The story of Retrorouleur officially starts in 2014 when our founder Stefan Van Ouytsel was reminded of his family’s cycling legacy when he rediscovered his very first ‘race bike’, a genuine Rik Van Looy track bike, while preparing for the official opening of our new offices.
It was Stefan’s aunt, a former triple Belgian Champion women’s cycling, who arranged this bike for Stefan. She herself, Mariette Laenen, started cycling in 1965 after seeing Rik Van Looy win his third Paris-Roubaix. That year, the Belgians were unbeatable, eight out of the first ten riders were wearing the national tricolore jersey. 1965 Turned out to be a great year for Rik, bringing the Belgian 23 victories.
Anyway… 50 years later, in 2015, Mariette ‘Jetje’ Laenen turns 65. Getting the picture? We had to take this opportunity to celebrate her birthday in style. So we started a ‘little’ retro cycling project as our personal tribute to Stefan’s aunt and Rik ‘The Emperor of Herentals’ Van Looy, who inspired both of them.
However, somewhere along the road things got out of hand, like they usually do when you are having fun playing around…
We found that the story of Retrorouleur moved any genuine lover of cycling history we talked to so we realized we had to give anyone the opportunity to become part of our cycling heritage and create their own retro jersey online. Thus, before we even realized, we ended up creating a new global retro cycling experience: ‘Le Bonheur du Rouleur’.
And that’s how Retrorouleur was born.
Gizmo, our official company dog, is a 1kg heavy short haired male Chihuahua which we adopted in the spring of 2014. Since its appearance at the office, this little creature has inspired us in more than one way.
Moreover: If one dog on the planet can fit the pockets of our retro jerseys, this is the one. That’s why we decided to grant him the honours to be the hero of Retrorouleur.