The Season of 1953

One of my finds in this year´s Neerkant fleamarket was this bound 1953 volume of the Dutch cycle racing paper

WielesrpfullI snapped it up for a tenner, thinking myself lucky until getting to go through it more closely and finding that someone, hopefully a long time ago, had torn out numerous pages, but there´s still a lot left that´s unusual and interesting.

The book is quite big, 29 x 23 x 3 cms, so my scanner is too small for it and I had to take photos. Hopefully the quality is still palatable.

WSWevoOf course one finds a large number of advertisements. This one unites four legends.

WSStephiThis one, Stephi, is interesting because there was a Stephi bike in Neerkant this year, I think I´ve got the headbadge in my post.

WSSmitRenners zijn kenners – racing men are experts. True, but Julius Smit was one, too.

WSRIHRIH called themselves het rijwiel der Kampioenen – the cycle of champions. Looking at the impressive list of successes, one might agree.

WSRadiumTunulars – which are the best ones? Radium thought they had the answer, but they couldn´t imagine that the dispute would rage on to this day.

WSracesOf course cycling clubs advertised their races – and there were loads of them.

WSBrooksIt seems that even in the day it was little known that Brooks saddles were in vier breedtes verkrijgbaar – available in four widths.

WSGerkinetNow what´s this? There must have been a maker of all sorts of cycle products in Belgium of which I have never heard before – J. & H. Gerkinet in Herstal. And look at the fantastic design of the products. A quick look at the internet shows that they also made motorcycles under the name of Geco, and had been supplying the motor industry for decades when this ad was published. Anyone who can shed more light on this firm?

WSNieuwenhOne very tasty looking bike – helas in a very small pic. Did they make their own frames?

Not only bike firms – there was a major sponsor of cycle racing in the watch trade, too. Ets. A. Kinsbergen S.A., Bussels, were a long established trading house dealing in Swiss watches of good quality, produced by some of the many Swiss private label watch factories under the Pontiac brand. There is one ad to be found on the net which shows a crashed cycle racer with his Pontiac watch still working: “En Pontiac kan tegen een stootje“, a Pontiac doesn´t mind a bump. The racer is looking definitively distressed, but never mind: His watch is a) still working, and b) if it weren´t it would be insured for two years against loss, theft and accidents. Great idea, that.


Insured for two years (bottom photo) against loss – theft – accidents


A wonderful Pontiac sports watch is a useful (X-Mas) present

WSPverzekhochk WSPverschDolf Verschueren says that his Pontiac´s nice. Mine isn´t any more, but it has three stars (as from the sixties, one to four stars would denote quality and price points) and a definite relation to cycling:

On a sombre note, the horrible news also had to be spread:

WSTvL18-year-old racer Tonny van Loen died in hospital on November 1, 1953, after a cycle accident. He had repaired his derailleur, wanted to take his bike for a trial run, and never returned.

Of course there are dozens of racing photos. Here are some to drool over:

WSvierkant WSvanVliet WSvanEstWSTdFWSgangmaker WSFtpgjan WSCoppi WSCopdeRiWSN9


So where to get the following year´s volume from?


  1. Sergio Montes
    Posted April 4, 2015 at 11:01 pm | Permalink | Reply

    It was terribly impressive to see the photos of Arie van Vliet and see his extremely long career. Mentioned in your book from 1935 ( Amateur) to 1951. This for a sprinter is simply extraordinary!
    I well remember his epic battles against one of my heroes, Reg Harris. It was at the end of his career and he prevailed (van Vliet) in a number of occasions.

    Sergio Montes

  2. Posted April 5, 2015 at 6:44 am | Permalink | Reply

    Yes, I agree, van Vliet was impressive. But then, the years immediately before and after WWII seemed to spawn sprinters (Poeske Scheerens, Toni Merkens, Albert Richter…)
    Would you like me to try and find more photos in that vein in the Wielersport volume?

    • Sergio Montes
      Posted April 11, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink | Reply

      Yes, by all means, thanks for the idea. As you say, that generation spawned many superb sprinters, also in France and Italy, even in Argentina.

  3. Rob
    Posted April 7, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Great pic of Wim van Est. I’m sure that’s a Pontiac on his wrist….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.