Europese Kampioenschappen

It´s bloody well the greatest sport on earth.

While you watch the cyclists race past at great speeds, you can get so close you feel the air moving. Competitors attain speeds of 50 kph easily, and race past in bunches so close that their bodies nearly touch.


And the banks. Racers sweep up high above the inner sanctum where the teams reside, to swoop down and to gather still more momentum for the all out sprint.


There is Keirin racing…

AKeirin… and Madison…

AMadisonchange… and of course scratch.


The national teams all have their own little spaces…


… with the British proclaiming a Sovereign Area of their own.

ABritishSBATo be honest, the Georgians and the Slovakians also displayed their flags.

There´s the VIP balcony right next to the finish line…

AVipStart… with of course the best spaces reserved for the Press…



… although I´m not sure I envy this photographer his job.

All of this took place last weekend at Apeldoorn/NL in the Omnisport, a five year old multifunctional sports and leisure complex belonging to the Libéma group, Netherland´s biggest leisure concern.


The big hall with the wooden 250 m track can seat 5,000 spectators.


And then, tucked away in a corner of the foyer, there was a row of 27 vintage and veteran bikes, all track machines, cared for by a dozen collectors, turned out in gleaming chrome, colourful paintwork and also authentic battle scars in the form of rust, dents and dullness, but all of them veterans of countless heats on the track.

Harrie Hofstede (find his blog at, a track cyclist and avid collector of track bikes, had had a brainwave and organized this rather different but hugely successful veteran bike event under the auspices of Stalen Ros. He had actually managed to obtain complimentary tickets for all owners of veteran track machines, and not only this guaranteed that all non-participants owning vintage track bikes will start wearing paths in their front lawns running in ovals in desperation wishing they had been at Omnisport. The combination of world class sports and its added historical dimension was very special.


All members of the audience had to walk past the display on the way from the entrance to their seats, many becoming sentimental when viewing the machines, 27 of them, with their headbadges telling of past glory. Some actually asked for a machine to be pulled out of the row to have their photograph taken in front of a veteran bike. Fame at last.

ABP61Pog ABPChavz

ABPGermi ABPGios

ABPJabo ABPLocomo

ABPRaleigh ABPReco



One machine really stood out, a perfectly restored 1934 Russ with Chater-Lea equipment.




Collectors had of course brought their finest bikes, rendering the display resplendent in items like a 1961 Pogliaghi, many famous Dutch marques like RIH and RECO, a wonderful O´Donovan built Raleigh, an old ChAVZ battle horse from Ukraine, a RIH rebadged as a JOCO and many others.

Rick Jansen had brought his marvellous modern machine, the frame of which is self made, excepting the front fork, and which looks great. The photos are his – plain to see.




It was a shame that my camera again was not up to the task, with the added problem that the many visitors were looking for input so that I didn´t have much time to snap the old bikes. Also I had brought some copies of my book on track cycling (Disclaimer: The following is shameless self promotion.), and sales also took time.


I actually sold five of the last few copies remaining. Hooray!

Anyway, Harrie has good photos on his blog.

AReuzefietsOld or new bikes, it is the biggest sport on earth.



  1. Posted October 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Wonderful report, Toni. *blush*
    I actually counted 28 classic track bikes + 1 frame set + 1 new bike retro style.
    Was hoping for 50+ bikes, but for the public it would have been too much and in general just “more of the same”.

    Speed of track racers is that high, that just 1/100 photo’s is sharp enough and well enough timed to display 😉
    Any interesting stories from the young racer from Ukraine?

    • Posted October 22, 2013 at 6:48 am | Permalink | Reply

      Good to know you like the post.

      Sorry, no news yet from Ukraine; I´ll give them a few days to get back home and settle back in.

      Fotos – that´s a sore point. I have been told more than once that my photos are, say, problematic, but this time I thought the lacking focus showed the speed of the riders quite well – best I can do in any case.

  2. Posted October 21, 2013 at 8:11 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for this entry again! Indeed a lovely day on the track.

  3. Posted October 22, 2013 at 10:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Nice report!

    See you next year in Apeldoorn 😉

    Rick Jansen (the guy with the New – Retro bike)

    • Posted October 23, 2013 at 7:52 am | Permalink | Reply

      Rick, good gracious, I forgot to mention you in my report. Could you send something, like a jpg of your card, or a photo of your bike, for me to insert in the blogpost? It´s no problem to edit it.

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