Eddy Merckx Metro Station

I hear that Brussels has some museums and such, but I’ve spent my 1st two days here drinking beer from individually-shaped glasses (I got an apology tonight for being served a beer in the ‘wrong’ one!) and taking the metro to the end of Line 5. Here is what I found.


The station is pretty new, and the area around it is hardly worth walking up the stairs to peek at. Luckily, all you need to see is on the platform.


This is the bike Eddy road in Mexico in 1972 when he broke the Hour Record (a long-forgotten achievement that a certain Fabian Cancellara may revive this year). The record – 49.431 km – held fast for 12 years, till a blood-doped Francesco Moser broke it (later rescinded, but for a different reason).

IMG_2330A detail from the head tube – a subtle reminder of which World Champion owns this bike.

IMG_2329As I was crouched down, taking photos of the drivetrain, an older man came up to me and remarked upon the size of Eddy’s chainring. He said it had to be a 54 or 56. He was Belgian, so who was I to argue. You be the judge.


He considered the sprocket on the rear as well and concluded it must be only a 10. His train was coming, so we had no time to confirm this, but I think I count more than 10 teeth. I’m going with 54-14.

IMG_2332Two things hit me as I write this article:

1. There is a country in this world that names subway stations after cyclists.

2. Within 3 minutes of me gawking at this bike I struck up a conversation with a person (he was a cyclist as well, he said) knowledgable enough to make comments on what I was looking at. Even in France, cycling fans are rare to find. I’m getting the impression it might be different up here. If only the weather didn’t suck so bad…

18 thoughts on “Eddy Merckx Metro Station

    • Rear wheel spokes are tied with thin wire 2 to 2 to increase strength around the axis and preserve rim alignment. Who ran in the late 70’s and early 80’s saw this on race bikes. There must be many secrets kept inside these tubes and in the process of building this frame. It was not only the athlete’s exuberance, it was also the expression of a brilliant mind.

  1. After a very thorough analysis I’m saying 52-14. I also had to go look at a picture of a bike chain as I couldn’t recall if mine had holes in it like this one has. To save weight perhaps? And those little coloured diamonds at 6 o’clock on the chainring. World champion colours same as around his picture but without the white? And we even get to see the photographer. Is that the camera you use when cycling? Huge for a jersey pocket.

    • How fast would his cadence have to be to do 50 kph on a 52-14? I got dizzy counting teeth, so I’ll trust your analysis! I saw the diamonds, too. Nice touch. And no, I confiscated my wife’s camera for that project, but thanks for reminding me that I really need to by a new compact..

      • By the way, did you catch that article about the 102 year old setting the hour record (for his age of course) at 26.925 km in the new French velodrome? Very impressive. I don’t think I average that speed on a regular club ride.

  2. Belgium is special because, after soccer, cycling is the most popular sport. Compare the turnout for a cross race in Belgium to anywhere else… I am amazed whenever I go home to see how many cyclist clubs are on the road on the weekend. At my mom’s house, a group of 50+, often with a broom vehicle, would pass EACH minute! (There is a sampling bias of course as I grew up 300m from the “classic” finish of the Tour of Flanders in Meerbeke 🙂 Why did I only buy my first road bike (always have been cycling to school and work on my city bike) in Chicago at too old an age??

    • Jan, you probably want to stand out from the crowd. It explains both why you didn’t have a road bike in Belgium and why you DO in Chicago 😉

      Unfortunately, there’s no riding for me this trip here, unless I get on a Villo bike today.

  3. He claims to have taken the hour record on a 50/14 which means an avg of 110rpm to hold 49kph and change. He might have change the gear afterwards for a different track race as he did a lot of six day racing at the time.
    The head badge has been changed since Mexico because in Mexico it read Windsor (a Mexican cigarette company that wanted to get in on the day)

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