Thursday, January 14, 2010

Get Well, Mauricio

I was sad to read the news this morning from Colombia, where Mauricio Soler was injured in a head-on accident with a car while returning home from a training ride. Mauricio has had some tough luck since winning the KOM title and a stage at the Tour back in 2007.

Get well soon, Mauricio!

Better days at the 2007 Tour

On safari with Claudio Corti, Chris Fisher and Paolo Longo Borghini of Team Barloworld in Madikwe Game Reserve near Botswana.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Lunch With Tullio

I was recently in Italy during a state holiday and found THE old bike museum to waste some time at. More on that soon. BUT, being a holiday, I also had a hard time finding some grub for lunch. Driving past a sign for Passo Croce d'Aune proved to be an opportunity I couldn't pass up.

The climb itself isn't too high or steep. At the top is a great little restaurant with great local fare. My quiet table in the back room was eventually overrun by thirty kids from a ski school, but oh well... iPod engaged.

Outside and across the street is the Tullio Campagnolo monument. You see, this is the pass on which Tullio flatted and had trouble opening the wing nuts to take his wheel off. The ensuing idea gave birth to the quick release rear derailleur (and eventually to the Cambio Corsa shifter, my new shifter of choice).

New Year, New Bike Project

2009 had me all interested in old Italian bikes. Particularly, those with Campy's Cambio Corsa.

Imagine climbing a mountain pass with only four or five gears. To change those gears, you have to reach back to the seat stay, open the long q.r. on the rear hub, backpedal while moving another lever which moves the chain, then closing the q.r. only to then resume pedaling! Gino Bartali was the master of the "due leve" and won the 1948 Tour aboard a Legnano with said shifter.

So after much research and bothering of some Italian friends, I've found a Legnano and the matching parts! It seems to be from the late 40's or early 50's (the Cambio Corsa, crude as it was, was used for over 20 years!). There's still lots of work to be done, but hopefully, persistence will pay off and see me toe the start line at the 2010 l'Eroica aboard this beauty.

The frame is in great shape. Color was removed, since the last owner decided it better to slap on a coat of grey. The true Legnano color is a type of olive green lacquer. Purists say that there are few who still know the process to replicate it. I'll come as close as possible.

The rear axle has teeth which allows the rear wheel to move as you shift, taking up the slack of the chain!

Le due leve.

Here's the proof (and also the missing piece). The Legnano headbadge depicts Alberto da Giussano and celebrates the defeat of the German rulers in the 1176 Battle of Legnano.

The rest of the parts are equally sweet. Magistroni crank and bb, Universal brakes, customized Brooks saddle, Ambrosio bars, and original wheels laced to VERY aged Martano rims. I also get a spare set of hubs to lace to wooden rims (riding wheels, the others will be kept for show).

Hopefully, this restoration won't break the bank. I still have to finish the Ciöcc and Atala!