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Manifest event promises bike racing anecdotes and world’s first bib shorts

Posted by on October 15th, 2009 at 11:37 am

Cover of Parkin’s memoir.

Former professional road racer Joe Parkin, who spent a decade competing in Europe back in the 1980s, will headline an event tomorrow night as part of the ongoing Oregon Manifest.

Parkin was one of the first U.S. racers to compete in Belgium and he’s written about his experiences in a memoir titled, A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer’s Story of Mud, Drugs, Blood, Betrayal, and Beauty in Belgium.

Organizers of tomorrow night’s event, which is being billed as “Wafels en Wielrennen” (Waffles and Bike Racing in Flemish), say we can expect, “some mesmerizing stories, astonishing anecdotes, and Radical Flemish”. If Parkin’s Six Years in a Rain Cape blog is any indication, we won’t be disappointed.

A young Parkin and his “rad hair”.

For example, Parkin got an email from a reader about helmets. Here’s how the Q&A went down:

Joe, you raced and trained in the days before widespread helmet usage. I have cracked a couple of helmets and know half a dozen people who would be permanently injured if they had not been wearing helmets when they crashed. What was different then? Why aren’t there more messed up old bike racers?

Sean, this quite possibly might be the silliest question yet. The answer, obviously, is that we didn’t have to wear helmets and none of us are messed up because we were just so much cooler than the riders now. Plus, we all had rad hair and you just have to let that stuff fly. We were also, generally, super-stylish so we were careful never to tip over on our bikes or let the hair touch the ground because we needed to look good for the drive home.

[Read the full answer here.]

The Parkin event is presented by Castelli US, the Italian-born high-performance bike clothing maker with its US headquarters in Portland. If you arrive early, you can check out their display of old bike racing apparel and memorabilia, which includes what they claim to be “the world’s first pair of bib shorts”.

    Wafels en Wielrennen (Waffles and Bike Racing)
    A Night With Joe Parkin by Castelli US
    7PM to 10PM
    Oregon Manifest Bike Union (539 NW 10th at Hoyt)

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  • Dave October 15, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I have read his book, and wish I could hear him speak. If Mr. Parkin was as much of a racer as he is a writer, he’d have palmares beyond Eddy Merckx, Lance Armstrong, Greg Lemond, and Fausto Coppi combined.

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  • Erik October 15, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    The best biking-lifestyle book I have ever read. Check it out. Not a feel-good book, not depressing, it just seems “real.”

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  • old& slow October 15, 2009 at 12:26 pm

    Great book, the guy is the real deal.

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  • vanfunky matthew October 17, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    the event was decent but bike parking? what bike parking? dismal….. absolutely no additional racks for a bike event? and why can’t folks lock the front of their bikes to staple racks so more than two people can use them? was tempted to move a bike to fit mine in but didn’t want someone to vandalize my ride.

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  • Anonymous October 19, 2009 at 5:51 am

    Did anyone else catch the reference to a local racer in the book.

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