Hell of the North – Paris-Roubaix


If you aren’t into cycling competitions, you might have never heard of the Paris–Roubaix road race. It’s just one day, starting north of Paris and ending over on the border with Belgium. It’s been around since 1896 – whoa! – making it one of the oldest races out there.

So why is it called Hell of the North? (That almost makes it sound as much fun as the Hotter Than Hell we have here in Texas.) Well, it’s quite famous for rough terrain and cobblestone sectors. Anyone who has bounced along on a less-than-smooth patch of road can confirm that an entire race of stuff like that would be hellish for sure.

But the name actually comes from a description of the race route after WWI. They weren’t even sure the road still existed, but took off to see. Early on, it was fine, in that they saw nothing more than the regular old poverty and war damage. As they got north, however, the stink from broken drains, raw sewage and rotting animals became unbearable. The landscape was full of ragged stumps and mud. The papers described it the next day as the hell of the north and thus the name that stuck.

I’ve got three jerseys here related to the race. The middle one uses another name given the race – Sunday in Hell – which is the name of a film about the race that came out in 1976. Great watch if you’d like to see what this race is really like.

Hell of the North - Paris-Roubaix Men's Cycling JerseyRetro Men's Sunday in Hell Cycling Jersey

Beyond the jerseys, there aren’t a lot of items that related here. There is a poster version of the first jersey’s design and a pair of socks that are actually one racer specific. I did find some great posters and shirts over at RedBubble that are unique interpretations I haven’t seen anywhere else.

Paris-Roubaix Bicycle Race PosterParis Roubaix Unisex T-Shirt

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