Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Best Bike Shop in the World... According to me... For Sale!

Bike Radar published an article outlining the qualities of the Best Bike Shop in the World. In it, Ben Delaney talks of 'secret codes', memorabilia, good coffee, group rides and cycling clubs. Of course, the most important part of any bike shop are the people.

That's what makes my "best" stand out. Leonardi Racing's Michele and Francesca have become such close friends that I consider him my Italian big brother. And big only starts to describe his personality., while Francesca not only runs the show but is more than willing to indulge in my odd requests like "could you get me an Italian cell phone number" or "what if I hook up this little device that will allow me to watch your Italian tv from the US"? Michele is il sindaco (the mayor) and Francesca is il capo (the boss).

This store is built on the medieval wall of Sansepolcro and was once the first Cannondale-only store in the world. Michele was so good with Headshok forks that he invented many fixes, tunings and tools to make that great suspension fork even greater. Unfortunately, this strength eventually became a point of contention with some who knew better back at corporate and there was a falling out (seems to happen quite a bit there actually).

On top of Headshok fixes, Michele started to experiment in carbon coverings and componentry. The first quick release Lefty hub? Leonardi, of course. Colored Si crank bolts? Likewise.

Michele and another ex-Cannondaler, Fulvio, have taken early component ideas and made a successful aftermarket company, Leonardi Factory, which is slowly taking over Europe in unique mtb offerings. Italy's economic woes and slowing market means that this store is now for sale and my friends will soon relocate to Spain!

The store itself is a biker's paradise. Michele's unique combination of new tech, vintage furniture, classic Cannondale 'stuff' and a shop area that is second to none, with hydraulic bike stands and home-made fork service tools, has made this a shop like no other. It's a shame to see it go, but I know they will be successful in the next step! Unfortunately, that means my l'Eroica motorcycle-mounted lamp may not be as available!

In bocca al lupo, ragazzi!

The entrance to my "Best Bike Shop"!

The Library, with its own Dewey Decimal System! Don't forget the many Dukes of Hazard references

Vintage, race memorabilia... and antiques!?!

Castle walls flank service heaven!

The bar!

The candy store!

"But Michele, don't you know what you could get on eBay for all those classics?!?"

The barber's chair and the "little" hand drill!

Better equipped for Lefty service than Bedford!

The art table!

A shop area like no other...

My l'Eroica support crew!

No comments:

Post a Comment