Friends through the Years

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I get questions all the time why I’m still racing bikes. People that understand the whole sport, and lifestyle, aren’t the people asking. I get so many things from the sport, the bike riding is only a small part. One of the best things is the people I’ve met through the years. I’ve known many of these people since I was a young teenager and they might not still race, but they are as passionate about cycling, probably more passionate, than me.

One of those people is my friend, Mark Winkelman. Mark and I went to high school together at Topeka High. He and I both got into the sport right about the same time, at least the competitive side of the sport. I won the Kansas Intermediate State Championships and Mark was 2nd. He rode the BAK, Bike Across Kansas, when he was 15 years old. And he is going to be riding it again this year.

Mark now lives down near Dallas, and the last couple times I’ve been down there, Mark has gone out of his way and came to see me. When I was racing the Matrix Challenge on Easter, Mark and his wife came by to watch the race. I had a chance to stop by Mark’s home and see his new addition, an upstairs attic remodel, to house his bicycle collection.

He has been collecting stuff for quite a while. He mainly collects 70’s road bikes, all Campagnolo of course. He has the first Masi and Motobecane he rode as a kid. Now he has at least one of every bike he admired as a kid. Schwinn Paramounts, Raleigh 753’s, Motobecane’s Team Champions, lots of Colnagos and Masi’s. He brings them back to concourse condition and knows virtually every single bit of information on each.

Mark also got into collecting, and trading, Mustangs and Shelby Cobras. He has owned and sold quite a few of each, dozens, and now has a beautiful ’69 Mustang GT 500 as his keeper.

Anyway, like I said above, Mark is going to be doing the ride across Kansas next month. I hope I’m in town and can go out and ride a day or two with him. Guys like Mark are the core of our sport. They are the people that keep it in correct historical perspective and have the life long passion that it takes. I’ve been very lucky meeting many of these people throughout my life. I cherish them.

Below are just a few photos from Dallas.

I was out riding on Wednesday and Mark just rolled up at an intersection in his Porsche.

I was out riding on Wednesday and Mark just rolled up at an intersection in his Porsche.

Nice license plate holder.

Nice license plate holder.

Mark and I back in Vineland Kansas in 1975.

Mark and I back in Vineland Kansas in 1975.

Rod Lake, me, Mark and his wife at the Matrix race last month.

Rod Lake, me, Mark and his wife at the Matrix race last month.

Bill and I checking out Mark's Mustang.

Bill and I checking out Mark’s Mustang.

I think he said they only made 300 of these in 1969 and this was one of 17 in this color.  (Might be off a couple either way on both).

I think he said they only made 300 of these in 1969 and this was one of 17 in this color. (Might be off a couple either way on both).

This is the 7th Raleigh Team frame ever built.  The serial # is 7.

This is the 7th Raleigh Team frame ever built. The serial # is 7.

His bike room is super impressive.

His bike room is super impressive.

Bromont gets a little bored always talking bikes.  He's more into birds, rabbits, woods, etc.

Bromont gets a little bored always talking bikes. He’s more into birds, rabbits, woods, etc.

Man, this is a 6 speed, not even a 5 speed freewheel.  They look so small.

Man, this is a 6 speed, not even a 5 speed freewheel. They look so small.

13 thoughts on “Friends through the Years

  1. Clay Moseley

    Wow, that’s super cool. I love stuff like that. Where I grew up here in NM, we had a teacher at our high school who was like this: into classic cars, motorcycles, and of course vintage bikes like Schwinn and Raleigh, etc. He had such a passion for the traditional nature of things and was great at preserving and sharing it like your friend Mark.

    He was so good at it, that many of us in this little NM town were drawn into the sport through his passion. We’d go over to his shop and look at all the cool machines and bikes, and of course the great posters on the wall of Merckx, Coppi, Anquetil, etc. It was just too cool. Among the kids who were pulled into the sport this way were none other than Bart Bowen, plus Roger Marr, myself and a couple of other guys who ended up being some sort of national champion (junior, U-23). Anyway, just rambling here, but your description of Mark and those like him struck a chord…

    Great post!

  2. MM1

    A “life-long passion”, you are so right Steve even about those of us of your age who don’t have your talent but turn out every week for club rides and to help promote races even if we don’t ride them.

  3. Robo

    Couldn’t agree more. I started racing this year, and have been blown away by the support and encouragement I’ve received from guys I only casually knew from local group rides. It’s what has me hooked on racing now – not the actual racing, but the community aspect of it.

  4. Joe

    A few observations: What was with bike fitting in the late 70’s and early 80’s? Huge frames everywhere! I hated that I started on a gigantic bike, a 57cm Schwinn back in 84. I now am down to a 53cm Masi.

    I love that this is truly a lifelong sport. My family and I started in the early 80’s and are still at it today. We just started promoting races again, something we haven’t done in years.

    Clay, you make an incredible point, that there are some of us that our passion for the sport (or something else) is infectious. I have to admit that Steve motivates me, knowing that he is a couple of years older than me, I know that I can get back to an elite level again, and follow in his footsteps.

    But, there is a bigger point to be made here: if we want to grow the sport more, we need more passionate people to infect those around us. Steve’s passion shows, and affects others. I hope that I can do the same.

  5. SB

    like one of my lifelong biker friends says: “I look back on my life and think about the friends who have always been there, the best of the best, they are all cyclists”

  6. Skippy

    Speaking of Cyclist Solidarity causes me to mention that the 5th Cyclist was killed in London this year !

    To mark the disapproval of the Cycling Community the ” Stop Killing Cyclists Community have called an action on 21st May , more details at :

    Cairns , Queensland’s Community marked the 1st Anniversary of another victim of Traffis Violence :

    With the numbers reading your Blog , i would hope that there are some better positioned to attend and will also post to their Social Networks !

    With the loss of Amy D. and other Athletes on the Roads , WorldWide , it is past time that ALL Cycling Safety Org.s combined to create a common agenda to ensure that there are consequences to those that treat Cyclists as road furniture .

    Whilst Chris Horner sits out the Giro del Trentino & Giro d’Italia , has anyone seen any Profi Cyclist speaking out about the Dangers they encounter DAILY ?

  7. kitty

    Frame geometry has changed a LOT, and bikes look a lot smaller now. Leg lengths have NOT changed though. 😉

  8. Christine

    Fantastic post… actually your posts that are in some way a tribute to “friends I’ve made along the way” are always fantastic! Gotta admit that I am equally impressed that you’ve continue to race all these years.

  9. Ken Webb

    I might have been at that Vinland race back in ’75. That’s the only time I can ever remember being in Vinland. I also road part of the BAK ride that first year. Rode up from Wichita to Newton to meet some friends, and they talked me into riding the last few days. Fun times.

  10. Chris G

    Great post. I love the diversity of the posts and your thought process that you freely share. Thank you!

  11. Mark Winkelman

    Steve, I’m flattered and surprised. What a nice piece for you to write. As I commented on one of your posts a while back, I thought the most fun of racing for me in the mid-1970’s was just riding in the car to & from the races with you, Kris, Ed and whoever else happened to be with us. The jokes we’d crack would make me laugh so hard I cried. Great camaraderie. Now when I ride my vintage bikes, thoughts of those days help the Walter Mitty in me to come out. It’s great you went on to be so successful in your long racing career and I continue to be amazed by how strong of a rider you remain, particularly in our advanced years 😉


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