In this post I’ll again be taking a little break from discussing the best professional cyclists of the sport’s Modern Era. Based on the headline, you’ll know where I’m going with this article, but I should preface this content by letting you know that I’m an Instagram newbie. Shocking I know, and as the owner of an e-commerce-based business realize that this is inexcusable. I am making amends. How so? I’ve decided to dive headfirst into the deep end of the social media swimming pool by going back to school – after a 36-year hiatus – and earning a certificate in Social Media Marketing for Business. Of course, part of this education involves me getting in touch with the real world out there and participating in both Instagram and Facebook (another platform I’ve been horribly derelict in updating with new content).
Next Tuesday (11/15) I will be launching my Instagram page for Peloton Legends, which you’ll be able to find under of username of @pelotolegends. My hope is that I’ll be able to help feed your cycling addiction by filling my page with content which will of course feature famous cyclists from the professional sport, but also images/video related to anything involving the sport of road cycling. Perhaps I’ll even expose you to “stuff” you’ve never seen.
Before I started to create content for my page, I wanted to review the Instagram landscape and see what other cycling sites were on the platform. I was blown away by what I’d found. There’s so much out there. So much good stuff. I guess that’s bound to happen when there are over 1 billion Instagram users. So, before I have anything up on my feed, I’d like to share with you five cool sites that I discovered while I was Instagramming.
This is the Instagram page of professional cycling photographer James Startt. Since Instagram is a visual medium, is there really any better use for this platform than a page which features the work of a photographer who is a master at his craft? I’m no connoisseur of fine art or photography, but I do know what I like, and to me his work is stunning. I’m particularly fond of his black and whites, especially the landscapes and architecture, which are reminiscent of Ansel Adams. The feed is not all about cycling, as per James his site is “My visual notebook of cycling, travel, streets and portraits.” It’s hard to believe that his page only has only 5,532 followers, yet Kim Kardashian has 263 million followers. Yes indeed, some things in life aren’t fair.
L’Eroica is one of my favorite cycling brands, so it’s no surprise that their Instagram page is one of my favorites. For those of you who aren’t familiar, it is an annual non-competitive cycling event which has taken place since 1997 in the Tuscany region of Italy. The theme of the event is vintage cycling, with participants using vintage bikes, accessories, and clothing. The route includes many unpaved roads known in the region as the strade bianche (white roads)(yes, that' yours truly, bringing up the rear in the photo above) . The tagline for the event is The Beauty of Fatigue and the Thrill of Conquest. The original event has blossomed and there are now seven other Eroica events taking place around the globe. This topic deserves its own post since the brand has morphed into its own cottage industry and there’s simply too much to cover here (including the Strade Bianche professional road race, which has its roots in this event). Simply click on the above link to their wonderful Instagram page and you’ll immediately understand what their vibe is all about.
Pictured to the left is the favorite book in my cycling library – Cycling’s Golden Age: Heroes of the Postwar Era, 1946-1967. This hardcover book absolutely, positively must be on every fan’s shelf or coffee table. Yes, it’s that good. It was published in 2006; it’s now out of print, but you can still get it from specialty dealers on Amazon for around $70 and it’s worth every penny. The text is written by Owen Mulholland (who sadly passed away too soon in 2016), but all the extraordinary photographs, trophies, jerseys, memorabilia, and personal items of so many of the legends of our sport pictured in the book come from the personal collection of Shelly and Brett Horton. The Hortons live in San Francisco and back in 2006 they had already amassed an incredible 15,000 objects and 170,000 original vintage photos; I can only imagine the size of that collection now. Their Instagram page regularly posts photos from that huge library and it’s well worth adding them to your feed.
Although this is primarily an e-commerce page, I’ve included it since I love their merch and they do provide their fair share of cycling photography featuring the best professional cyclists from yesteryear. Even though I might technically consider them a “competitor,” since they do sell vintage cycling gifts like I have in my store, their stuff is very different and very cool. They have a fair amount of cycling art, which is something I don’t have in my store and there is even a Greg LeMond collection that includes mugs, t-shirts, art (something else that’s not in my store). Anyway, well worth adding to your feed, and you are guaranteed to find some items that you won’t see anywhere else.
Peloton Tales is a blog featuring stories from the black and white era of road cycling. Their Instagram page is a treasure trove vintage cycling photography. Many of their posts feature images from cycling’s earlier time period, what I call The Heroic Era (turn of the century to 1934), which includes many cyclists who are not part of my Top 100 Cyclists of the Modern Era ranking system. There hasn’t been a post since early October, so I’m hoping that new content will be forthcoming, but in any event, it’s worth taking a look at the page to glance at their collection of images which will provide a great window from which to view the past eras of our sport.
So, there you have it. My five recommendations of some Instagram pages to help feed your cycling addiction. I’m sure there are dozens of other sites that could have easily been included, and I’d love to hear your recommendations on some of your favorite pages, so please leave a comment below. Maybe I’ll even include some of those pages in my next installment of 5 Awesome Instagram Pages. Remember, my @pelotonlegends page will go live on November 15 and I’d love to have you as a follower. I’ll do my best to keep you entertained.
Photos are from the author's personal archive.