Interesting support vehicles of the cycling world

CyclingCars 880There’s an interesting observation to be made when comparing human versus internal combustion as forms of propulsion. There are obviously exceptions (I’m one of them), but on the whole, ‘car guys’ aren’t typically also into cycling. However, road cyclists usually take at least a passing interest in cool cars. Road bikes are also finely tuned machines, and whilst this is a concept I plan to explore in more detail in a future story, a passion for the bicycle usually overflows into a passion for other mechanical devices.

CyclingCars 881Out an about on my bike during the recent Tour Down Under pro cycling race in Adelaide, I spotted two vehicles that support my theory. The first was this left-hand drive Citroen H van, from Rapha Racing. Rapha produce a range of mighty fine cycling kit, and are suppliers to the Sky Pro Team.

CyclingCars 887The H was produced in France and Belgium from 1947 to 1981 and is known for its distinctive corrugated iron bodywork which adds strength without adding weight, whilst also reducing manufacturing costs. Rapha have fitted their beautifully restored van out with an espresso machine (another cycling institution), and were out all over the hills during race week providing a much needed caffeine shot to the thousands of fans out on their bikes. I spotted it here dispensing much needed relief at the top of Eagle on the Hill, after making a rather sweaty ascent.

CyclingCars 884By far the coolest vehicle I’ve spotted in a long time was this Volvo 240GL Wagon (bet you never thought you’d read those words on Any Given Reason!). The car itself is nothing special, but the fact that it was stickered up as a period European support car for 70’s Belgium cycling champion Eddy Merckx was beyond cool.

CyclingCars 886The detailing was spot on, right down to the Belgium country sticker on the tailgate.

CyclingCars 885All of Merckx’s period sponsors were represented, and it was impossible not to imagine this car climbing the Col du Tourmalet, bearded bicycle mechanics hanging out the back window as woolen kitted spectators yelled and cheered from the sidelines as their champion Merckx races to yet another Tour victory.

CyclingCars 883The Volvo had traveled from Melbourne for the event, and I imagine its owners must have been out on their bikes in the hills watching the racing. Probably the only thing that would add to this picture is seeing the Volvo full of people and their bikes filling the roof mounted racks, slowing climbing up Norton Summit.

Words and photos by Andrew Coles

 

 

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