In Six Well Captioned Photographs, the Tenspeed Heroes contemplate an elixir, Belgian politics, Legacies, Beer, and Roger De Vlaeminck
Roger De Vlaeminck
If Eddy Merckx had never turned a pedal in anger Roger De Vlaeminck would have won Paris-Roubaix seven times and all the monuments at least three times. The Heroes are positive about this. At least we think we are. Anyhow, the Heroes had a chance to visit with the man this spring and despite his renown in the cycling world for calling the current peloton a bunch of pretty boy whiners, the man is reserved and as our host indicated, a gentlemen. We also found this to be true.
Roger De Vlaeminck’s book
If an artist has been successful at the end of one’s art career and sometimes in the middle you may have a retrospective of your artwork. Your works are put on full display at the MOMA, the Whitney or maybe even the Guggenheim. There will also be a twenty-pound 300 page catalogue that celebrates all of your artworks in living color. For a successful professional cyclist you have a few options, a bike with your name on it, a bike shop in the town you call home with your name on it, or a book of all the great moments of your career. The photographs in your book are beautiful and contain all the glory, victories, and suffering you endured during your late teens, twenties and thirties.
Roger De Vlaeminck’s autograph
After publication of this book a fan, most likely, will approach you every week for the rest of your life with this same book. They will ask for a signature to personalize it. Some may sell it at a bookshop in Ghent and others will cherish it and show it to their children. The Heroes noticed that Roger signed his name and then spelled it out in bold script. It was a nice touch. He was already a Hero in our eyes and now he is a double Hero.
The Heroes had all day to think about our meeting with Roger De Vlaeminck (more on this later). Being small town boys we said things in all Caps. “WE ARE HAVING DRINKS WITH MR. PARIS ROUBAIX ON THE EVE OF PARIS ROUBAIX!!!!!” Of course between our Flemish and Roger’s English, our conversation was a bit simple, plus what do you really say to a champion? “You were awesome!” Nevertheless, Roger taught us one thing; not all Flandrians drink beer. “I prefer things like Elixir d’Anvers, Duvel gets you drunk too fast.” Indeed!
The Heroes of course did not heed Roger’s advice and drank beer all night. Our hosts were the wonderful PDG Bike shop who has what every LBS should have, a Belgian bar tucked within its walls. After all, bike shop owners are the closest thing to a bartender you will find outside of a bar. Or inside of a bar come to think. As the story goes, we drank, knocked things over, asked Roger inane questions and then wished the bike shop bar had a hostel above it.
The Petition for Ninove
The Heroes are political in the sense that we watch the news, read papers, and vote. As a rule, we will sign any petition that gets the poor petitioner off the street. Watching people get ignored tugs at the Hero heartstrings. After the beer consumption shown in image five we were handed such a petition by the good people of Ninove Proper. It says something to the effect of keeping the Ronde Van Vlaanderen finish in Ninove. Now getting involved in Belgian politics, cycling or national, is not a wise idea but to fill you in on the details, Oudenaarde wants their turn. Our names are on this petition but we must admit we could not read a word of it. The Flemish was not so bad but the eight Duvels and Witkaps took their toll. No excuses. Oudenaarde we love thee but the Tenspeed Heroes with drunken pen in hand are behind Ninove.