Saturday, September 20, 2014

And a Tribute to Coppi...

I've had this design for four years now. I finally have a use for it. I'm going out on a limb here to say that Paul and Dylan will be the only toddlers with Fausto Coppi / Campagnolo Cambio Corsa t-shirts on...

Front is the design of the two levers and translates to "... good enough for Fausto, good enough for me" while the back states "All I need are two levers and four gears".

l'Eroica T-Shirts for the Boys!

Dylan and Paul will be supporting me in style in a couple of weeks, sporting these one-off Cicli Masini supporter t-shirts I just made.

"Forza, Babbo" is a very Tuscan "Go, Daddy!" while "te brüsa tanto 'l cü!" is a take on the Ganna quote of "my ass is on fire!" This time, however, it's "your butt is on fire!" just to keep it safe for the under-two crowd.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Cicli Masini Welcomes New Sponsor Challenge Strada Biancha Tires!

A business friend from way back in the Saeco days when his Oval TT forks and bars, Morgan Nicol is another one of those really connected guys in the pro road team world. He was the one who introduced me (and Cannondale at the time) to the 3M team in Belgium as well. Now with Challenge, Morgan and I were discussing all the latest team movements at Interbike when I noticed the Strada Bianca on display.

"If you're going over to l'Eroica again, why don't you try these," said Morgan. And just like that, I was trying to talk my way out of the show with a pair of tubulars wrapped around my neck. Good thing I had an exhibitor badge on (from a competing tire company, no less). So with that, I'm proud to announce that I'm "officially sponsored" by Challenge tires for l'Eroica! Thanks, Morgan!

I told him about my trip to Italy after the Tour this summer where I found my new wooden rimmed wheels in a potato-chip like state. I jokingly asked if he had any super-curvy tubulars in the warehouse but fortunately, Challenge tires has a bit more production control than that!

The one thing you need when you have wide wooden rims is a set of fat, strong tubulars with wide tape (you don't want the tire casing to be glued down or rub on the edge of the rim). These should work perfectly, if only the guys who threw tacks down in 2012 decide to give it a rest this year.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

HandCraftedNOBrand Shoes!

Even more l'Eroica preparation, this time for the feet. I've been using an old pair of cheap black leather cycling replica shoes with a plastic sole... and velcro straps! When they're hidden in the clips and straps, it's not too offensive, but this year I've decided to go all in...

Hand-crafted in Padova by Sergio Calegher and Simone Segalin in their shop that dates back to 1934, these shoes are perfectly-reproduced 1920's shoes that may last me through all my future l'Eroicas. They use antique tools, methods and only the best material. Just a Facebook message away, they responded today with a posting of my finished shoes ready to pick up in Gaiole. They even made a second pair to ensure I was in love with the style and fit.

HandCraftedNOBrand can be found here. Order yours now and you may get them in time for l'Eroica! Don't let the price of their fashion shoes and boots scare you away... I may start saving up for a pair of those now!

Getting the boys ready for l'Eroica!

Yeah, I said it. Crazy or not, we're taking the boys to Europe in a couple of weeks while they still fly 'free'. Quotations because I'm not so sure $1000 in taxes on free tickets qualifies as 'free' anymore.

We're taking the opportunity to see all or most of our Swiss and Italian friends, landing in Zurich and spending a couple days in Basel before heading South to paradise. We'll be at the start of Milano-Torino to see our Milanese friends and the pro cycling crowd, then East to see all my Liquigas-era friends in the Veneto before heading to Tuscany. Janelle has a friend with a 'castle' near Siena, where we'll stay through l'Eroica (I know, nice friend, huh!?!).

That said, in addition to their knickers, poor-boy hats and argyle socks, Dylan and Paul intend to be the best-dressed vintage infants at the event! Some Photoshopping and ironing of logos, and we're now ready for a bit of sewing to make these Stucchi and Bianchi jerseys real!

Paul is already walking a half-dozen steps at a time and we're pretty sure Dylan will take his first steps while in Italy... it's going to be an interesting trip!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Cicli Masini SN 2 is almost ready!

This Evo frame has been in the hands of Chuck, my expert painter, for some time now. The good news is that it's almost finished and I can get that EPS group mounted up and get back on the road in time to get 'in shape' (I realise this is a relative term) for l'Eroica!

After this Cicli Masini bike, the Masini Evo should be a worthy follow up!

Matches the jersey perfectly.

Just a little touch up left. But, difficult straight lines on non-straight tubes.

Monday, July 21, 2014

And Finally... My Bianchi!

Doing the long course at l'Eroica on a bike from the 20's or 30's requires a bit of planning. With that in mind, so does long-term bike collecting! My goal was to get an Italian racing bike from each of these pre-derailleur periods: giraruota (flip-flop); Vittoria Margherita; Cambio Corsa and Paris-Roubaix; and then add an early Simplex model. With that done, the next thought becomes making sure that each piece is a worthy model... meaning, each bike from those periods needs to be something special, or a brand/team/builder that meant something in the day.

So, to make room, I sadly sold the Galmozzi to Gunnar - he'll enjoy it more - even though it may be my favorite builder and one of the rarest bike I have (had). And now the thoughts turn to the Vittoria Margherita. The Airolg, even though a sub-brand of Gloria, just doesn't do it for me anymore. The parts on it have some 60's items mounted, the hubs are downright crap and need relaced to the wood rims, paint job stinks, etc etc. It's going to be parted out and sold as well...

So I have a TouringLegnano, Gloria, Masini ; ) and that means the only thing really missing is... a Bianchi! While at Enzo's I mentioned my plans. 'No, you just can't find those much' or something similar. Which is really code for 'I have a pile of frames, bikes and projects that match what you're looking for but I'm not really selling'. With persistence, I finally got him to remember the 1936 Bianchi Folgore with cambio corsa dropouts that is already painted, in my size or thereabout, and that he has no time to finish and get to market before l'Eroica!


THIS will be my bike for l'Eroica 2015. Now, if any of you good readers are in possession of a pair of 30's Bianchi / Universal brakes, hubs or cranks, please let me know... This one will be mounted up with what I can spare from the Airolg and then slowly replaced by the 'impossible to find' (read: expensive) Bianchi period-correct parts.

This one won't actually get a cambio corsa... but the Vittoria Margherita will go in its place, along with the Ghisallo rims and the rest. 

I've said it many times before, but this should finish the collection!

My Steed for l'Eroica

After my stint at the Tour, I headed to Italy for a couple of days. I made it to Enzo's, where I wanted to put the finishing touches on my bike for l'Eroica.

The major item I wanted to do was to glue my tires down. When I pulled the bike down from the hook in the back room and put it in the stand... I noticed that the wooden rims were WAY wonky. Like half an inch out of true! Now, wood rims are what the Italians like to call "alive", which means they are very subject to environmental inputs, and I am pretty sure these got a bit humid in the past six months. But this was ridiculous! I think you can even see the sway in the second photo! Anyway, we'll get it worked out eventually.

This Touring (brand name, not style, btw) is from the 20's and was a sub-brand of Bianchi... more on that next post!

So without further delay... here is the bike I'll be spending about 14-15 hours on this coming October 5.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Three Late 80's Campagnolo Ads

Based on the Syncro ad, these come from 1987 or 1988. I only say that because Syncro II was introduced in 1989. Great ads from Vicenza. Click each for a HUGE view. Yeah, the scanner is warm this week!

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Klein, Tinker and Record OR

While we're on the topic... One of the nice things with the new job is that I can continue to work with bmx and mtb icon and all around nice guy Tinker Juarez. I first met Tinker back in 1994 when he started with Volvo/Cannondale and started working with him in 2003 with Siemens/Cannondale when I first moved to Europe to run the sports marketing gig.

But this story dates back to 1990 - 1993 when Tinker raced for Klein and they ran the Campagnolo Record OR group that I lusted after. To boot, he also raced the Attitude and Adroit, other objects of desire. Talk about great paint jobs - I'd still buy one of these frames! Of course, I'd have to find those chainring bolts and all the rest to build it up 'properly'. They still show up on eBay, but at stratospheric prices. I know, it may have performed like crap, but when it worked, it worked and looked like jewelry, not exactly a quality you need when riding in the mud, but hey...

And where to find an etto helmet!?!

Greatest mtb paint job of all time...

In appreciation of the Campagnolo Record OR group

Digging through the filing cabinet I found the blue folder with "Campy OR" on the tab. twenty two years ago (can't be...) I dreamed of owning this stuff. I eventually got a group that graced a polished Super V and built up into a nice light bike. A few years later I managed to get that group onto a mountain bike tandem. I still have a few parts floating around here and there. If anyone has the proper chainring bolt spacers, I could get the crank back together!

If you'd like these pages for your virtual catalog, they're combined into one pdf here.

Big Changes...

So it's been REALLY quiet for a while here. Here's why - after 20 years, I changed jobs last summer and had twins in the span of three days! Yeah... I know. In addition, this spring we sold the CT house and headed to sunny (and hot) Southern California!

Now working for Sho-Air, I'm working with the Sho-Air / Cannondale mtb team, the US CUP (the richest mtb race series in the world) and... opening up a bike shop on the edge of Orange, CA! Not to mention a number of other interesting things that could bring the shipping company into the sport of cycling even further. Not one day has been the same as another, which is rewarding and keeps things (and hours) interesting!

I loved most of my time at Cannondale, and still count the many friendships as the most valuable thing to take with me from my experience there. Not to mention all the world travel and first-hand work at the greatest bike races in the world, with some of the greatest racers and people in the world.


Thursday, February 13, 2014

R.I.P. Pirata, Pt. II

Argentin, Bugno, LeMond, Cipo, Gibo, Basso, Sagan... there are many others. Important champions during my lifetime. There's one difference with Pantani. He remains the legend to me not just because of his impact on Italian cycling, his tragic operatic life, his incredible fall. He is still a myth to me mainly because I watched him from afar... and thankfully, I never met him. They say you should never meet your heroes. Never got close enough to just meet him, get an autograph, or to know him as a person, friend or as one of 'my riders'.

A forum poster may have summed him up best (I know, what are the odds!?!) - Pantani had higher highs and lower lows than most, which is why his story transcends cycling and is more complex than 'just another doper' who died of an OD.

A little story from "Tutto Pantani" found here and recounted by new Italian ct Davide Cassani... in 1991, Gianni Bugno was deemed unbeatable. He had won the Giro along with three stages, finished second at the Tour, was Italian National Champion, and had just won the World Championship. Late in that year they raced the cronoscalata della Futa, both for pro's and amateurs. Bugno dominated, and Pantani crushed the amateur field but was just seconds off of Bugno's time! Cassani saw the little pirate after the race, with his cycling cap and team sweatsuit on. He wasn't happy to have dominated the race, but was obviously upset and silent, struggling internally with the fact that he had lost... to possibly the greatest pro cyclist of the day! As an amateur, no less!

So this weekend, along with celebrating the wife's birthday, putting Oragel on Dylan's first tooth, and shovelling yet more snow, I'll be watching "Tutto Pantani" and reading "The Death of Marco Pantani" again.

And, if I'm lucky enough to escape the house (we're getting our third snow of at least 8" in a week!), I'll look for a bottle of Giacobazzi Lambrusco... Marco's first big sponsor, and toast Pantani!

R.I.P. Pantani. Les Wampas tribute "Rimini"

Just found this on the eve of the tenth anniversary of Pantani's death. I still remember getting the news on RAI and sitting in utter shock. The songwriter once went to Rimini and thought it was such a sad and dreary place to go and die!

The lyrics of Rimini and the meaning are great... I especially like the last verse when the ghost of il Pirata returns with Blackbeard and their mates, crying vengeance and reducing Rimini to ashes!

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

54 Years Ago Today... Fausto Coppi Passed Away

My first trip to l'Eroica saw me buying lots of old Italian magazines, including this issue of Oggi with  coverage of the funeral of Fausto Coppi.

In 2012, I found myself in Novi Ligure and decided to make the trip up to Castellania to see the Coppi museum, etc. Driving through the thickest fog I've ever encountered, I did eventually manage to break through and see the various tributes to their hero on the sides of otherwise useless brick towers and walls.

As I arrived a bit late (at least for rural Italian towns), the place was virtually deserted. I did manage to see the tomb of Fausto and Serse though.

I decided to wander around the little town and eventually found these two sights, along with oversized posters lit beautifully in the evening street lights. You can tell not much else happened or happens in this town!

The Coppi house was a great sight, if only it were open. Then, as can happen in Italy, I made the rash move to talk to the only person I could find walking around... He took me to his place, found his father, who is the caretaker of certain Coppi properties, is someone's third cousin related to Fausto, you know the deal... Anyway, a few coins to the old gal running the house and we're in Casa Coppi and I'm getting the inside tour from someone who knew the Heron.

Fausto or Serse's room... can't remember anymore!


And with a huge grin on my face and some more purchased books on Coppi, I headed back down to Novi in that thick Piemontese fog.

Viva Fausto!