The wonderful images of cycling’s past, such as this image of Eddy Merckx during the 1969 Tour de France, are perhaps even more relevant today with the advent of the hipster vintage cycling aesthetic. Luckily there are a number of social media historians and archivists who regularly post pictures of past glory and bygone heroism. Below is a selection of accounts that like to reminisce over the Glory Days when steel was the real deal, when all wheels were aluminium alloy, and when helmets were a serious rarity.
David Guénel appears to have access to an inexhaustible supply of wonderful black and white images. His French-language tweets are also exceedingly informative, as he appears to go out of his way to name all the riders in the pictures with as much historical accuracy as possible, as well as the events and circumstances in which they were taken. This man takes his history seriously, and we can both enjoy the beauty of the images, and increase our cycling history knowledge by following him.
On s’attendrait presque à voir les Apaches débarquer, dans ce décor de la Vuelta 1935. pic.twitter.com/chu6gHzdkc
— David Guénel (@davidguenel) July 5, 2018
One of the excellent extra features of accounts such as vintagecycling, is that they retweet a host of similar material and related accounts from all over the world. Not only do they feature archive photos, but also a host of new designers that sell retro cycling gear. It’s worth following vintagecycling if you also happen to be looking for a handlebar bottle cage, crocheted gloves or merino wool cycling shirts with button pockets.
? Antwerp, Belgium, 1984 https://t.co/3l4GG3VsPF
— vintagecycling (@vintagebikepics) February 5, 2018
It’s not only the original images of two-wheeled heroism that gets our hearts racing. Beautifully restored and preserved vintage bikes are of course also exceedingly delicious to look at. Steel Vintage Bikes is a great account to follow if you like a bit of throwback-bling. These days, a well-restored classic machine can cost just as much as the latest high-end carbon fibre race machine. And rightly so, we whisper.
— Steel Vintage Bikes (@Steel_Vintage) July 11, 2018
The always-sharp Dutch archivist and collector of nostalgic cycling history, wielerplaatjes (see below) also finds the odd jewel in cycling accounts of a wider appeal. This is one of his retweets of a forgotten chapter of cycling history: the Dutch team that took part in the 1959 Tour of Tunisia.
In 1959 was de eerste Ronde van Tunesië met ook een Nederlandse ploeg. ‘Opa heeft zoveel dorst gehad, dat hij niet eens meer om drinken kon vragen, zo droog was zijn keel.’
— Jurryt van de Vooren (@jRRT) June 27, 2018
An excellent twitter account to follow for pictures of Dutch (and international) cycling postcards, cigarette cards and other printed material concerning the sport’s less well-known figures.
Aanwinst van de dag. Fotokaart Henk Nijdam. pic.twitter.com/6EouvtmvKk
— wielerplaatjes (@wielerplaatjes) June 21, 2018
Wielerplaatjes is also respectful of the sport’s history, publishing for example a number of contemporary images of Dutch cycling legend Arie de Hartog at the time of his death in June 2018.
De vannacht overleden wielrenner Arie den Hartog gaf halverwege de jaren 60, i.s.m. de plaatselijke boekhandel, enkele ansichtkaarten uit met daarop afbeeldingen van hem in z’n geboortedorp Zuidland (Zuid Holland). pic.twitter.com/pYRamsCXjm
— wielerplaatjes (@wielerplaatjes) June 7, 2018