Shoulder to Shoulder is a coffee table book around which groups (or bunches) of cycling enthusiasts will gather to drool over black and white photos from the glory days of competitive racing. They were the days of hand-sown cycling jerseys worn by cyclists from western European countries. The photos are noted as being restored rare and valuable photographs from The Horton Collection, most have been unseen since their original publication. What is the Horton Collection? It is a collection by Shelly and Brett Horton (California) of cycling memorabilia with 15,000 objects and 170,000 vintage photographs.
Subtitled, “Bicycle Racing in the Age of Anquetil”, this book is a collection of 100 photographs and concentrates on the era of French Cyclist, Jacques Anquetil who is described as the most public and accomplished cyclist in the swinging 60’s. Cycling needs a showman and after Fausto Coppi, it was Anquetil, the “cerebral, calculating and distant Frenchman” who took this role before the era of Eddy Merckx.
Anquetil is a reference figure in this collection which includes many cycling personalities who are pictured both in and outside of competition. We see Englishman Tom Simpson playing accordion, Spaniard Federico Bahamontes sprawled on the ground after a crash and Belgian Rik van Looy in the 1963 Berlin 6-Day race along with dozens of other European cyclists.
In comparison to the colourful snapshots of todays cycling photography, these black and white photos often tell a bigger story. Riders have stopped to fill up their bidons with the clear water from a water fountain, a mechanic is reaching out from the team car with an oil bottle to lubricate the derailleur and a lady is hanging out freshly washed cycling kit for an entire team.
There are brief details about each photo and at the rear of the book there are further details are shared, for example outlining the circumstances and other interesting information which provides context. It is unfortunate that these details have been split, and moved to the rear of the book as they belong with the respective photo. I assume a lot of readers won’t have experienced this cycling epoch first-hand, so the details and intrigues are new and would be well placed alongside each photo.
Shoulder to Shoulder is a hardcover book which you can browse and easily become engrossed within. Expect to see it available soon from your book stores. Shoulder to Shoulder is published by Velopress (ISBN 9781937715366).