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Thread: Cycling in the 60-70's

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    Default Cycling in the 60-70's

    So I am reading Hearts of Lions right now, and i on the chapter about US cycling in the 60's and 70's. I know that most of you were children of the 80's, but so many of the folks I am reading about were 18-24 while they were competing in around the world (re-)blazing trails for American cycling around the world. I would guess that many still rode well after their glory years. I would also guess that some of you were their peers even at their prime.

    I was just wondering, did any of you Salonistas cross paths with the likes of Simes, Hiltner, McElmury (Audrey), or Howard.

    I know they weren't the first to break the international cycling barrier, but it was certainly an interesting time for US cycling. An early, undeveloped Renaissance full of fexploration and firsts.

    One story I heard from Peter Nye, the author of the book, that I really like is of one of the early races of John Howard training in Italy. His coach kept trying to get him to speed-up his cadence and would not allow him to go to certain larger gears.

    Then one day he was leading the pack towards the end of a 50 mile road race going up a decent hill with a bunch of Italians about 50 pounds lighter than him, is coach yelled to him, "forget the gears and drop the hammer!".

    With that Howard essentially jammed down on the shifter with much gusto--like he was driving a John Dear, and went from biggest to smallest ring. It made a horrible crunch that everyone could hear. He stood up, hammered, and just dropped the whole pack in the biggest gear going up hill. The town talked about that shift for a week and he became something of a celebrity in this little town for display of abondon and sheer power.

    Its a good image that I really enjoy.

    Anyways, have any of you crossed paths with any of these blokes--raced with them/against them, chit-chatted on long ride, or maybe had a beer?
    we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God!

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    That John Howard Story is FUNNY! The way you described it I could picture the whole thing in my mind. I'm going to have to check this book out. Thanks.
     

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    Any mention of that era HAS to include the "Baltimore Bullet" Bobby Phillips.....
     

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    oh, the stories from when i was 14-18...

    we used to quote john howard from velonews: "52-tooth chainrings just don't cut it". john was a strong rider, no doubt, but seemed to be lacking a certain je ne sais quois on the international stage.

    the stetinas, always looking for that edge - remember the "wetina" story?

    george mount, mark pringle (now a pal here in seattle), alan kingsbury, bob cook, carl leusenkamp, steve woznick - all blasts from the past. some dead, some ill, some still riding

    i met emil "flip" waldteufel a few years ago when he cooked a meal for us in santa rosa - he was hanging out with the bike barb

    we need pictures, man, pictures
    Steve Hampsten
    www.hampsten.blogspot.com
    "Tighten the wingnuts!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by hampco View Post
    oh, the stories from when i was 14-18...

    we used to quote john howard from velonews: "52-tooth chainrings just don't cut it". john was a strong rider, no doubt, but seemed to be lacking a certain je ne sais quois on the international stage.

    the stetinas, always looking for that edge - remember the "wetina" story?

    george mount, mark pringle (now a pal here in seattle), alan kingsbury, bob cook, carl leusenkamp, steve woznick - all blasts from the past. some dead, some ill, some still riding

    i met emil "flip" waldteufel a few years ago when he cooked a meal for us in santa rosa - he was hanging out with the bike barb

    we need pictures, man, pictures

    What was the "wetina" story? Sounds good. :D

    I read about Art Longsjo yesterday. Sad story. That dude had some legs. It was amazing to read how nobody would let him draft of them. Especially his teamates. Instead they would all tuck in behind his wheel and settle for 2nd and 3rd.

    In the book,, Guy Morin recounts his expririence riding with Longsjo at the Tour De St. Laurent for Baggio-Torpado. He yelled at Longsjo for not goin on the breakaway.

    "I began to regret that I spoke so harshly to him, " Morin Said. "Then he wouldn't be pedeling so hard." Longsjo went on to beat the his team mate, the defending captain, by making up two and a half minutes on the time trial. Longsjo should have been the quantum leap in US cycling that Lemond and Armstrong were. It is amazing to read about the peaks and valleys this country has had with this sport. How Kramer used to average over 25 mph on the first 50 of a six-day back in the 20's, and it took until the 70's to break the 2 hour mark on a 50 mile race.

    The sport had to practially re-invent itself at least twice. Some of you were around for this last one. It looks like it is finally sticking.

    That is what I like so much about the stories of Pedali Alpini out in the bay area in the 60's. Without an American Identity, they were obsessed with anything italian. Like the kid on Breaking Away. Except older, grittier and nonfictional. They painted Coppi's name on a giant rock on a particularly hard ride to draw inspiration from his name and added i's and o's to all their words. Even by Bay Area standards, they were considered eccentric.

    They sound pretty damn cool to me.
    we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God!

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    Here are Art's massive legs. I love this pic. 24. In his prime. Full of piss-n-vinigar. His teamate and buddy Ted Smith tucked behind him.

    Ted Smith and Longsjo had chased down and over took the first break, which had a half mile on them. When Longsjo asked Smith to pull, he said, "Sorry, I dont work on weekends." (it was memorial Day and Longsjo had dragged Smith to this race.)

    Later Smith said, "I would not have beaten him with four legs."

    i have a few more pics that I scanned, but the website is angry at my computer right now.
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    Last edited by acotts; 11-12-2008 at 01:48 PM.
    we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God!

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    Quote Originally Posted by acotts View Post
    They painted Coppi's name on a giant rock on a particularly hard ride to draw inspiration from his name and added i's and o's to all their words. .
    Some of us still do that sort of thing, ATMO.....
     

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    word. that is why i think it is so funny. What a funny legacy to leave behind.
    we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God!

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    Nary a mention of the quiet and sage John Allis?
     

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    There's a good, fairly recent interview with John Howard on competitorradio.com. Take a look through the archives on that site, there's many hours of great interviews.

    Hampco, interesting you mentioned Mark Pringle. I wondered what happened to him. Tom Broznowski was another quality Seattle rider from then.

    Carl Leusenkamp was a friend of mine, unfortunately passed on at a fairly early age. I worked at Action Sports in Beaverton for a bit. They sold skateboards when it was first taking off again in the mid 70's. Carl wore shorts just about every day to work and he had HUGE thighs (29" and he was 5' 9" tall). Those legs were featured in a Bicycling Magazine contest to identify the owner of the legs. Anyway, these kids would come in to buy the skateboard of their dreams. So this one kid comes in, he's probably 12 or so. I'm helping him and he keeps looking over at Carl behind the counter. Finally, the kid is just too curious and asks Carl "are those real?" Man, that was funny.
    Last edited by wasfast; 11-12-2008 at 11:14 PM.
     

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    I'm not from the era, but have been in contact with John Howard lately. He's on the left coast doing fitment stuff.

    Come on (old) guys-give us some stories...






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    Quote Originally Posted by Bittersweet View Post
    Nary a mention of the quiet and sage John Allis?
    great guy, still rides the same damn bike to work ... from the freakin 70s.
    like all of the really good guys, john is easy to ride with... any level...

    one of my better lines for allis goes...
    " john, i just got a recall notice from tressostar"
    him " really"
    me . " yeah, they just realized that after 35 years the tape edges will fray...no one knew until they saw yr bike."

    15mph? ok
    19? ok
    22? ok
    25? ok

    doesnt have to prove anything to anyone.
     

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    FWIIW Bobby "The Bullet" after some health problems is racing again. No surprise for a guy as amazing as him AND he runs a great race where you win frozen turkeys as prizes...how sweet is that?

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    Not really -- I came in later, and at a lower level. The closest I came to that crowd was a peripheral connection to Tom Officer, who had raced for our college in the '70s but was still around in the area afterward (I joined the team in 1981).

    Here's a college team history post that has some nice photos of '60s college racing, including Allis: http://www.dartmouth.edu/~cycle/wiki...es/TeamHistory

    (although I'm listed once, there are, alas, no pics of the lean and still thick-head-of-haired me)
     

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    ^ I really love riding up in that area. I was just up there a couple months ago on many of those same roads. My buddy live in Lebanon. Folks up in those parts are strong.

    There are some massive climbs around there.

    Here are a couple more good pics. The first is Sue Nouvara-Reber. I think she is about 17 in that pic. She looks like she is floating.

    The second is Neel. he has a rad mustache. :adore:

    The final is young Lemond...what a cyclist, what a competitor.He was a quantum leap in American cycling. At 16 he was winning club races. At 18 he was turning pro in Eruope. With all the uphill battles and trailblazing that American cyclist endured for previous 3 decades--Lemond just leapfrogs all of it at 20 y/o, doning the white Jersey and changing history.

    Back in the 50's Frank Kramer was asked what it will take to bring back American Cycling to glory. He response was "Just one good cyclist." And he was right

    I think it is just amazing.
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    Last edited by acotts; 11-13-2008 at 11:06 AM.
    we are about to break the surly bonds of gravity and punch the face of God!

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    People who came to cycling in the US in the 1980's or later have to realize that, a decade or two before that, American cycling was a SMALL world.
    I grew up in Los Angeles, started cycling in 1968. I attended Los Angeles Wheelmen (LAB touring club) rides until moving out of the area ten years later. In the early 1960's, that club had dwindled from it's post-WWII flourishing state to--get this--one man and a box of paperwork! Around 1962 or 63 he was contacted by more people interested in riding, it revived from there. Many of us who made lame attempts at racing in the early 1970's met the top US riders because of the very, very small fields--when a race in 1972 had 100 participants in all categories combined, this was considered a really big deal.
     

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    Default Here's a link to The Bike Guy

    Bill Humphries was a member of the CRCA Raleigh teams of the '70s. Lots of background in there. He also posts now and then in Road Bike Action Mag.

    I did some rides with Allis and Howard, BITD...But Gromek is still the nicest one in the bunch, I trained with him a lot.


    http://www.bikeguy.biz/photos.shtml


    http://www.roadbikeaction.com/fly.as...id=109&cid=245
     

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    I remember when I was a kid in the late 1970's, under 10 years old. There was this little brick building bike shop not too far from home in town that sold these great looking bikes called Paris Sport. One of them was orange and had that tell-tale Reynolds 531 sticker on the seat tube. I was hooked. Of course I had no idea what I was looking at other than it looked incredibly well built and really beautiful. The owner of the shop had old pictures of himself winning some road races on the walls. I went back many times and those same bikes never left the walls, never sold. In fact, if you wanted to buy them the guy wouldn't sell. I tried to buy one when I was older. I don't think he ever sold much of anything. Much later, when I was probably close to 20 (1990 or so), I noticed the shop had burned down and there were a bunch of melted/burnt frames laying in the alley next to the burned out shop. That was a sad day.

    Well, there's my 1970's bicycling story. At least how I remember it. LOL
    Last edited by johnnymossville; 11-13-2008 at 08:41 PM.
     

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    Quote Originally Posted by RIHans View Post
    Bill Humphries was a member of the CRCA Raleigh teams of the '70s. Lots of background in there. He also posts now and then in Road Bike Action Mag.

    I did some rides with Allis and Howard, BITD...But Gromek is still the nicest one in the bunch, I trained with him a lot.


    http://www.bikeguy.biz/photos.shtml


    http://www.roadbikeaction.com/fly.as...id=109&cid=245

    gromek is a gentleman.
    i love busting his balls.
    still very good on the bike.
    still 6'0" 135 pounds.
    sob is fast.
     

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    Ok, I'll 'fess up. I was an off the back dropped like a bad habit no-talent Cat #3 racing with VCB during the late 70's. Yup, it was fun alright. I read this interview of Dave Perry (definitely one of the 70's NorCal studs, and a very interesting guy) a while back and I thought it captured a bit of the flavor of the times. Also below is some verbal history on the Berkeley Hills Road Race that you might enjoy. Ok, the double jeopardy bonus question for the other oldsters out there.. Can anyone describe the custom paint job on Nick Farac - Ban's Eisentraut?

    http://velocitynation.com/content/in...006/dave-perry
    http://www.bikecult.com/works/dpch1.html
    http://www.berkeleybike.org/pneusletter/may-07.pdf
    Last edited by jimp1234; 11-13-2008 at 09:34 PM.
     

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