Old school is cool
Fashion always repeats itself. This is even true in cycling, where vintage is hot again. In Flanders, more and more cycle tourists wear outfits of Groene Leeuw, Solo-Superia, Flandria or Molteni – the professional teams from the 1950s to 1970s. Older cyclists probably buy these outfits because they are nostalgic about the heroes of their youth. Today’s youngsters also want to wear these shirts because they are trendy. Apparently, they think modern-day cycling outfits are garish and have too much advertising on them. They rather choose the slogan ‘less is more’ and they are wild about the simple, but powerful designs from the past. Some clothing manufacturers even revive former materials, the woollen jumpers, to make them look as ‘real’ as possible. However, the best sold old-school designs are the ones in a contemporary fabric and finishing. For those cycling fans who want to continue the look off the bike there is also a range of Flemish brands that sell the so-called ‘vélo couture’. Coureur du Monde makes polo shirts for explorers, urbanites and everyone else intrigued by the pioneering spirit of yesterday’s cycling heroes. Cycleur de Luxe designs sneakers, inspired by old performance-cycling shoes of the 1950s.
Vintage is thus trendy again and this is not just limited to the shirts of former champions. There is also a growing demand for stylish classic frames from experienced cyclists. More and more young people as well want a vintage racing bicycle, not because they want to ride the same bicycle as their dad or granddad, but because they think the single-speed culture is cool. Bicycle manufacturers, such as Eddy Merckx and Fietsen Kint, go along with this and also launch a range of vintage bicycles. Not because they sell them in great numbers, but to highlight their tradition and respect for this trade. Steel frames stood and indeed still stand for true craftsmanship. The UMX-S by Eddy Merckx and the ‘Classic One’ by Museeuw , for instance, are fine examples of how a modern company can perfectly fit in a vintage bicycle with its marketing.
Some manufacturers in Flanders go even further and exclusively produce vintage under the motto ‘steel is real’. They offer brand-new racing bicycles, made from old-school material. The Vaneenooghe family from Ruiselede perfectly responded to this hype by creating a whole new brand. Their ‘Jaegher’ soon became a trendy label among cycle tourists. The frames are made of high-end Italian and British steel. The weight rivals that of other materials, while the ride quality is incomparable to anything. Dija-Oostcoler from Egem, on the other hand, specialises in the handmade production of vintage roadster bicycles (‘omafietsen’), transport bicycles, and even priests’ bicycles, but with modern materials. The success of their ‘Achielle’ bicycle proves that the trendy city cyclist is riding a vintage bicycle again. These wonderful vintage designs have become all the rage, especially since the American actress Sarah Jessica Parker (from Sex and the City) gets a kick out of such a bike with a vintage feel.
Get your retro gear and join us at the retroronde.