Vintage Cycling

Vintage Cycling

Many of us, as we get older and have more time, have reunited with our love of cycling. Memories of long summer spins and our glory days soon come flooding back, when no distance was too great and no hill too steep. The only difference is they are now riding a ‘State of the Art’ multi-geared carbon fibre (and to some extent soulless) machine. The Vintage Cycling community is, generally, for people who want to relive their old experiences on a suitable mount and, of course,  to share this experience with newcomers who may not have been fortunate to have a cycling heritage. As a result of this a whole new community has emerged and with it events where like minded people can meet and share their rekindled passion. Events such as l’Eroica in Italy and the OldVelos Cycling Festival in Ireland attract participants from all over the world who come to enjoy not only the cycling but also the comradery.

A very young Oliver McQuaid on Shay Elliotts Helyett. with his brother Seán on his Soens Bros in 1966

Ideally the enthusiasts try to find routes on lesser used roads where they can enjoy their vintage machines. Some have the added pleasure of riding a bike they may have used in the past and have restored it to its former glory themselves, others may have bought a bike, what they generally share is an appreciation of craftsmanship and the art of the bicycle.

Vintage Cycling events are an opportunity to dust down that bike or acquire the bike you once loved or lusted after and enjoy the open road.  Of course if you are dressed in the woolen jerseys, leather cycling shoes and peaked cap of your favorite rider, trade team or club of yesteryear the experience is even better!.

Bicycle and gear rules:

The first rule for participants in Vintage Cycling events is that you must bring a bicycle and you must enjoy riding it!  This is what we expect at OldVelos events. Some events (such as the flagship L’Eroica series) may have stricter criteria such as:-

  • Steel frame (with the exception of Vitus or Alan aluminium frames)
  • Downtube or bar-end levers
  • Non-aero brake levers, i.e. revealed cables
  • Toe-clips