Thursday, June 27, 2013

Jovanotti In Cannondale Pro Cycling Kit!

Here is one of the greatest Italian musicians of today (Vasco being the other!) wearing a CPC kit that Ivan brought to a concert in Milan recently. He states that it's a rule that pro's have to bring a kit to him after a show!

Jova is the ultimate cycling connection with music. I still remember calling him after a filming session with Daniele Bennati (who gave Jova this Trek), trying to set up an introduction.

He was in Basel in 2011, and a friend of mine working the show got me a set list and this autographed backstage pass!

 Last summer, I got the chance to see him in NYC at a tiny club. This guy sells out huge soccer stadiums in Europe and I got to see him with about 300 other people! The show was amazing.

This, to me, is the soundtrack of cycling in Italy! Of course, when you're riding vintage, the soundtrack changes...

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Happened To Giovanni Valetti?

This documentary (coming this Fall) attempts to find out... Good to see some friends' faces in here!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Copake Antique Bicycle Auction!

Back in April I had the chance to check out the Copake Auction for the first time. We loaded Daisy up in the Honda and headed upstate (NY) to see some REALLY old and valuable bikes.

The first item up for bid was something I'm glad I missed. We were still registering when the framed Major Taylor photograph went up, otherwise I'd be about $700 poorer.

Item eight was the real kicker though. This Cygnet sold for over $24,000! "Less than ten are known to exist." I was lucky enough to get up close and personal with this one... at least for a moment.

I did eventually get around to bidding on some sane items. Even though I overpaid, I dig two of the five postcards that I bought... just for the experience. They are photos from the Kiefholzstraße Velodrom in Berlin as far as I can tell...

The item of the day, however, was Lot #267... this Pierce Four-Cylinder motorcycle, which sold for $166,750! Whoah.

All photos - except for my postcards - linked without permission of the Copake Auction House, the photographer, or the owner!

Final Copake Auction is October 19th... see you there!

Monday, June 10, 2013

American Vintage

Remember the scene in Breaking Away at the end of the movie when Dave says to the new French co-ed, "mon dieu, ze French riders, zey are ze best!" Something close to that at least! At this point, post pump-in-the-spoke, he has totally given up on the mystique and sex appeal of being Italian and has found his new muse.

Greatest. Movie. Ever.

(Oh, be sure to check out this page and this page if you ever visit Bloomington! How many spots are still there?)

I can't say I've gone that far, but after relocating back to New England, it seems there are far fewer Italian vintage bikes to be found and I need to change nazioni. Fortunately, there's plenty of American bike history to be found here in Connecticut, once a hotbed of bicycle production.

The town of Torrington, for example, started as a wool mill town but quickly progressed to brass, sewing needles and eventually bicycle production. Torrington pedals are the standard for vintage American lightweights of a certain period, and the Torrington Company (the former Excelsior Needle Company) was once one of the largest bearing manufacturers in the world. The company at one point worked on the needle bearings for the Cannondale Headshok... 147 years after the formation of the original firm!

This American vintage wormhole has led me to 'new' brands like Iver Johnson, Persons, Lobdell, Torrington, New Departure and Mesinger. I ended up getting a couple Mesinger saddles and much to my surprise, one of them is stamped "Bethel, Conn."!  Hey, I work there!

New Lobdell wood rims for my Iver Johnson

Mesinger saddle from Bethel, CT!

I'm not sure where this will take me. Hopefully I'll be so enamoured with riding my Iver Johnson path racer that it will just end there... but I doubt it!

Saturday, June 8, 2013

New Tires For The Airolg

The Airolg from last year's l'Eroica is back on the road again thanks to a new bar/stem and some new treads.

Somewhere near Siena last October, someone had the bright idea of tossing out carpet tacks in tribute to last summer's Tour de France drama. Don't think it's a new trick - I'm reading the Ganna book and there are reports of Gerbi's tifosi (and Gerbi himself) littering the road with tacks back in the teens (that's the nineteen teens, btw). I ended up with a flat on the front and a smaller spare tubular than the big CX in the rear. It looked a bit odd, but rolled as well as my crude 70-year-old hubs would allow.

Thanks to Stu at and a UCI rule change, I quickly found myself in possession of a bunch of Dugast (gasp!) 34mm diamond tread (otherwise known as Pippistrello's) cross tubulars! They went on tighter than a Vittoria on a Campagnolo clincher rim, but I got 'em on at least, with minimal damage (and rim cement) to the wood rims. The ride is bliss but I have just one question... what's max tire pressure on these things?

Those old bikes have TONS of clearance!

In addition to the new tread, I finally replaced the bar and stem on this beast. When Enzo built it up for me last summer, he loaned me a bar and stem off one of his Gino Bartali bikes. Alas, after the big ride, I went to his house and swapped everything out, buying a 60's set from him. When I got home and mounted them... they were crooked as a Masini-mounted Dugast! My last trip to the boot found me back at Enzo's and again with another set of 60's era metal. Not exactly period-correct, but with these old brake levers mounted and a BUNCH of cloth tape, they do the trick. Enzo was kind enough to throw in the "R" decal!

Love this head tube.

Crazy old shifter.

Enzo threw this decal on. Not sure what it's from, but he liked it.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Time To Start Thinking About l'Eroica

Enzo sent over some photos of the progress of my bike build for this year's Eroica. Keeping with my theme of jumping back a decade each year, for 2013 I hope to ride this 1920's flip-flop bike. It's a "Touring" which, in your best Italian, is kinda pronounced "tower-ing". That doesn't mean it was a touring bike, just a sub-brand of Bianchi. The parts have been nickel plated, the frame painted by a new contact in Reggio Emilia, and now Enzo is midway through the build process.

So now, let's start counting the days until October! Uno... due...

From this...

To this...