Italians love (in no particular order): Mamma, calcio, ciclismo... and motorcycles and cars! I got tipped off that there was to be a big vintage car/moto/bike swap meet in Italy so - off I went! Early Sunday morning, I was speeding off once again toward the boot with Euros in hand hoping to learn a little and pick up a few of those small finishing parts for my 2 old bikes.
Upon arrival, I had not expected to see such a huge footprint. C.A.M.E.R. (Club Auto Moto d'Epoca Reggiano) took up the entire Reggio nell'Emilia fiera (fairgrounds). Unfortunately, it was mostly motos and cars, but the five or six stands for vintage bikes were put on by the cognoscenti of Italian collectors.
The first stand I loitered at for a few minutes had tubs full of FB cranks, hubs... whatever I would have needed if I wasn't already set. Gaslo tape, brake hoods, saddles, old shoes, wool jerseys, it was all to be found in abundance here, even with just a few stands dedicated to bikes.
Luckily, I overheard a little english which led me to meeting John Barron of Velostuf and Cinelli collecting fame. He, his wife and I proceeded to a few more stands and I was happy to lend a translating hand when needed, although he does pretty good by himself. I was also able to pick up a lot of info, history and tips from him.
The better-known Italians in the vintage world were here, and all proved to be extremely helpful. Guys like Ermes Leonardi, Roberto Doganieri, Enzo Pancari, and Luciano Berruti (who recently opened a museum in Cosseria with a large donation from his collection). Berruti is usually the guy doing l'Eroica on the oldest of bikes, with his long mustache and high wheelers.
So what was my haul, besides a sore back from the 9 hours of driving? Balilla brake hoods, Campy repro hoods, 3 colors of old housing, a new pair of old-style shoes, an Atala bell(!), and three gems... Gaslo bar end caps (these 2 aluminum pieces consistently fetch well over $100 on eBay); an old beat up steel Legnano sign; and an old "cardboard" Bianchi sign. I'll have to post these separately, as I also broke rule #1 - bring a good camera. Here is the best of what I could capture on my iPhone...
Monday I was able to put the new shoes to the test. Donning my best wool jersey and Rapha cap, I took the blue Galmozzi out for a quick spin, climbing an easy hill or two in the large ring (preparing myself for limited gearing on the older bikes). I'll just say... the bike rides like a dream and I'm now HYPER-motivated to do l'Eroica and other vintage randonees.