Antoni Folqué i Serres has seen his book published History of cycling in Martorell. 1889-2006, the first to write about this ninety-year-old from Martorell. In 298 pages there is a collection of texts, anecdotes and images that the author has collected to show the evolution of the sport of cycling in our country over 117 years.
The author of this work combined his passion for cycling with his work, first as a shepherd, then as a laborer and finally as a carpenter. His passion for the sport of cycling dates back to 1947, when he began to share many hours with the first president of the Penya Ciclista de Martorell, Ramon de Paz. Then, Folqué himself ended up being the president of the entity, between 1992 and 2014.
The work coincides with the 100th edition of the Cycling Tour of Catalonia, held a few days ago and which once again passed through our town. A race in which six cyclists took part: Maties Gasulla (2 times); Gonçal Sariñena (1); Josep Fisa (2); Jaume Montaña (9); Josep Vidal (7) and Israel Núñez (2). Folqué echoes this work, as well as the international participation -Tour of France and Giro d’Italia- of the cyclists from Martorell with the most awards, Montaña and Vidal.
Folqué went through the program this Thursday, May 6 Martorelletres from Ràdio Martorell to talk about the book and the specific weight of cycling in our country. This is the conversation held with the presenter of the program, Josefina Canals.
-Antoni, when did you think about the possibility of writing this book?
-In my time as president of the Peña Ciclista I started talking to many cyclists and finding out about others from previous eras, with people who had known them. I collected photographs, and when I accumulated many of them I thought that a book could be made about the history of cycling in Martorell. I documented myself at the Museu Antic de Barcelona.
-Fruit of this and years of work, this book has arrived. Has it cost you a lot, to do it?
-It’s the first thing I do in my life, and I’ve tried to do it as well and with as much data as I can. I must say that I do not know how to run the computer, my brother, daughters and granddaughters have helped me a lot in this.
-Where does this passion for cycling come from?
-At a very young age. I lived in Carrer de Sant Joan, in the neighborhood of Can Carreres, and right next door, in Carrer de Sant Lluís, lived Jaume Montaña. Jaume was a cyclist, took part in the Tour of Catalonia every year and, to prepare himself, trained in the neighborhood on his new bicycle. And I paid close attention to it. In my house they bought a bicycle from my brother Miquel so that he could travel to work, but he practically never used it, and I was the one who took it. That’s how my passion for cycling began.
-We understand that mountain ports have been their weakness…
-I have always loved climbing mountain ports. In fact, I’ve uploaded about 190 ports. I have climbed a few around us: in Montserrat, in the Ordal, in Ullastrell, in the plains of Peguera, in the Coll de Pal
-In our house and beyond, right?
-Yes, I have climbed the Catalan and French Pyrenees; in the French, Swedish, Austrian, Italian and German Alps. I have cycled three times a 147-kilometer walk in the Dolomites, passing through 8 mountain passes at more than 2,000 meters. My first race abroad was at the port of Galibier and Lizoart, doing up to 192 kilometers of ascent and 4,500 meters of elevation gain.
-And the interest in collecting the history of cycling in Martorell, where does it come from?
-I was going to repair the bicycle in the workshop of Ramon de Paz, who passed on pure and true cycling to me. When they did races in Martorell I would go to see them, like many other fans. I didn’t know who those runners were then, but when I was older I started researching cycling and the idea of making a book came to me. I discovered that those people who did cycling in Martorell had been very fond of it, had run races and organized the first Cycling Club, and I was amazed. And I started finding out and asking for photos of his relatives.
-Reading the book we can come to the conclusion that in Martorell we have had a lot of tradition. What stage would you stay with, from the entire period of time that comprises your book, and which cyclists would you highlight?
-Perhaps I prefer the stage from the beginning to the Civil War, the stage of Josep Pagès. Also that of Matías Gasulla, who was the first cyclist from Martorell to go to the Volta Ciclista in Catalonia. And after the Civil War, the time of Jaume Muntanya and Josep Vidal, with whom I had a great relationship, stands out. Yes, in Martorell we had very good cyclists!
-Were Montana and Vidal the two great cyclists of Martorell?
-Montaña and Vidal were the great cyclists of their time, they ran with the best. Montaña went to the Giro d’Italia in 1952 when it was very difficult to get there, as he went there for national teams. And Josep Vidal was selected in 1953 for the Giro and the Tour, something unique in Martorell. In addition, Josep Vidal inaugurated the Stelvio Pass, 2,765 meters high, that year. He was the first Catalan to go there. The second was me, a few years later.
-What life did these cyclists in the middle of the last century lead?
-At that time the bicycles had to be bought by them, and the material as well. It’s not like now, that professional cyclists have coaches to get around and big firms that support them. Then if their bike broke down they had to repair it themselves. I always had a great relationship with Montaña and Vidal. Many times they ran towards Gelida and I, at one point along the way, would carry them and throw a glass of soda water around each one. Montaña and Vidal drank, let go of the bottle, I picked it up and went home.
-Is it a hard sport?
-A lot! Competition cycling is a sport that at times is very hard, very hard. You have to be very prepared, take good care of yourself and eat very well. It is a very hard effort if you tackle it at the level of competition.
-At his age, he shows a lot of vitality. How is it done?
-I have always tried to lead a healthy life. As a young man I played a lot on the street and then the sport of cycling helped me a lot to stay healthy. I’ve always said that the best medicine out there for people is to do sports. Everyone with what they like: cycling, swimming, football, hiking in the mountains… there are many ways to do it!
-Finally, we want to ask you to recommend a bike route that we can do around Martorell.
-We can go to the Penedès: to Gelida and Sant Sadurní d’Anoia, and continue depending on the route you want to do, because here there is a wide network of roads, many quiet to pedal, which is very important . I particularly did a route from Sant Sadurní to Can Cartró, Puigdàlber, Sant Pere de Riudebitlles, La Creu, Sant Sadurní and here, and it took me about 80 kilometers. Lately I have made trips from Gelida to Sant Sadurní and back.
Source: Web de notícies de l'Ajuntament de Martorell by martorelldigital.cat.
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