The website you are about to visit is the result of more than 30 years of collecting.
No stamps or cigar bands (which I also collected in my youth, of course) but CYCLING SHIRTS, and then only cycling shirts of professional teams.
I started doing this in 1983, after I had visited the Natour criterium in Valkenswaard. During that criterion I saw the local cycling pro Jan Aling from Bladel riding in a shirt from HENK WINTERMANS (the famous apple farmer from Duizel).
I liked that shirt so much that I thought, I'll see if I can't find such a shirt.
After some time I was successful and I went to Bladel on my racing bike to pick up 5 shirts from Jan Aling (Henk Wintermans, HB Alarmsystemen, Marc-Zeepcentrale, B&S-Elro Snacks and B&S road construction materials), not yet knowing that I would had started collecting PRO CYCLING SHIRTS.
In the 1990s my collection took off enormously and I collected many shirts from the past of ex-pros, most people I spoke to then thought it was just a “weird collection”, but I was very fanatical about it.
In the meantime I cycled across town and country to pick up shirts, if it was within cycling distance. But I also received many shirts by mail. Our postman must have cursed me if I had a few packages with shirts again. Fortunately for him, I also started working at the PTT, so I could at least spare him.
At the moment I no longer work at the PTT, but I am a warehouse employee at Nisbets in Eindhoven, and I am also very active within our tour club TC Wilhelmina with setting out and organizing tours. I also organize about 10 tours a year at the Eindhoven cycling cafe de CYKLIST. In the fall I will go by bike again to pick up many cycling shirts in the area, so that my two cycling passions merge again.
There is a long story behind most shirts, especially the really old shirts, but it would take too long to tell all those stories here. Also searches for shirts sometimes go over many discs and sometimes it takes several years before I got a shirt. The AHV Rijen shirt is a textbook example of this.
During a bike ride through the Achterhoek I suddenly saw a car driving with the text AHV HONDENFOER RIJEN, which gave me the courage to look for that shirt again. Previous attempts had failed. Via AHV in Rijen, I came into contact with Barry Adema, after that I ended up with Joost Voesenek, Rini van Roon and Dries van Wijhe. Still without success, in the end two years later I came across Wim van Boven who could help me with a nice shirt. End Good all Good. On the Veluwe I also passed the KELA carpet factory, I thought it was a well-known name and when I got home I saw that this had indeed been a sponsor of a cycling team in the year 1973.
After a long search I came into contact with Peter van Stralen in hippolytushoef, good for a nice bike ride through North Holland. When I arrived in Schagen (by train) it was raining cats and dogs, so I went to Hippolytushoef by car with my cycling buddy from t Veld. The result is another beautiful and unique shirt richer.
A unique search was also for the shirt of the KENYAN RIDERS DOWNUNDER, a team with many riders from Kenya and some Australians and New Zealanders. Emailed many riders and waited again and again and then nothing in the end.
The last Australian would bring a shirt to the Netherlands if he went to race there (spring 2019). When he finally arrived in the Netherlands, he broke off contact, after frequently emailing back and forth in the weeks/months before, so end of story.
Still, I got in touch with Mwangi Samwell from Kenya who was eventually able to help me with a shirt, Mwangi Samwell has only been a professional for 1 year, sustained a serious leg injury during a fall in the first stage of the Tour of Rwanda, but still continued. A few days later another fall where the wound in his leg reopened and became infected. Eventually his leg had to be amputated, but he is still cycling and is on his way to the PARALYMPICS in Tokyo. Good luck to him there, a go-getter deserves a medal. For me in the end for this shirt: All's well that ends well. Hopefully for Mwangi Samwell in Tokyo 2021 as well.
In recent years also found / picked up some shirts during holidays. Found a shirt from NOTEBOOKSBILLIGER.DE in Potsdam. Well worth looking up on the website, a nice and comical shirt (black shirt with a pink pig on it).
Found some shirts from SPARTAK PRAHA in Prague and also picked up 2 shirts from EXPERIMENT 23 in Jablonec nad Nissou. The man in question had had those shirts ready for a few years, because I was sure that I would return to Jablonec in the near future. go, had been there twice before in my childhood as a member of the famous TIVOLI CHOR.
Also picked up some nice shirts in the spring of 2020 in New Zealand and Australia.
Often the result of months of searches, which eventually end successfully.
The counter now stands at almost 2316 shirts from 61 countries and the oldest dates from 1950 & 1952.
The MOST BEAUTIFUL SHIRTS????? There are too many to mention……….
The most dear…
A RAINBOW SHIRT and a YELLOW JERSEY from the Tour de France by BERNARD HINAULT!!!!
Eindhoven, 7 Jan 2021
With sporty regards, Ton Merckx