Wednesday, August 9, 2017

CycleItalia's PIEDMONT CYCLING RESORT


Picture yourself relaxing by this pool.


Or enjoying cucina piemontese cooked and served by Paolo and Davide


Perhaps served with freshly shaved black truffle?


After riding these idyllic road with your friends.


On the edge of this tiny, peaceful village.


Where this fleet of artisan-built (by Favaloro) Made-in-Italy, Campagnolo-equipped bicycles is available for rent.


And a fully BiciSupport equipped workshop is there in case you want to adjust your own bike.


And FREE laundry machines are always available.

How 'bout a guided tour of nearby Casale Monferrato with a wine tasting and light dinner in a vineyard afterwards? Guided truffle hunt? Designer outlet shopping trip? Cooking lessons? Snacks after your ride? Massage for your tired legs? Maybe a guided excursion to cycle the famous climb of Cervinia (Matterhorn) or a day-trip to be measured for a custom bicycle? Wine tasting in Barolo or Barbaresco? Gourmet tasting tour of Torino? See a nearby stage of the Giro d'Italia? Ride in a bici d'epoca event?

All this and more could be yours in 2018 at Piedmont Cycling Resort!

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Uncle Larry's Favorite Road Cycling Shoe

VITTORIA ELITE CYCLING SHOE

Uncle Larry's worn Vittoria cycling shoes for more than two decades. Before this he got free shoes from other sponsors, but he eventually decided to just BUY some good, Italian shoes. Italian shoes have always had a reputation for high-quality and Vittoria is no exception. Of course feet are different and these might not fit you as well as another brand but the fit was the deciding factor all those years ago.

At first, we had road and MTB shoes but gradually stopped bothering with "road" shoes as we phased out other pedal systems in favor of the SPD style with a simple, recessed, two-bolt cleat. No more slipping and sliding on plastic or metal bits contacting the ground, we want secure, rubber grip!

Then we met the Celestino Vercelli family through our friend "Chairman Bill" who used to own Torelli Imports. How fortunate to meet people who make something you already like enough to pay for and then have them become official suppliers!

MTB shoes are kind of overkill with their rugged, lugged soles, but up 'till now there were not many alternatives. When Vittoria introduced their highly-successful "1976" line of  vintage style lace-up shoes, the sole they chose was very interesting. We got some of those right away for our bici d'epoca adventures. Warning: If you worship at the altar of "stiffer is always better" you can stop reading now. This shoe/sole is not for you, though Vittoria does offer full-carbon sole shoes for those who prefer them. We don't.

The 1976 shoe fit and felt like a slipper! Super comfortable but while the lace-up, old time style looked great with our epoca bikes, Larry had doubts about using them with a SPD cleat bolted on, something we skip with our epoca bikes with their old-time clip-and-strap pedals.




Someone at Vittoria must have read his mind because this new shoe was shown at Interbike 2016. That same great sole with a stronger, higher-tech upper. Larry found the stiffness of the 1976 sole just fine and now he had a shoe perfect for riding his own modern bikes with SPD road pedals!


You can see this is a simple, nylon sole with rubber tread and a recess for the cleat (or you can skip the cleat and attach the included plugs, as Larry's done with his 1976 shoes) so they're almost like sneakers off the bike, but have all the performance Larry needs on the bike. Just as with bike frames and wheels, stiffness is over-rated and there can be too much of a good thing when your feet begin to ache from shoes (or frames, wheels) that are too stiff and unyielding.

Vittoria's taken care of Larry's shoe needs for years but Edoardo Vercelli had a bemused look on his face when Larry asked for a pair of these. I guess most folks would ask for the most expensive, high-tech shoe in the line if they were getting them for free, but Larry's had those and thought these would be perfect. Like most shoes the insoles supplied are not great, but once Larry slipped his favorite insole inside - heaven!

The velcro straps and "clicker" buckle work just fine and despite their looks, these shoes ventilate well - something Larry tested in Sicily in June. If walking safely off the bike is important to you, but you don't want to give up the benefits of real cycling shoes, Vittoria's ELITE could be your favorite shoe too!

Grazie VITTORIA!!

Disclaimer: Vittoria Shoes is an official supplier to CycleItalia

Monday, July 24, 2017

La Valorosa 2017

La Valorosa 2017 dei Borghi del Metauro

This bici d'epoca event was the 7th in the Giro d'Italia d'Epoca 2017 series and the only epoca ride (other than Eroica CA) that fit with our schedule this year. That's gonna change for 2018!


The 1st thing Larry always does when he arrives is admire the old bikes. The finish on this one is gorgeous and how'd you like to shift the gears? First, loosen the Q/R skewer via the long rod that goes up the seat stay. Then pedal backwards while selecting your gear using the other rod that controls the forked thing that pushes the chain back and forth.. The dropouts are slanted backward and serrated so the chain tension is taken up. Then close the Q/R skewer and be on your way in your new gear. We've seen this done and it takes less time to do than it took you to read this!!


La Triestina is the second part of the Wilier name but I didn't see WILIER anywhere on this bike.


Gorgeous crankset, eh? Obviously this bike has been carefully restored to probably better than it's original state, but who cares?


Bianchi bikes are of course everywhere, but you don't see too many of these!


Is this REAL gold plating? The pantographing was nice too.


The organizers invited me to the pre-event dinner where this was parked outside. This event was not all that far from Cesanatico, Marco Pantani's hometown and the passions still run high for The Pirate.



Young Giacomo (above) had a very old bike. Youngsters can make it around the course on these old things, but not yours truly!



Americo Severini, 86 years young was out there with a son and grandson! He was a pro rider during the time of Fausto Coppi!


Folks dragged some odd stuff out of the garage for this event. A full-on Moser chrono bike wouldn't be my choice for this course but it was cool to see it in action. Another guy rode a similar OLMO bike with disc wheels front and back!


Here's the start. I saw numbers up to almost 200 so the turnout was good on this very hot day.


The first ristoro came quickly as they wanted all of us to pose on the steps of the museum. Once I find the pages with those photos I'll put up a link. 

A lot of the staff, including the club president were dressed in period costumes and  transported around the course in old cars or on old motorcycles. It was a nice touch.


Larry's Bianchi takes a break while he enjoys some refreshments.


Marco was from Firenze and a veteran of EROICA. We hope to see him next year at EROICA Montalcino, the new name for their primavera event.


One of the really cool things about these events is the locally-made bikes. Adriatico is one I'd never heard of or seen before.


Here's an old Moto Guzzi - called the Falcone. There are lots of these still running in Italy. They're famous for the exposed "meat-slicer" flywheel you can clearly see above.

La Valorosa was a great event! These folks demonstrated their passion and hospitality with a band playing at one of the stops along with the caravan of period vehicles piloted by folks in period costumes. Sadly, it was insanely hot and somehow Larry got talked into riding the long course by the promise of the great scenery. They were right about the great scenery, but despite drinking a ton of water along with other liquids and eating well, Larry had the worst case of leg cramps...ever. The last 20 kms were a real calvary but it was all worth it...or will be once the cramps are gone. I don't think I could have driven home that night and I'm still feeling the effects a day later!

Many thanks to GS Ciclo Club Calcinelli for making me feel like a celebrity!!!


On the drive back from the event we passed by the HQ of the Mercatone Uno company, sponsor of Marco Pantani's team.


One might say they're still exploiting the Pirate's fame, but I prefer to think of this more as a tribute to Pantani, a man widely misunderstood by Anglo-Saxons. He was far more than merely a foil for BigTex. Italians revere him because despite all kinds of misfortunes (crashes caused by vehicles, black cats, etc.) he rose out of his hospital bed time and time again to compete with the best. His tragic death (just like Fausto Coppi's) just adds to the legend. RIP Pirata.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Legendary Climbs 2017 - finale

More photos of Angie and Dave in the mountains



The nice folks at the Rifugio Giau added a CycleItalia maglia to their collection


We concluded the tour (as usual) with a lakeside ride and final climb to the shrine of cycling, Madonna del Ghisallo.

If you're interested in this tour in 2018 let us know now as we'll be offering this (and all of our other guided, point-to-point tours) on an on-demand basis in the future. All it takes is you and a few friends!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Legendary Climbs 2017

This is the "Angie and Dave Show" as they're the only ones up for Legendary Climbs 2017. Heather's off hobknobbing with her fellow philosophical wizards in Greece and Larry's doing the guide duties in the van. So far the weather's been great  and they've having a wonderful time.







Monday, July 10, 2017

World's Best Bicycle*

What would YOUR dream bike be like?


100% Made-in-Italy to start. Of course most all high-end bikes are made in Asian factories these days, but we think Made-in-Italy counts for something more than slogans like "Designed in Italy" or the famous "Adrenalina Italiana" used by others to imply the bikes are Italian when only the names truly are.


Most people believe carbon fiber's the best material for bicycles these days and would ride nothing else. We've now got you covered with 3K full-carbon construction, 100% done in Italy by Michele Favaloro in his tiny shop near Lake Garda. There are no off-the-rack bicycles there, each and every one is made-to-measure. Our small fleet was designed in conjunction with Favaloro to offer the same stable and comfortable ride as the other bikes in our rental fleet as well as being similar in size. Our carbon "Belloni" fits just like our aluminum/carbon "Binda" or our all steel "Bartali" though the new bikes have slightly taller head tubes to allow the bars to be up a bit higher if that's your preference.


At just 8 kg without pedals, these are light without risking safety or security. Both Favaloro's and CycleItalia's names are on these and we're not taking any chances trying to compete with this month's "world's lightest bike". Stability and ride comfort wins out over light weight every time in our book! Larry did some back-to-back test rides to confirm the handling and stability matches the other bikes in our fleet, bikes our clients love.



Campagnolo's POTENZA groupset has received rave reviews from the bike journalists and our clients agree. This stuff really works well, from shifting to braking, easily rivaling the performance of similar-priced groupsets from competitors with names starting with S.

Wheels are strong but light too ,Ursus ATHON's are around 1500 grams a pair and featurre aluminum rims so no worries about brakes overheating/rim failure as has been reported far-too-often with various carbon clincher rims. 150 tpi folding tires add to the great ride while the 34 X 32 low gear lets you spin up the steepest hill ,while the 50 X 12 is still enough to pedal on the fast descents if you dare!

MSRP for a bike exactly like these is just $4950. But they're not off-the-rack, they're made-to-measure so you get a truly custom bike (not just a fancy paint job) for the same (or less) than you'd spend on a big-brand name who spends millions on advertising and promotions.

That's the great part about this - we got EXACTLY what we wanted and you can too. If you don't know exactly what you want CycleItalia, Albabici and Favaloro can help you decide and then Michele will create your dream bike, painted any way you like.

Come ride one of ours and decide for yourself. If enough are interested we might even pay a visit to FAVALORO so you can meet Michele and be personally measured.

* World's Best Bicycle to ride on a CycleItalia vacation in our humble opinion

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Grandi Alpi 2017

Grandi Alpi 2017



The quote from Einstein above, photographed on our way up the Col de Joux, "Life is like riding a bicycle, to keep your balance you have to keep moving" could be a good comment about this mini-Legendary Climbs tour in the Val d'Aosta. The climbs are long and steep so you just have to keep pedaling in a low gear to get up them.



Col de Jeux is a good example. Above you see Chris and Paula celebrating their first climb in the Alpes.


Today we climbed the Gran San Bernardo to the border with Switzerland. Above you see Larry winding his way to to lunch at the top. Even at 8000 feet of elevation we ate outside in warm sunshine. Chris even bought lunch!!! Grazie mille Chris!