Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
As one of the best athletes of all time, Eddy Merckx has deservedly appeared on a number of stamps and sheets.
The first Merckx stamp was issued by Ajman in early 1969. It belongs to a set, Champions of Sport, showing several famous cyclists. Eddy Merckx has the lowest value of the set. The stamps were also issued as sheets of one, shown below. On the same day Manama issued a nearly identical set of stamps and sheets. The postal validity of both the Ajman and Manama stamps are questionable. The stamps were basically printed up and canceled to order, i.e. for collectors. Some Socialist countries used to do the same thing in order to get foreign currency. Maybe the best Merckx stamp anyway.
The stamp shows a stylized cyclist from this Italian Giro stamp from 1967 (different color). It celebrates the 50th Giro d'Italia, held in 1967. Gimondi won and Merckx was 9th overall.
In the upper and lower margins you can see cyclists from a stamp issued by Mexico in 1967 for the 1968 Olympic games in Mexico City. Merckx turned pro in 1965 and could not take part (I think).
Cuba issued a stamp in late 1969 showing three cyclists in the 6th Tour of Socialist Cuba (VI Vuelta Ciclistica a Cuba Socialista). One of them is supposedly Eddy Merckx, not sure about that though. It could also be Sergio "Pipian" Martínez, who actually won the 6th tour. The race was in February and the stamp was issued in November. Could not find any information that Merckx would have taken part in the Tour of Cuba. There is a stamp from 1992 showing "Pipian" and I am almost sure that the 1969 stamp also shows him. However, artists quite often draw "generic" cyclists, which of course might look like some famous cyclists of that time.
Ajman again issued four Merckx stamps in 1972. The stamps belong to two sets showing TdF cyclists. On set was printed with silver and one with gold borders. This time Merckx has the highest value of the sets. The stamps were also issued in sheets of 20 (10 different). I don't have any of these.
Let me know if you have any of the stamps I'm missing.
In 1973 Equatorial Guinea issued a set showing stage winners from the 59th edition of Tour de France (1972). The philatelic value of stamps issued by Equatorial Guinea of this time is questionable. Merckx has again the highest value in the set, as appropriate, as he took the over all victory in the 1972 TdF + a bunch of stage wins. There is also a sheet of one showing Merckx and Gimondi, which I don't have. Merckx also won the green jersey in 1972. In this video you can see Merckx giving it to Cyril Guimard who breaks into tears. Merckx seems quite moved also (seen in the video). Guimard had to abandon due to knee problems.
Merckx' bike back then, found here. The burned orange has become a bit too red in the stamp.
The Molteni shirt seems OK. I read somewhere that Molteni produced canned minced meat. Here is Merckx with Ocaña and Poulidor in the 1972 TdF. There is some interesting stuff on YouTube about the battle between Ocaña and Merckx in the 1971 TdF.
In 2010 Belgium issued a stamp to celebrate the 65th birthday of Eddy Merckx. The stamp shows Merckx now and then. Somehow the stamp lacks the greatness that should be there. I don't have this stamp either, pic from here.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
I was just going through Flickr to find some nice bicycle tools to post. As it happens Fixed Gear London just put up a post about the LockWhip V2 & some nice photos at their Flickr. The combined chainwhip, 15mm nut wrench and lockring tool looks tempting...
Thursday, January 13, 2011
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
I don't think anyone actually has done any cycling in space, but I found some stamps showing stationary bikes.
The first four are Soviet stamps, issued in 1980 and 1987. Three of them only show cosmonauts in training, but in the second stamp they are actually in space (Salyut 6 space station). Three of the stamps celebrates the interkosmos space program, which was a Soviet led space program for the socialist countries.
Joint mission with Hungary (Soyuz 36 - May 26, 1980).
Joint mission with Cuba (Soyuz 38 - September 18, 1980). The Salyut 6 space station.
20th anniversary of the Gagarin cosmonaut training centre.
Joint mission with Syria (Soyuz TM-3 - July 22, 1987)
The big rivals in space were of course the Soviet Union and the United States. The Soviets managed to beat US in almost every category except in the most prestigious one, putting a man on the Moon. The US space station Skylab was one of the programs that was not very successful. Skylab was manned for only three short periods in 1973-74. Skylab reentered Earths atmosphere in 1979. The Soviets were first to have a manned space station, but the 1st Skylab crew were the first ones to get back alive.
A funny story found at the Skylab wiki page.
"...The station did not burn up as fast as NASA expected, however. Due to a 4% calculation error, debris landed southeast of Perth, Western Australia... The Shire of Esperance fined the United States $400 for littering, a fine which remained unpaid for 30 years. The fine was paid in April 2009, when radio show host Scott Barley of Highway Radio raised the funds from his morning show listeners and paid the fine on behalf of NASA."
This is a Hungarian sheet of one, issued in 1973, showing the Skylab space station. The members of the 1st (SLM-1) and 2nd (SLM-2) crew are also listed. NASA apparently flew a stationary bike into space, shown in the right margin.
Haha! How fast can you go on a stationary bike. My favorite stationary bike pic ever, by Olli Erkkilä.
Fail or win? Sooner or later you want to get rid of it, in this way you get to have some fun dumping it. Definitely a win.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Every now and then there is some talk about building a new velodrome in Helsinki, but so far nothing has happened.
It is a pic from a program for the Helsinki 1952 Olympic games. It says roughly that "The Helsinki velodrome is a fully modern cycling stadium and as such a suitable venue for hosting the Olympic cycling events" but that was printed almost 60 years ago.
Maybe we just need to send around the hat and buy this one, once they have had their fun on it.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Sunday, January 09, 2011
John and Zach are training at the Helsinki velodrome, which was built for the 1940 Olympic games. As we all know these games were canceled due to WWII. Helsinki instead hosted the games in 1952. The velodrome was designed by Hilding Ekelund in the1930's.
I have a hangover and function as the timekeeper. My job is to keep the riders informed about their lap times around the 400 meter concrete surfaced track. While admiring the functionalist style of the Helsinki velodrome John has time to do some math. He is going around the track a bit faster than Zach and quickly figures out that he would lap Zach every 9th lap, if they would continue at the current speed. However, if they were to ride in opposite directions they would meet every 23rd second. The riders pedal around the track with the same cadence.
1) What is the average speed of the each rider?
2) How many teeth does John and Zach probably have on their cogs? Their bikes have the same wheel size and the same number of teeth on the chain wheels. You can assume they use standard half inch pitch chains, chain wheels and cogs (a long question... but simple to solve).
More or less everyone has already posted this photo by Matt Lingo. A nice set of photos, as usual. I should get my bike tools on the wall. I just don't have a suitable space. Still hesitating putting them on the living room wall. It could look cool, but... maybe not very practical.
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Wheel building is cool. It is surprisingly easy and very satisfying. I have built a few using the advice given in Jobst Brandt's book "the Bicycle Wheel". I copied a few of the pages to have in my tool box as reference.
Should make a time laps movie some day.
If you don't have a proper truing stand you can always improvise.
fixedgear.se discussion forum. Seems to be a proper Bahco wrench.
A bit politically incorrect, but ...