Don’t know if it’s my age but the ‘90’s were my favourite decade. Not only was the music great – Oasis, Blur, Stone Roses etc but it was one of the most innovative periods in cycling.
OK, I know that morally and ehically riders and teams were pushing the boundries too (we’ll quickly move over the EPO period), but the decade had the Tour won by riders on steel, alloy and carbon framed bikes. Indeed when Big Mig crosed the finish line in 1994 on his (allegedly Pegoretti built) steel Pinarello it was the las time that a steel bike won the Tour. It wasn’t the last time that one was raced – Oliver Naesen rode a steel bike on the Paris stage of the race in 2019.
Aluminium’s time in the sun was not very long – with Tour winners in 95,96 and 97. Rumour has it that Pantani’s Wilier was a re-badged custom built Pesenti Fly with a frame weight of around a kilo.
Pantani’s bike was also innovative because it had a compact frameset with a sloping top tube.
Since then carbon dominated, or should I say made a comeback – teams had been playing around with carbon frames since the ‘80’s. The most prolific manufacturer was TVT who made bikes for La Vie Claire amongst others.
In the early part of the decade aerodynamics became big with the likes of the Lotus superbike that Chris Boardman rode on the track. This was like nothing we’d seen before and the battles between him and Graham Obree are well doccumented.
It was also the last decade that the quill stem was used in anger on the Tour. Gone was the elegant alloy sweep and in came the utilitatian ahead set. Clipless pedals had been around since the ‘80’s, but it was the period when they really took off. Shifters moved from the downtube to the handlebars and by the end of the period nine speeds on the back were commonplace on high end bikes.
The Retro Rideout event is something that I’ve been thinking about for a while. I wanted to run an event that included bikes from the ‘90’s. Not only because of the innovations above, but because I’m of a certain era and it was when I had my golden days before settling down.
Whilst I’ve enjoyed participating in other retro / vintage cycling events I felt that this era was not being covered. That is not to say that bikes from earlier era’s are not welcome – I want the event to be as inclusive as possible. It’s more about run what you brung than getting hung up on whether your brake cable routing is period correct.
I also want the event to be about the ride and not to get distracted by other entertainment. Back in the day, before I’d settled down I used to ride occasionally with a club, but mainly with my mates and we used to go for epic rides in the Peak – out all day, exploring new roads enjoying the company. This is what I’m trying to capture.
Hopefully subject to the lockdown restrictions ending the Retro Rideout will be held in May 2021. For more information, check out the event website.