Friday, August 28, 2009

golden age

stopped by Ye Olde Bicycle Shoppe to set up my tubless 29", disc brake, mountain bike wheels, but got to talkin' to Geoff and Linus about old bikes. Modern bike stuff is functional and light and generally pretty cool, but it is never as beautiful as old stuff. Geoff has a great old Bianchi with a Campy Super Record grouppo, downtube shifters and all. Classic. It got me to thinking that I need to finish fixing up my old Raleigh DL-1 Tourist and also about "Vive le Tour", the 1962 cycling documentary by Louis Malle. I discovered this gem through Dr. H and the lads from Winnipeg's Fort Garry Bike Club.

Malle, if you don't know, is a very interesting director of non-cycling related films, such as "My Dinner with Andre" which subsequently served as a stepping-stone for Wallace Shawn to eventually star opposite of Andre the Giant in "The Princess Bride" and on "Gossip Girl".

"Vive le Tour" is so fantastic because it isn't really about a bike race, at least to the extent that it isn't interested in the results. It's simply about bicycle racing and the little details that make it so compelling. It's also a great time capsule of the classic era with steel bikes, squeaky brakes, and handlebar-mounted water bottles. Riders wore wool jerseys, silly hats, and spare tires. Women cheer from the roadways in beautiful sundresses and men push riders along while wearing cardigan sweaters rather than Speedos. It was a simpler time, when domistiques had to not only pass water bottles to the team leaders, they had to fill them up from roadside hoses. Yes, there is suffering and triumph, terror and comedy. And, of course, there is doping. It's only about 20 minutes long, but definitely worth your time this rainy weekend.


DukePirate said...

Great! Thanks for finding and posting this Chris.

curveship said...

Beautiful. Much appreciated.