I’m going to talk about my retro road bike, a red Raleigh. Like I always say, Peter Post’s team rode these. And for the cycling nerds, I add that Joop Zoetemelk won the Tour in 1980 on this bike—or at least trained on it, for you skeptics.
All of this is, of course, not true. The story of Peter Post is a mixture of my father’s enthusiasm and some half-truths from the seller from Jubbega [Friesland]. I checked it out: Peter Post did indeed ride a red Raleigh, but it was a different model.
The retro bug
My old roadie does indeed come from the Frisian village of Jubbega. Just next to my native town of Gorredijk. Someone there, I won’t say who, buys old racing bikes from abroad, refurbishes them and sells them on for cheap. My brother bought an old blue and white Atala; my friend bought a white Batavus; and later my father bought an orange Peugeot, because he “just couldn’t leave it there”. He likes them, just like old typewriters, but doesn’t ride them. That orange bike eventually went to a friend. What I want to say is: once you’re bitten by the retro bug, you won’t shake it!
The king of the road
Where I live in Amsterdam, you pay four times as much [as in other places] for the same bike. But we’re not going to talk about that. Retro road bikes ride great, especially if you take care of them a bit. I can’t take other people on road bikes in Amsterdam seriously, though. Ok, maybe I’m too serious too. I feel like the king of the road [on my roadie]; a climbing goat with light but fit quads thanks to footballing. I tell myself, at least. For about four years now I’ve been cycling in Amsterdam and disrupting the traffic on my old red Raleigh.
I used to never be a fanatic cyclist. Occasionally I rode a mountain bike, through the Beetsterzwaagse Bossen and over the heather fields in Hemrik. I also used to ride 15 kilometres back and forth to my high school—rain or shine. My focus was always more on playing football, but soon I will get properly into road cycling, with proper bib-shorts and all, together with a group of friends who ride regularly. Is that going to be fun? Well, the scary fanatic sportsman in me is already thinking about winning. I have the feeling that I can drop them. Or at least keep up, on my actually way too small red Raleigh from Joop Zoetemelk.
Megalomania, perhaps, but in bed I dream of getting into an ordinary T-shirt and dropping them all. On that retro road bike with tires from the seedy bicycle repairman at the Waterlooplein. At amateur level it does not matter that much what bike you have, right? We will see. Probably I will borrow a more professional bicycle last minute and not make it until the end of the ride due to the old, busted clip-less shoes. But after that? Somehow, I will drop them!