vintage cycling

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I’ve always liked to mine vintage garments and interpret the designs into something fresh. This is especially true of athletic and sporting apparel. So when long-time cyclist Bill Humphreys published “The Jersey Project” I nabbed a copy for my design library.

The Jersey Project is a visual tour of bike racing in the U.S. and Europe over the past few decades through hundreds of images of club and team cycling jerseys.  Each page is filled with jerseys and bits of racing history. From page one I was hooked as I was swept back into the era when I first discovered bikes and the world of bike racing. I would never have dreamed then that the wool jerseys worn by the U.S. riders I rode hip-to-hip with on training rides would end up in a historical compilation!

I’ve been working on my own jersey design project for a client this summer and this wonderfully rich book has been a source of endless inspiration. (I’ll show my work when I get some decent photos!)

For a sneak peak of my most recent jersey design for Marczyk Wine & Spirits check out Poppy Gall Design Studio on facebook here.


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The intersection of art and fashion with sport is always fascinating to me. The collision of state of the art cycling shoes wrapped with vintage images exploring the sport’s rich history is a great example. Clearly cycling is a passion for U.K. based artist James Straffon who has exactingly decoupaged cycling shoes with historic racing memorabilia. Most recently Straffon collaborated with cycling brand Rapha to create a shoe to commemorate the introduction of their new yak leather shoe, the Grand Tour.

When speaking about creating the shoe Straffon claims, “Working on the Rapha Grand Tour shoe was a daunting task. The decoupage needed to sit well with the company ethos. It also had to exist as an embellishment to the already apparent ‘beauty’ of the raw object, and not speak a different aesthetic language. In addition, much trepidation arose when my usual working method introduced resin-coated sanding papers to fine Yak leather. Not a moment for the faint-hearted. Grand Tour was a journey in itself.”

Straffon chose his images carefully. One flank features the line-up of the very first ‘Grand Départ’ in 1903, outside the Café Reveil-Matin, Montgeron, France. Eventual inaugural Tour de France winner Maurice Garin can be seen poised at the far right. The fated 1967 Tour is also honoured, with reference to Stage 13, Marseille to Carpentras, where Tom Simpson died the slopes of the Ventoux. Barry Hoban’s consequent Stage 14 victory is also represented. Merckx, Rivière, and Géminiani are also featured in the subtle interlocking of images.

Straffon has also collaged shoes donated by cycling stars David Millar and Bradley Wiggins. The shoes will be part of a solo exhibit of Straffon’s cycling based works LE TOUR – from maillot jaune to lanterne rouge opening June 30th at Snap Galleries in London.

David Millar’s re-envisioned shoe

Bradley Wiggin’s wonderfully modified shoe


For more cycling inspiration click here.

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Thanks for your notes asking where I’ve been lately as my blog posts have been pretty sparce. All is OK, I’ve just been very busy with multiple studio projects, and my day-to-day life. I have more ideas for my blog than I have time to follow up with. I’ve been  jotting them down in a little notebook that I keep on my desk so I won’t  forget them.

The unusually early arrival of spring has me disoriented. I’ve been straddling two seasons – skiing and cycling. On one hand I’ve been hanging onto the snow, and with the other thinking how nice it is to ride in shorts!

Snow will win out as I’m off to the Alps for a ski tour in a couple of weeks. Getting gear together for trips and getting work squared away before departing is always madness. I suspect that I won’t be very regular about posting for the next few weeks! And hopefully you’re off someplace nice for a spring break too!

Above Luxembourger and astounding climber, Charly Gaul climbs a snowbank lined and muddy road at the 1957 Giro d’Italia. He was called “The Angel of the Mountains”.

From: Cycling’s Golden Age; Heros of the Post War Era 1946-1967


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