Eddy Merckx’s mechanic calls it a day
Paul Godeau whose bicycle shop and repair service in the Flemish Brabant village of Sint-Genesius-Rode and repair service is known far and wide is to call it a day. Among the many hundreds (if not thousands) of the regular customers of “Rijwielen Godeau” on the Steenweg op Halle is non-other than the cycling legend Eddy Merckx. Now after more than 30 years Paul Godeau (61) has decided to stop once his closing down sale is over he and his wife Brigitte will retire.
In an interview with VRT Radio 2 Flemish Brabant, Paul Godeau looked back at an interesting and varied career in bicycle sales and repairs.
Rijwielen Godeau will start its closing down sale next week and Paul Godeau expects to be able to bow out and start enjoying his retirement before the end of the year. “We start our closing down sale on 2 September. But I will give it my all to assist my customers until the very last”.
Paul Godeau started what as to become a life in cycling as a racing cyclist. However, he earned his reputation behind the scenes as a mechanic. In 1980 he started work at Eddy Merckx’s cycle factory. He worked as a mechanic at no fewer than 6 Tour de France races. As a member of the national cycling team Paul was at nine Cycling World Championships competitions.
"I was there when Rudy Dhaenens became World Champion in 1990 and when Johan Museeuw won the rainbow jersey in Lugano in 1996”, Paul told VRT Radio 2.
By then he had started his own business. Rijwielen Godeau’s reputation extends far beyond Sint-Genesuis-Rode and the neighbouring municipalities. Paul Godeau has customers in 52 municipalities across the country. Over the years he has followed the trends. “At the start everyone wanted an Eddy Merckx racing bike. Then mountain bikes became very popular. These days we sell a lot of electric bikes”.
A laptop in the workshop
Bicycle repair has also evolved over the years. “In addition to traditional tools there is now also a laptop next to the repair bench. This means that some of the charm of has gone out of the trade”.
One thing that hasn’t changed though is the loyalty to Paul Godeau’s business on the part of our greatest cyclist Eddy Merckx. “Eddy Merckx has always carried on supporting me. All these years he has remained a customer for the maintenance of his own personal bikes. From this has developed a long-standing friendship”, Paul Godeau proudly told VRT Radio 2.
Once he retires Paul Godeau says the will devote his time to be supporting the cyclist Remco Evenepoel. He believes that once Remco has recovered from injury “we are going to get a lot of enjoyment out of that lad”.