, despaired and shot herself in 1933.  A few years later Pelissier had a girl friend, Camille Tharault, who was 20 years younger than him. He threatened her with a knife at least once. On May 1, 1935 he and Camille had an argument in the kitchen of their Norman-style villa outside of Paris. Pelissier lunged at her with a knife, cutting her face. She ran to the bedroom, opened a drawer and pulled out the revolver with which Leonie had shot herself. She ran back to the kitchen and found Pelissier waiting with the knife. Camille pulled the trigger five times. Pelissier fell to the floor. A bullet had hit his carotid artery. His body was placed in the room where Leonie had killed herself. 

Camille's trial opened a year later, almost to the day. She pleaded self-defence and on May 26, 1936, she got a year's suspended jail sentence. It was as close as the court could come to acquitting her.

Brooks D-Shaped Tool Bag

Brooks D-Shaped Tool Bag

This fine saddle bag was first produced in the early 1900's. The current model is a faithful rendition and will provide years of use. The D-Shaped bag is a two-part unit, with an easily-removed internal zippered case, which slips into a holder that attaches to the bag loops of your classic Brooks saddle. This permits faster access, or easy removal for security whilst your bicycle is parked. The attention to detail on this bag is great. Beautifully stitched and presented in a Brooks cloth bag.

Brooks' practical and clever bags are beautifully crafted from selected British hides, finished as only Brooks can do. They are warm in one's hand and very useful on the road. Classic styling and Brooks' meticulous attention to detail make these a must for the cyclist who has everything -- and brings it all along for the ride.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Cat 8 Racing Group Ride 4-15-12

Click on the photo to enlarge it.
Cat 8 Racing Group at the Lewisville Town Square just before beginning the ride.

Sunday afternoon was a wonderful afternoon to go for a ride. The temperatures in the Piedmont of North Carolina was in the low 80s. I rode with the Cat 8 Racing group out of Lewisville, NC on Sunday afternoon. We had approximately 16 riders in the group. Our route was the traditional Flat Louise, which is around 44 miles.  Click here for information on the route including a turn by turn cue sheet from the web site of Forsyth Bike. The ride averaged right at 19 mph despite there being a strong head wind no matter which way the group turned. I rode to and from the ride to save gas and get in a little extra mileage. We had a great time on this ride and everyone rode very well.
Riding down Shallowford Road to the Yadkin River.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

From the 1959 Giro d'Italia.

 Charly Gaul leads Edouard Delberghe (obscured), Jacques Anquetil and Rik van Looy. 

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Albert Champion

Albert Champion

Albert Champion (1878-1927) was a French bicycle racer. In 1908 he founded the Champion Ignition Company to make spark plugs in Flint, Michigan. In 1909 the name changed to AC Spark Plug Company, after his initials.

Champion won the third edition of Paris-Roubaix in 1899. His win came as a surprise because he was known as a talented track racer. The 1899 Paris-Roubaix was paced by small motorcycles.  Track racers were accustomed to this and it worked in Champion's favor. After his win he traveled to the United States to earn money racing on the velodromes. (track racing at this time was more profitable than professional baseball) He raced behind motorcycles and earned a comfortable living. Champion earned enough money to be able to afford a race car. 

In the United States Champion was involved in a crash that left one of his legs two centimetres shorter than the other. He accommodated this on the bike by using crank arms of different lengths. He returned to France and won a 50km race on the Buffalo track in Paris and in 1904 became the national motor-paced champion. The race reopened the wound to his leg and he was taken to the hospital in Boucicant. While in the hospital he saw another fellow rider brought in with injuries from a crash at 90 km/h (approximately 56 mph). Seeing this ended Albert Champion's bicycle racing career.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Raymond Impanis

Raymond Impanis

Raymond Impanis (1925 –  2010) was a Belgian professional cyclist from 1947 to 1963. 

He was born in the Flemish Brabant town of Berg. Where his family owned a bakery. During World War II there was no gasoline to fuel their delivery truck. Each morning teenaged Raymond would get up and make bread deliveries on his bike. After his deliveries were done he would haul over 200 pounds of flour from the supplier to his family's bakery on a three wheeled delivery bike. He bought his first racing bike with the tip money he received from the customers.

Impanis started racing in the junior races in 1942. In one of his early races he had a very bad crash, slamming into an electric pole during a sprint. As a result of the crash his right arm was almost completely paralyzed. For the rest of his life he could barely lift his right hand. This didn't stop him from racing, he just became a lefty.

Raymond Impanis turned pro in 1947 after racing succesfully as a junior and an amateur. He raced the Tour de France his first year, winning a stage and finishing 6th overall. After such a great debut Impanis became Belgium's great Tour de France hope. He never won the Tour, but won a total of three stages and finished in the top ten in 1949 and 1950. 
Impanis had a long career of 17 years as a professional: 1947 -1963. He is most famous for his 1954 season where he won the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix and Paris-Nice. At the end of his long road career, Raymond had hoped to cash in for big pay days on the winter six-day indoor track circuit. Only one problem can't do a hand-sling very well in the jams when your right arm is nearly paralyzed. He started motopaced racing on the track to extend his paydays and popularity a little longer.

Raymond Impanis motorpaced racing on the track.

After retiring Impanis worked for race radio and was a fixture at Belgian races. He never really stopped riding, still cruising around on a lightweight bicycle with flat bars well into his eighties.