Pogliaghi Update: In a ‘Flash’ – Jack called…

A short while ago I started this blog with a post about a Team Canada Pogliaghi build. I had been trying for some time to get in touch with the rumored original owner: Jack ‘Flash’ McCullough, but without any luck. Imagine my surprise when Jack himself left a comment on my post after seeing his own bike for the first time in 20 years!

Jack is a well spoken, funny and humble character whom I thoroughly enjoyed talking to. His story goes something like this:

In early 1971 in the middle of a blisteringly cold Winnipeg winter, Jack and two friends decided to travel to southern Spain to train for the Canadian Nationals and earn a spot on the ’72 Canadian Olympic Track team. The plan was the brainchild of Walter Jozwiak, while Jack McCullough and Marty Halprin were willing participants.

A few years before in 1967 a whole generation of Canadians were inspired by a 17 year old Jocelyn Lovell as he competed in the Pan Am games in Winnipeg. Lovell would make the ’68 Canadian Olympic squad and placed 7th in the 1000m TT at the Mexico City games.

Fast forward back to 1971 were Walter ‘Joz’ Jozwiak had planned an adventure of a lifetime. The trio would travel to southern Spain for training, via Milano, where they would order custom frames from the the Italian masters. The first stop was to visit Cino and Andrea Cinelli. The hosts were gracious and the machines were the beautiful: silver-grey SC models. Next stop: Sante Pogliaghi’s workshop to order track pursuit frames. Jack’s red Pog almost didn’t happen as the old master insisted “SPRINT frames are red, pusuit frames are BLUE!”. Thanks Jack for being stubborn and holding out on that one.

Anyway the boys settled down for the winter and trained on their new Cinelli’s. Jack picked up the name ‘Flash’ from another Canadian touring across Europe who was obsessed with the Rolling Stones. The moniker stuck and even found a spot on the Cinelli’s top tube. The track frames were not completed until the time the gang was headed back to Canada.

Support for national cycling in Canada in the early 1970’s was almost non existent. There were no ‘team bikes’ – whatever ride you owned became a ‘team bike’ if you made the team! Jack recalls that the only free equipment he received in his racing days was a set of 190g road tubulars. There was a little more support at the regional level in Ontario and especially in Quebec.

It was due to his performance under the guidance of his first ‘coach’ at a training camp in Quebec that Jack ‘Flash’ McCullough qualified for for the ’72 Olympic Team. Not in the track discipline as he’d schemed earlier – but rather the team road time trial. It turns out that our original trio did not qualify for the national track team and that Jack was the lone qualifier, for the road team. So the Pogliaghi Pursuit was raced at the regional level, and even boasted a victory over Jocelyn Lovell’s Ontario Team in the 4000m TT, but was not used in the ’72 Olympics or in international competition.

So there you have it. A 1971 Pogliaghi Track Pursuit “Jack Flash” edition. The story around this frame turns out to be about people after all. Jack retired from competitive racing around 1976 after having moved to the west coast, more for financial reasons and to finish his education than anything else. Walter Jozwiak opened Lifesport, a ski and bike shop in Winnipeg where Jack would eventually trade in his Pogliaghi circa 1982.

I look forward to meeting Jack next time he’s in my neck of the woods. Thank you for the wonderful history and a peek into cycling in the early seventies.

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9 Responses to Pogliaghi Update: In a ‘Flash’ – Jack called…

  1. Sprocketboy says:

    What a great story, and what a gorgeous bike!

  2. Andrzej says:

    Gorgeous bike & painting.

  3. Absolutely LOVE this Pogliaghi with an amazing story to match. So great that Jack found this and was able to share the history. You must have flipped when you saw his comment. Thanks so much for posting. Well-done, Dean.

    – kh

  4. 監視器 says:

    Genuinely actually very good web site article.

  5. marty halprin says:

    i still have the blue poghliaghi hanging in my basement , with the white silk #1 tires still on it . i was the lucky one to win the draw and get to keep the original bill of sale for the bikes in 1972 signed by the man himself SANTE POGHLIAGHI . still got it . jack is a real funny guy . we had a blast in spain . as for the cinelli s MR cinelli actually measured us up for our bikes . very cool …… marty halprin

  6. Jack McCullough says:

    Hey, hi Marty! Glad to hear you still have your bike. You really should photograph it and show it online. To continue my own Pog’ saga, I recently bought a minty-looking ’70’s Pog’ road bike from California, sight unseen. I’ll be going to LA soon on business where it coincidentally is, to pick it up. I’ll send both you guys pics, unless, of course, it turns out to be a bag of magic beans…
    (Marty, getting much ‘fig cake’ these days?)

    • marty halprin says:

      jean jacques ……. sorry last visit was just a minute . you know i have a poghliaghi road bike . unridden for over 20 years . hanging in my basement . bought in toronto in 1973 or so . talk about fig cake …. hey walter is on a diet . heading for 176 pounds . i finished the BRECK EPIC with lindsay . a real killer race . marty

  7. Jack McCullough says:

    Sad news. I just heard that Marty died from a heart attack. Here’s a link:

  8. Stephanie Halprin says:

    Hi there
    I was missing my dad (Marty Halprin) terribly, so I decided to google his name to see if I came up with anything interesting….. And I did 🙂 it’s not for sale, but I have the blue pogliaghi that Marty bought on that same trip, along with the journal that he kept and several beautiful old Italian silk and wool jerseys. Not sure if there’s anyone out there who’d like to see them, but I know that Marty liked to share his cool stories and treasures with many… It’s such a cool bike.

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