Saturday, September 27, 2014

Beet Salad Recipe

3 bunches of fresh baby beets

To taste:
Fresh parsley, chopped
Fresh basil, chopped
Lemon Juice
Olive oil
Salt and pepper


 Wash the beets and then place them in a large pot with enough water to cover them. Boil until they are tender (you should be able to pierce them easily with a paring knife or fork).

 Remove the beets from the pot and run them under cold water. Peel, rinse, and pat dry. 

Cut the beets in half, place them in a bowl, and add the remaining ingredients to taste. 

Ronald Reagan and Jane Wyman take their Schwinns out for a ride.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Marcel Kint

Marcel Kint
Marcel Kint (1914-2002) was a Belgian road racing cyclist who raced as a professional from 1935 through 1951. He was nicknamed "The Black Eagle".

During his second year racing as a professional, 1936, he won the 19th stage of the Tour de France and finished in 9th place in the general classification.

His most successful year was 1938. He won the World Championship in 1938. Because of World War II there were no World Championship races held for several years after his win. This makes Marcel Kint the longest reigning World Champion. At the 1938 Tour de France he won three stages (15, 16 & 18) and finished ninth in the overall general classification.

Kint was very successful at one day classic races. He holds the record for three consecutive wins at La Fleche Wallonne in the years 1943, 1944 and 1945. The 1943 edition of Paris-Roubaix is one of his greatest victories. 

Marcel Kint also had several major track racing victories during his career. Of note are his 1948 and 1949 at the Brussels Six Day Races with partner Rik Van Steenbergen.

Marcel Kint wearing the Belgium National Champion's Jersey. 1945

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Romain Maes

Romain Maes (1912-1983) was a Belgain cyclist who raced as a professional from 1933 through 1944. 

His second year racing as a professional, 1934, he entered the Tour de France for the first time. He finished the first and third stages in second place. Later in the race he crashed and ended up leaving the race in an ambulance.

He is most famous for winning the Tour de France in 1935. During the race he wore the yellow jersey of the race leader from the beginning of the race all the way to end. During the 1935 tour he won the first, eleventh and twenty first stage. The twenty first stage was the final stage and ended in Paris. Maes crossed the finish line of the final stage all alone. The next rider to cross the finish line, of the final day, crossed the line thirty nine seconds behind Maes. After winning the 1935 Tour de France, Romain Maes collapsed in tears into his mother's arms.
His win ended a six year streak of the tour being won by Frenchmen. Maes was celebrated as a hero in his home country of Belgium. 

Maes was the first rider to cross the finish line at the 1936 edition of Paris-Roubaix. But a judges awarded the victory to Frenchman Georges Speicher. The race official said he had seen Speicher win.

He had the 1938 edition of Paris-Brussels almost won. Maes had a hundred meter lead over the chasing racers with just five hundred meters to go. He crossed the finish line, inside the velodrome where the race ended, and stopped. Romain had forgotten that he was suppose to ride another full lap around the track before the race was finished. The other races didn't forget and went flying by Maes as he was sitting still. When he realized what was going on, it was too late. Marcel Kint made the additional lap around the velodrome and won the race.

At the 1939 Tour de France, Romain Maes appeared to be on his way to another good ride. He won the second stage, a sixty three kilometer time trial from Caen to Vire. He was unfortunately involved in a bad crash during the eighth stage and had to abandon the race.

Romain Maes raced successfully on the track in the later years of his career. His track racing partner's name was Sulvere Maes. They were not related.

After the 1944 season, Romain Maes retired from racing and opened a bar. The bar was named "In de Gele Trui" (In the Yellow Jersey) and was located near the North Station in Brussels.

Romain Maes

Romain Maes and Sylvere Maes at the 1935 Tour de France

Rita Hayworth rides a bike.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Beautiful Morning To Ride with a Breeze.

Click on the photo to enlarge it.
My bike with a vineyard belonging to NASCAR legend Richard Childress in the background

Riding on Hampton Road outside of Clemmons.
Music: "Gone with the wind" by Lightin' Hopkins
A pond on Waterworks Road outside of Clemmons.
The Canadian Geese have found something to eat in the pond.
If you look closely you will see several of them have their tails in the air and their heads underwater.

Poor ole Joe kept me company as I cleaned and checked over my bike. 

Lynyrd Skynyrd perform their song "Call Me The Breeze" in 1975.

George, John, Paul and Ringo ride bikes. The Beatles!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Omer Huyse

Omer Huyse (1898-1989) was a Belgium professional road cyclist. He raced as a professional during the years 1923 through 1930. 

Huyse is known for winning the fifth stage of the 1924 edition of the Tour de France. The cyclist were divided into three different categories during the 1924 tour; first class for top cyclists, second class for lesser cyclists, and the touriste-routier class for semi-amateur cyclist. Omer Huyse was in the second class of cyclist. This made his stage win even more impressive. He never won another stage of the Tour de France, but did finish in ninth place in 1924 and seventh place in the general classification in 1925. 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Hunger; The Autobiography of Sean Kelly

Hunger; The Autobiography of Sean Kelly

320 pages, hardcover
First Published in Great Briton in 2013
 by: Peloton Publishing
2 Gladdensden Lane
St Albans , Herts AL3 7NP
Printed in and bound in England by SS Media
Click here to visit Peloton Publishing's web site.

Hunger, by Sean Kelly, tells the story of Kelly from a young age growing up on a farm through his professional bicycle racing career into retirement. 

He grew up on on a farm in rural Ireland. He was accustomed to hard work. Kelly carried on the strong work ethic of his youth throughout his training and professional racing career. 

When other riders signed lucrative contracts to race, they often would change their life style. Expensive cars and houses were often bought soon after signing.

In the book Sean Kelly describes how he lived while racing. During his years as a professional he lived in a room on a rural farm in Belgium. He rented it from an older couple. Living much as he did on his family farm in Ireland. Kelly saved his money and didn't indulged in many luxuries. 

His training and racing were much like of his youth, which was spent working on the farm or as a brick mason. The book tells of how he trained and race.

This is a great read for any fan of bicycle racing. It tells of his life while racing as well as describing the races. Be sure and read this book. 

 Click here for more on Sean Kelly.
Sean Kelly

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Nivea; The first non cycling related sponsor of professional cycling

  Nivea was the first sponsor of professional cycling that wasn't a cycling related company.

 The early 1950's was a time of reconstruction in Italy after the destruction of World War II. The conflict created an era of new industrial growth. Approximately four million bicycles were on the roads of Italy, being used mainly as primary transportation. There were only about three hundred and forty thousand cars in use throughout the country.

Bicycle racing was the most popular sport in Italy during the post war era. Fans flocked to see the races in person, or followed the racing by radio and newspaper coverage.  

In the mid to late 1950s, bicycles as transportation was giving way to motorized vehicles. As millions of people poured into the northern region of the country in pursuit of factory jobs, they began to earn enough money to afford cars, scooters or motorcycles. Workers no longer relied on bicycles for transportation.

Professional bicycle racing teams had always been funded by companies that manufactured bicycles. The moneys to support the teams diminished with the reduction in sales and production of bicycles. Racers saw their income compromised when bicycle racing was still hugely popular as a sport.

Fiorenzo Magni was not only a champion cyclist he was obviously a great salesman. At the end of the 1954 racing season, he convinced Nivea to co-sponsor a professional bicycle racing team. The other team sponsor was Swiss bike manufacturer Fuchs. 

Nivea was a women's face cream maker at the time. This non-cycling related sponsorship was the precedent for many other companies to offer sponsorship to cycling teams and events as a means of advertising. This saved professional cycling.

Click here to learn more about Nivea.

Click here for more on Fiorenzo Magni.


Thursday, September 18, 2014

Giuseppe Pancera : A daughter remembers a cycling great from the 1920s and 1930s by Egidia Barbetta

Egidia Barbetta writes:
   All through my childhood, the main topic of conversation in our home was bicycle racing. My parents owned a bar and coffee shop called Caffe Sport Pancera, named after my father, Giuseppe Pancera, who had been a racer in the 1920s, a golden era for professional cycling. His career started in 1922 and he became a champion not only in Italy but all over Europe and even as far as Australia. He retired when he turned 33 and a year later got married, had three children and led a quiet life with his family until his death in 1977 at the age of 78.
   When my sister and I were teenagers, and father started to talk about his adventures, we grew listless and walked away. But recently, while looking through family relics, we found a manuscript written by our father and we realized what we had missed by not speaking to him.
   Born in 1899 in the small town of Castelnuovo del Garda in northern Italy, my father's parents were simple peasants. There were four brothers and times were hard. At the age of 12, my father started to work as a baker's helper for a monthly wage of five lire, which was collected by his father. Their staple diet was polenta—meat was served only on special occasions.

   At the age of 14 he went to work in a nearby town with his older brother, still as a baker's helper. Every Sunday, after all the baking was done, they would jump on their bikes and ride the 30 kilometers home to visit their parents for a couple of hours.
   They were happy and hoped their life would continue unchanged. However, in 1915 Italy entered the First World War and the four brothers were drafted into the Italian Army. For the next two months they dug ditches. Father was eager to be sent to the front line but instead he was assigned to a motorcycle unit attached to a fire station and there he remained until he was discharged 48 months later. After the war he went back to the bakery.
Up to this time, father never heard of bicycle racing, but two of his brothers did, and he convinced them to get him a racing bike, sometimes racing alongside trains. One day he was invited to participate in a race and to everybody's amazement, including his own, he came first. He realized he had a passion for speed and his new life began.
   In 1922 my father started to compete in the provinces near his hometown, always finishing in the top placings. In September of that year he took part in a race of 680 kilometers. After the second stage, he became the group leader and for the rest of the race he led his team in spite of punctures, a bad fall and terrible weather.
At the end of the fifth stage he reached the finish line with 12 minutes' lead on the second-placed rider. That night, during a special celebration, he was given an envelope with 300 lire and a small gold medal. He felt like he was the King of Verona!
   Thus was born the long career of Giuseppe: heroic undertakings, escapes in kilometers and more important victories until his second place in the Tour de France in 1929 at the age of 30. Cycling up the Champs Elysées is the dream for anyone who cycles, but to finish second on the podium was the thrill of his life.
   From 1922 to 1933 the most important contests of his career were his 10 Giros, four Tours and five Spanish tours. His best overall standings were second in the 1928 Giro and the 1929 Tour de France and sixth in the 1927 Giro. In one of the competitions in Spain, he took a bad fall when a dog crossed his path, causing him to crash and break his left arm.
He was called "The Silent Man", a modest and courageous racer who did his best for Italy's honor. In 1927 he won the 540-kilometer Rome–Naples–Rome with a 430-kilometer solitary breakaway, arriving first with 70 minutes on the second-placed contestant.
   And finally, in 1931, the famous Paris–Brest–Paris of 1,200 kilometers, an inhuman race completed every 10 years by superhuman (but crazy) bikers, the longest race in those days to be run in one stage.
The weather was bad—cold and rainy. More than once my father wanted to quit but then he started pedaling in the dark, pushing himself to the limit. At one point, the storm was so bad he fell off his bike and passed out. The rain on his face woke him and he climbed back on his bike once again.
He moved to the front and pulled back all the riders that remained ahead of him.
   He was the first to enter the Parc des Princes in Paris and could feel the victory in his bones. Then he fell, 100 meters from the finish line and Sir Hubert Opperman and Leon Louyet passed him like two ghosts. He never saw or heard them. They were crazed and looked like two robots. Father came third overall.
   In 1933, after the Tour of Italy, he retired, but continued riding his bike as his favorite hobby.
Both long retired, the great Gino Bartali (second from left) talks with Pancera (second from right), about the Tour de France in an undated newspaper story.

   I know for a fact that my birth came as a big surprise and disappointment to my father. He wanted a boy and there I was, a girl. The reason he wanted a boy so badly was because he had been a bicycle champion in his youth, got married at the end of his career at age 35 and was planning to train a new champion while still in his prime.
   Nonetheless, he accepted and loved me in his own way and that meant trying to make a boy out of me. I had a tricycle even before I would walk and when I started to ride a bike I could beat any boy in the neighborhood.
   In 1945, on my 10th birthday, I received a beautiful silver-colored bike, with my name printed on the back fender. "I want everybody to know whose daughter you are," proclaimed my father, the ex-champion. And then he decided that I was old enough to join him on a 50-mile ride to a spa in the mountains.
   On the morning of our departure, half of the town's residents came it to wish us good luck. Mother was completely against it, but father was sure his little girl wouldn't let him down.
   The first 10 miles went pretty well, but then we approached an incline leading to a hilly road. My short legs got tired and soon I stopped pedalling. Father was prepared for that. He had a thick rope in his backpack, which he attached to the front of my bike from the back of his, and started pulling me.
With his luggage rack bulging with clothes, tools and spare parts, he soon started huffing and puffing, till he spied a slow moving truck going our way. He grabbed its tail-end and we both got pulled along, the over-loaded truck making a lot of creaking noises and spewing nasty fumes.
   The rope extending from my handlebars to his seat was taut, but all a sudden the knot at my end became loose. I hollered "Papa, Papa," but he didn't hear my frantic call and hung on to the back of the truck while I was left behind in tears.
   I stopped, got off my bike and sat on the side of the road crying. I imagined all kinds of horrible things happening to me. In those post-war years on a mountain road in Italy, traffic was very light, and it took a good 10 minutes before a car went by. The driver stopped and said, "What are you doing, bambina, all alone?"
   "I lost my father," was my answer and explained the situation to the astonished driver. He reassured me that he'd find father and tell him to come back.
In the meantime, unaware of losing me, and still holding on to the truck, father had almost reached the top of the hill when he heard someone shouting, "Hey mister, you lost your daughter." He looked back and there, dangling from his seat was the empty rope. He never missed me.
   By the time he came back, I was desperate. He calmed me down and then said, "Don't tell your mother about this, OK?"
   We finally arrived at the next town, put our bikes on the first train and reached our destination within an hour.
   After a couple of restful days, we started back home—downhill this time. As soon as we entered our house, I blurted everything out to mother.
Father was in the doghouse for a month. He gave up trying to make a champion out of me and had to accept the fact that I was just his little girl.
   In 1943 my father finally had his longed-for son. In 1969, my 'young' brother was getting married and my father received a congratulatory telegram from his old friend Opperman, who was at the time the Australian ambassador to Malta. The following day, father decided to ride to town to have the news published in the city paper when he was run over by a car. The accident caused him to have his right leg amputated. And that is where his story ends.
In his own words, at the bottom of the page, he wrote 'STOP!!' to indicate the fateful day that signaled the end of his cycling.
The cover of the June 3, 1928 Domenica Sportiva, a supplement put out by La Gazzetta dello Sport. The photo is of the finish of the 9th stage of the Giro d'Italia, 206 km from Pistoia to Modena. Domenico Piemontesi is winning the sprint, Alfredo Binda (and 1928 Giro winner) is second and Pancera is third (left). Pancera finished second in the 1928 Giro.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Jean-Pierre Monsere


Jean-Pierre Monsere was a Belgiam Road Racing Cyclist. He was born in 1948 and died at the young age of 22. His successful professional career ended when he was hit head on by a car, that was driven onto the closed race course of the 1971 Grand Prix de Retie.`Jean-Pierre Monsere was wearing the World Road Racing Champion's Rainbow Jersey and only 22 years old at the time of his death.

His three years of professional racing, 1969 through 1971, he raced on the Flandria Team. 

Jean-Pierre Monsere had many great successes while a professional cyclist. Below are just a few of those:

First in the Giro di Lombardia

First in the Gent Six Days Race

First in the National Championship, Track, Omnium, Elite, Belgium

First in the World Championship, Road, Professionals

First in the World Championship, Track, Madison, Elite, Belgium

Tragically Monsere's seven year old son, Giovanni, was killed in 1976 while riding his bicycle when he collided with a car. The bicycle had been given to him by the cycling champion Freddy Maertens.

Jean-Pierre Monsere wearing the Rainbow Jersey of  World Champion.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Adelin Benoit

Adelin Benoit during the 1927 Tour de France

Adelin Benoit, 1900 - 1954, was a Belgian professional road cyclist during the years 1921 through 1932. 

In 1923 Adelin Benoit won the Belgium National Championship Road Race for independent racers.

His first year competing in the Tour de France, 1925, Benoit delivered an amazing performance. He won the eighth stage, finished in second place in two stages and third place in two other stages. He wore the yellow jersey of race leader for five days in that year's tour and finished in twelth place in the general classification.

Benoit went on to win three more stages of the Tour de France in the next couple of editions of the race. His best finish was fifth place in the general classification during the 1927 tour.

A famous bicycle advertising poster for Thomann Bicycles, celebrating Adelin Benoit's break out performance during the 1925 Tour de France!

Adelin Benoit flipping his wheel around to change the gearing on his bicycle.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Saris, The Boss, Free Standing Bike Stand

The Boss, made by Saris in The USA
The Boss, made by Saris, solves a problem all owners of bicycles without kickstands have. It holds your bike up without scarring the bike or a wall in your house. It does this by holding your bike by the non-drive side rear axle with soft rubber coated fingers. It fits wheels sizes from 20 inchs to 29 inches and most disc brake bikes. The Boss easily folds flat for storage or travel.

I recommend The Boss to all my friends. It's great at work, home or any cycling involved event. Another great product from Saris!

The Boss is available to all bicycle shops and has an MSRP of $44.99. Click here to visit the Saris web site.
The Saris Boss folded down

The wheel tray of The Boss bicycle stand

The Boss holds the bicycle by the rear axle on the non-drive side of the rear wheel

The rear wheel held securely by Saris The Boss

This is how the bicycle sits in The Boss

Waterford R-33 held up by a Saris The Boss bike stand. Notice nothing is going to scratch the bicycle or the wall!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sean Kelly

Sean Kelly during the 1989 Tour de France

 Sean Kelly was born on May 24, 1956 in Waterford, Ireland. His given name is John James Kelly, the same name as his father's name. He was referred to at home as Sean, the Irish version of John, to avoid confusion. 

 His reputation as a bike racer was that of a extremely hard man, able to shrug off challenging conditions during a bike race. He developed these qualities at a young age while working on his family's farm and working as a brick layer. Kelly quit school at a young age to work on the farm when his father was hospitalized with a bleeding ulcer. Later, while still a teenager, he went to work as a brick layer. His obvious strength during his first few bicycle races, led him to pursue racing as a career. He trained harder than most other bike racers and maintained his toughness throughout his racing years.

 Sean Kelly raced bicycles as a profession during the years  1977 though 1994. He is credited with 193 pro victories. Kelly won the race Paris-Nice an astounding seven times in a row(1982-1988). 

 Kelly was a great all round rider. He was known for his awe-inspiring sprinting abilities. But was also a talented time trialist and a good climber. 

 He is best known for his wins in such tough one day races such as Paris-Roubaix, Liege-Bastone-Liege, the Giro di Lombardia and Gent-Wevelgem. 

 Sean Kelly's biggest stage race victory was the 1988 Vuelta a Espana. At the Vuelta he also won the Points classification during the years 1980, 1985, 1986 and 1988. During his professional career Kelly won 16 individual stages of the Vuelta.

Kelly started the Tour de France fifteen times and finished the race twelve times. His best finish at the tour was during the 1985 edition, when he finished in fourth place. He won the green jersey (sprinter's jersey) four times during the years 1982, 1983, 1985 and 1989. Kelly also won five stages in various years of competing at the Tour de France.

Sean Kelly was the first to be ranked No.1 when the FICP rankings were introduced in March 1984, a position he held for a record six years.

His last big win was the 1992 edition of Milan-San Remo. 

After retiring from professional bicycle racing, Sean Kelly became a commentator for the Eurosport and established the Sean Kelly Cycling Academy in Belgium.

Sean Kelly - 1978
Sean Kelly leading the charge during the 1989 Amstel Gold Race
Sean Kelly during the 1984 Tour de France
1992 Milano-San Remo, Kelly wins in front of Moreno Argentin.

Sean Kelly winning the 1984 edition of Pari-Roubaix

Monday, September 1, 2014

Ercole Baldini

Ercole Baldini

Ercole Baldini was born in Villanova de Forli, Italy on January 26, 1933. He was a successful bicycle racer as an amateur and later as a professional. Baldini's professional career began in 1957 and lasted through 1964.

Some of the victories during Baldini's career were:

Olympic Road Champion: 1956

Pro Men's Road World Champion: 1958
Giro d'Italia Champion: 1958
Italian Pro Men's Road National Champion: 1957, 1958
World Hour Record (set at the famed Vogorelli Velodrome in Milan): 1956
Two time Italian Amateur Champion (road and pursuit): 1956
Grand Prix des Nations: 1960

During the year 1956, while still an amateur, Ercole Baldini won the Olympic Gold Medal, won the wold amateur individual pursuit title and broke the hour record. Later in 1956 he became a professional bicycle racer. Italian cycling fans expected him to be the next campionissimo (great champion). In 1957 he broke his own hour record and in 1958 he won the Giro d'Italia and the World Champion Road Race. He was never quite as successful as a professional as he was as an amateur. 

Baldini's racing career ended after a leg injury that required surgery.
September 19, 1956. Ercole Baldini at the Vigorelli in Milan