Monday, January 30, 2023

Winter in Sicily

 Winter in Sicily

Along the Rossana Maiorca trail north of us.

Apologies if you're shoveling snow now, but this is as wintry as it gets here. Pro teams used to come down here for winter training as we've noted before but these days it seems it's all-Spain all-the-time instead?

Heather's other e-bike remains a work-in-progress as Zio Lorenzo has so far failed (though he did find a bar/stem combo she likes!) to sort-out the brakes. This bike didn't have many kilometers on it when it showed up here but so far Zio's noted the brake rotors don't match, there was a loose (and leaking) hose on the rear and the rear brake caliper had a stuck piston!

Her other e-bikes with very similar braking systems have been fine, only requiring some fiddling with the caliper positions to stop the brakes from dragging, but "Fausto" has so far been a pain!

New pads and rotors are going on along with a new rear caliper while various tools for working on these systems have been purchased. Zio thought he might go to his grave never having to work on hydraulic brake stuff, but no-dice! He still hopes to use most of these tools just this one time but he'll have 'em now, just-in-case,

Monday, January 16, 2023

New E-Bike

 Plastic, electric, hydraulic...oh my!

Heather poses with her new bike

But electronic it's not! Zio Lorenzo (her personal mechanic) drew the line there. He's already grudgingly accepted Shimano vs Campagnolo, hydraulic disc braking and electric assist (same as her E-Impulso gravel bike) and now carbon-fiber construction on this Bianchi E-Aria, but Di2 was a bridge too far!

So when it was noted that cable-operated systems on just about everything Shimano were being ditched, it was time to grab one of these before they were all gone.

We waited too long for that but luckily found a barely-used one at a hefty discount off the MSRP. The seller forget to include the charger but luckily the one for the other bike plugs right in.

This one's much more responsive with true roadracing geometry rather than the long and slow handling frame design of the gravel bike. That one, named "Buzz" (as in Lightyear) will stick around for unpaved road rides while "Fausto" (shown above) will get the nod for what passes for asphalt here in Sicily. The lighter weight's a nice bonus as the all-up, ready-to-ride (bottle cages, seatpack, pedals, etc.) weight of "Buzz" is up around 35 lbs while "Fausto" is down to barely 28.

Now all Zio has to do is finish getting the noise and drag out of the brakes (oh, for the daze you just had to make sure the pads were toed-in and the rims were clean....grrrrr) and find a set of handlebars the rider likes and we're good to go! Zio even took it for a short test ride and thought if he ever needed an e-bike he'd try to find another one of these for himself.

Meanwhile, we can take more time on a custom Favaloro e-bike project idea, one with Campagnolo and traditional brakes.

Friday, January 13, 2023

Felice Gimondi

 Felice Gimondi

Felice Gimondi won almost everything there was to win despite racing during the same period as Eddy Merckx.

We have a small connection with the great man - back when Heather first came to Italy during her college days she spent some time with an Italian family in Bergamo. Renato Fossani was an Italian journalist who a few years before came to the USA to cover the Tour of America, a race put on by the Tour de France organizers on the US east coast.

A call went out for interpreters to help with foreign journalists at the race and Heather volunteered. Fossani was one of the journo's she helped and as he left told her if she was ever in Italy to look him up. She was there visiting an aunt in Genoa and decided to do just that!

Turned out that one of his newspaper jobs was as a sort of ghost-writer for the great Italian champ, Gimondi. One day "Foss" (whose brother Giacomo was a coach for Olympic champ Fabio Casartelli when he was a junior and later worked for some pro teams) took her to meet Felice at the office where he sold insurance. She left with an autographed photo and some nice memories.

Years later she went back, this time with yours truly bearing a world champion jersey he'd been using to collect autographs from those who'd worn one. He already had quite a few including Hinault, LeMond, Saronni and Moser and knew that "Foss" would join us later after a dinner honoring the Italian champ. He asked (well, Heather asked) the "Foss" to take the jersey and ask Gimondi to autograph it. Of course he would do that, but turned out her husband had forgotten to bring it!!!

Oh well, "Foss" had to go, saying he was running late and would see us the next day. The next morning as we approached his house, he appeared on the 1st floor balcony and tossed us a couple of jerseys still in their original plastic bags.

You can see one above. Since Heather's idiot husband had forgotten the jersey, "Foss" drove over to another friend's office, a guy he may even have driven to the dinner with - one Pietro Santini. Yep, THAT Santini, a boyhood friend and founder of the cycling clothing company.

"Foss" grabbed a couple of replica jerseys and took those to the dinner, having them autographed and personalized for us by Gimondi! We've since sold off all the other autographed jerseys we had (including the other rainbow) except for these that were stuffed into a box stored in the USA.

We brought them back with us this summer and finally managed to find someone to frame them for us so they can be displayed in our Sicilian home. Ironically, Gimondi suffered a fatal heart attack in Sicily while swimming in the sea not too far north of us.

The B/W photo in the frame with the maglia rosa is the autographed one she got from Gimondi back at that first visit while the color photo in the frame with the rainbow jersey is an autographed one Zio Lorenzo got from the man himself at a bike show when Bianchi brought him over to promote the bike brand he spent most of his career on. 


Tuesday, January 10, 2023


 A Little Help?

Zio Lorenzo HATES stories like these: Guy has fancy health insurance, gets sick and despite a lot of the insanely expensive healthcare bills getting paid, faces financial ruin. WTF? 

Charles Pelkey's a long-time bike guy, Zio met him in-person many years ago at LeTour. You can read more about his situation HERE. Please help if you can. Grazie Mille!

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

Sunday, January 1, 2023

Happy New Year!

 HAPPY 2023!

Seasonal bread

 Best wishes (and buon anno) to everyone for a great 2023!

Our lunch menu

Sunday, December 25, 2022

Xmas Day 2022

 XMAS DAY 2022

Heather & Larry with a little mountain in the background