Sunday, July 24, 2016

La Langarola 2016

Larry participated in the first edition of La Langarola today.  Federico (shown below left) met us at the recent La Mitica event, bought us coffee and went on and on about his new event. Sadly, only Larry could attend.

It was a great first-time event!

 Barolo has gotten a bit "touristy" since the last time we explored it, but it's still got charm, including bike racks as you see above.

As usual, plenty of old bikes to admire, including this Bianchi with wooden wheels.

As well as old cars.

Eventually, after some speeches from the organizer and local dignitaries, we were on the road - including many roads we enjoy on our Paradiso in Piemonte tour each year. There was plenty of strada sterrata to keep that old-time feeling.

Above you see a ristoro, in Grinzane Cavour where the mayor was shaking hands and asking how we were enjoying the event. The only thing missing was VINO! Here we were riding through some of the best vineyards on the planet and not a drop of wine to enjoy?! And yours truly was not the only one to notice!

I spotted Fausto from Cuneo because of his jersey, made by our friends at SOIGNEUR. They made a similar one for us that we wear at these epoca events where something warmer than our new  blue NALINI jersey is called for. Today was warm so Larry donned the classic blue with our old-time logo on the front.

Finally, at the last ristoro - some vino! As you can see I was not the only one happy to finally get a taste of the fruits of all these vineyards!

But, after a steep climb on the bike to get there, you then had to climb three flights of stairs!!! But it was worth if for the view....and the vino!

Barolo was proud to host a time trial stage of the Giro d'Italia back in 2014. Larry was there but it rained so much he got back in the car and watched the stage on TV in a warm and dry hotel room. Today the weather was almost perfect, cool in the morning with lots of warmth in the afternoon.

We finished the ride passing some of the best vineyards in the world. Cannubi is prized by many, many producers who have vines planted here.

The post-ride pasta party FINALLY had enough vino...once we got the siphon hose into the huge demi-john that is.....tasted like Nebbiolo to me and was way-above-average for these types of festivities...though EROICA in Tuscany and our friends at the GIOS Raduno did excellent jobs with their wines as well.

Let us know if you're interested in these types of events....we've convinced the organizers of both La Mitica and La Langarola to let you ride one of our "classic" all-steel bikes in their events even though they don't exactly meet the bici d'epoca requirements. We might be able to add these events onto an existing itinerary or offer them as a separate add-on at extra cost. Based on the experience of the folks we brought to La Mitica, we're pretty sure you'll have a great time.

Mille grazie to Federico and all the great folks who worked on this event!!!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Legendary Climbs 2016

Greetings from Legendary Climbs 2016!

Above you see Guido looking cool in his retro Bianchi jersey.

The weather was less-than-great in Cortina...but never gave us time to visit our friends at CICLI CORTINA.

Above you see John and Larry climbing out of Corvara via the Passo Campolongo.

Next up was a favorite, Passo Pordoi. Above you see the group (L-R Dave, John, Larry, Guido and Beth) posing in front of the monument to Fausto Coppi, Tomorrow we tackle the Passo Mendola to get warmed up for the famous Passo Stelvio the following day.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Grandi Alpi 2016

Saluti da Val d'Aosta!

Grandi Alpi has a small, but determined (to have fun) group this year. We're happy that it's not as hot as 2015, but with clear skies and gorgeous views of the Italian Alps.

Jim poses atop cycle, his very first alpine climb.

Antonio joined us here two years ago but this year's weather is much, much better.

Tim's list of climbs conquered would be too long to list here, but he's having fun in the Italian Alps.

Above you see "Harry & Leather" posing with new friend Italo, a fellow we "rescued" on our way up the Gran San Bernardo this morning. He had some fancy new wheels but when he had a flat discovered his spare tube didn't have a valve stem long enough! Ooops! 

He'd also used up his CO2 cartridges trying to inflate the too-short valve stem tube. CycleItalia to the rescue with the proper tube and a proper pump to get him back on the road. When he reached the summit he bought us a round of beers. Grazie Italo!!!

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Vineyards to the Sea 2016

Greetings from ITALIA! Vineyards to the Sea 2016 has been so action-packed we're just now getting around to posting to the blog!

Above you see the group posing in he barrel room at Marenco, one of our favorite wine makers. They treated us to snacks and glasses of chilled Moscato and Brachetto.

To get there we rode along the newly posted wine road as you can see by the sign above. We had a great time on this tour thanks for Malcolm, Barbara, Tamara, John and Jim.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

La Mitica 2016

Another Sunday in Italy, another bici d'epoca event. 

La Mitica started and finished in Castellania, famous for the brothers Coppi. During our recent visit, our friend Piero Coppi asked if we were coming back to take part in this event. We replied that our schedule wouldn't let us, but once we looked closer, Sunday was a day with nothing in particular penciled in. Our More Monferrato clients had departed (except for Don and Cindy, who stayed on to enjoy more cycling in the area) while one Vineyards to the Sea client arrived two days early.

So...why not? we often ask. Don and Cindy were up for a new experience and new arrival Jim thought it was a great idea so we asked the organizers if we could get our friends in despite their (our) bikes not being truly "epoca" if they really got into the spirit of the event along with us. Once we got the OK, we signed everyone up. 

An early morning drive over to Castellania had us searching for cappuccino which we finally found in a bar in a town close to the start. We had plenty of time to pick up our schwag bags and numbers before the 8:30 AM start. A bright, sunny day was on tap as you can see above.

More than once I heard "This is like riding in a museum"...but enough about the riders...the bikes are gorgeous and never get old, especially when they're polished and looked after like this gorgeous MASI. There were too many beautiful bikes to count, sadly no pictures came out of a wonderful FLANDRIA bike said to have been raced by Freddy Maertens. It's owner was decked out in total replica kit, just like the Belgian champion and star of "A Sunday in Hell."

Our friends rode our "standard" rental bikes with steel frame and fork while Jim (above) went a step further and mounted old-time clip-and-strap pedals to better get in the spirit. He donned an old-time wool jersey as well and seemed to enjoy the experience.

Above you see a ristoro in Tortona, complete with pizza, salami panini, fruit, water and both red and white wine plus music and dancing. Don and Cindy were called up as two of the 5 Americans registered for the event and were thanked by the organizers for coming all this way to participate!!

Of course our friend Piero Coppi was there, here you see him with Heather after the pasta party. 

BRAVI to the organizers and MILLE GRAZIE for their help in getting our friends into the event. We've said this time and time again, but the atmosphere and camaraderie at these events reminds us why we took up this sport all those years ago. Bici d'epoca events are a wonderful experience!!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

More Monferrato 2016

Time to catch you up with More Monferrato 2016. After a damp start (everyone came a few days early) the first official day of this tour was, well...spectacular, as you can see in the photos.

The rains cleared the skies so you could see for miles. Photos like these (more likely better ones) probably convinced the UNESCO people to grant this area World Heritage protection recently.

That's the A26 autostrada not too far from Alessandria looking down from the hills a tunnel takes the high-speed traffic through. Our route goes over the top.

Which provides a fabulous view as you can see.

Here's Larry on his way to the hilltop town of LU Monferrato on the same road.

It seems every other road is designated a Strada del Vino - the amount of surface covered with vineyards is mind-boggling!

No vines here, but a nice shot along a road near Conzano.

And it wouldn't be a CycleItalia tour without some mangia bene to go with the pedala forte!

The locals seem to like us here - a cycling cap never fails to get a smile.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Castellania- a Coppi Pilgrimage

Our dear friend Piero Coppi phoned a few weeks ago, wondering when we were going to make our annual pilgrimage to Castellania where he's the ex-mayor as well as first cousin to the the Campionissimo, Fausto Coppi.

To be frank, we weren't sure we'd be able to visit this year, but when Piero Coppi calls, you better answer!

Some emails to our clients arriving early for More Monferrato (which starts today) confirmed they were up for a visit. It's just an hour away in the van, so the plan was to load up the bikes and ride some of the famous "Strade Coppi" to the tiny town of Castellania.

As you can see above, Piero was ready-and-waiting when we arrived. We toasted with not your ordinary sparking wine - he had bottles from Francesco Moser complete with the "51.151" (his hour record distance) label...what a guy!!!

We visited the tombs and the reliquary, complete with some classic stories from Piero about his famous cousins.

And then took a look at a recent installation, a bronze of the Campionissimo created for the 1960 Rome Olympic Games.

Few seem to think this a great likeness of the Campionissimo, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Next, as usual we retreated to Piero's favorite - Osteria del Poeta Pescatore for pranzo.

After a tearful arrivederci to our friend Piero, we capped the day with a visit to the Museo dei Campionissimi in nearby Novi Ligure.

Grazie Piero!!!