Friday, May 14, 2021

Don't try this at home!

 It's dangerous out there!


WTF? Geez, what's going on here?
No excuse for that, is there? The driver was thrown out of the race but Zio's fear is he'll be replaced by someone with less skill and experience. The CAR should be out of the race as well.

Perhaps a bigger issue is what WAS going on here? Getting jackets back from an organizer's car - jackets dropped off as soon as the rain stopped, despite the fact they might need them again. There's way too much tossing away of things in the current pro peloton whether it's trash, bottles or clothing. 

Why? Zio's view is that there's too much handing out of stuff, so riders can toss whatever they have that's not needed this very second knowing they can get a replacement almost instantly from the team car or a team staff person at the roadside. They toss bottles still full of fluids as well as food items (not just the wrappers) sometimes within seconds of being handed them and now jackets, expecting somehow they'll be retrieved and returned to them the instant they're needed again.

This needs to end.

Regarding the driving, you know if you've been on a tour with us that we're careful drivers, especially when around cyclists. Our rule is NEVER, EVER, EVER hit a cyclist! Wreck the car, scare the passengers, even shear the bikes off the roof if you have to, but NEVER hit a rider!

One of our support cars

Both of us have experience driving in race caravans, Zio's dates back to the old Coors Classic and Tour DuPont when we'd have official credentials to be out there. Zio's first chance was to be on the same day at the Coors the Campagnolo car went off the road and rolled over on a mountain curve! Luckily he wasn't out there that day but amazingly the driver of that car later called the company we worked for, asking for a job as tour guide! 
We had a good laugh about introducing this guy to the clients - "Remember the guy who rolled the Campy neutral support car? Well, he'll be driving the van you're in!"

BEFORE the crash?

Later at the Tour and Giro we might not have had credentials but we were out there just-the-same, most often trying to get down from a mountain pass through the race traffic. The trick was Zio at the back, would see the race caravan coming up from behind and quickly radio to the boss up front about whether he wanted to jump into the (usually) police-escorted caravan for a quicker trip down the mountain.

If the answer was YES, Zio would pull out into the opposing lane (no cars were going up the road as it was closed) and hold up the oncoming caravan briefly to allow the rest of our entourage to pull over and begin following the parade of team cars down the mountain.

Once we were all in-line and following the official vehicles things would get, well, interesting. Just like the team cars, the driver had to watch out for cyclists on both sides of the road while trying to keep up - in a 9-passenger van with that many bikes on the roof and clients inside vs the much lower-profile team stationwagons and police cars.

Things would get wild and wooly and a few clients feared "losing their lunch" with one memorably taking the boss to task for what he thought was needlessly dangerous activity, but never volunteered to stay up there sitting in stopped traffic for hours or riding his own bike down.

The worst thing that ever happened was at LeTour one day. We'd jumped into a caravan and raced down the mountain until the van just in front of Zio misjudged a bridge curbing (since it was on the side of the road nobody usually drove down the hill on the sharp edge didn't much matter) just a bit and blew out both left-side tires!

He found a spot to pull over with Zio just behind since he knew TWO jacks and spare tires would be needed. Meanwhile the rest of the caravan and our entourage continued down the mountain until a guest grabbed the CB radio microphone and reported the problem. Our entourage then pulled over to wait while the boss fumed, waiting for updates on our progress.

The scene was kind of like a NASCAR pitstop as Zio and other other driver/tour guide jumped out with jacks and spare tires, working quickly to replace the blown-out tires as a client narrated the action to the waiting boss. Just as the boss was going to turn loose the clients waiting in the vans, he got the word we were back underway.

Again Zio had to wait for a police-escorted group of team cars to come by, but this time we were already on the left side of the road, so it was easy to jump in and catch up to our entourage who responded with applause once we came into view.

No matter what, we always vowed to NEVER, EVER, EVER hit any riders. The Giro support car drivers should at least do the same, no?

Saturday, May 8, 2021

It's GIRO Time!

 La Corsa Rosa 2021

It's Giro time! For Zio Lorenzo it's better than Xmas!

How can you not LOVE a race with an official chocolate - NOVI
and official pasta - RANA not to mention official bubbly - ASTORIA

As well as one on live, free-to-air TV* from start to finish every day?

If you want to enjoy it too, check HERE.

W Il GIRO!!!

* Here in Italy anyway

Friday, May 7, 2021

Piedmont Cycling Resort will NOT open in 2021

 Piedmont Cycling Resort will NOT open in 2021

After a lot of careful thought and consultation with our regular clients we have decided NOT to open Piedmont Cycling Resort for 2021.

While we too have heard and read all the encouraging news about "green passes" and tourists again being welcomed into the EU and of course Italy, we have decided to wait until 2022 to reopen Piedmont Cycling Resort when the pandemic (we hope) will just be a bad memory.

We hope you, as well as our friends and partners in Piedmont will understand our decision and look forward to seeing us without masks and social-distancing in 2022.

Stay safe!

Lorenzo & Erica (aka Harry & Leather)

Monday, May 3, 2021

Slam that stem!

 Slam that stem?

Fausto Coppi 1940

We see and hear plenty about not having any spacers under your stem these days. Of course back in "Il Campionissmo"s day the quill stem simply moved up or down inside the steerer tube, but note how low Coppi's position is despite this.

One thing that IS very different these days is the bar shape. Oddly enough modern handlebars with the kind of "drop" you see here are almost non-existent. All of 'em are now "compact" style, some even with horribly uncomfortable curves and drops so short your forearms hit the bars when you try to use 'em.

For us this explains why so few modern cyclists ever ride with their hands down there. Our guess is the rider might actually be more aerodynamic with his/her hands up on the brake hoods than down in these too-shallow drops? That's the way it seems with the pros these days.

This "progress" seems to reduce the useful hand positions as with things "slammed" for most people a bar with traditional drops has too much drop, so these compact things sort of fix it, though the result is the drop position becomes rather useless, meaning you have fewer usable places to put your hands rather than more.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

The Latest Pandemic Update for Italy

 Pandemic News

Some folks out there seem to be getting ahead of themselves about travel to Italy this summer.

This is the most recent news from the US Department of State:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Italy due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in country. Visit the Embassy's COVID-19 page for more information on COVID-19 in Italy. There are restrictions in place affecting U.S. citizen entry into Italy. 

Piedmont Cycling Resort will not be open until this has been rescinded and Zio Lorenzo has received both of his vaccine shots - his second one currently scheduled for July 1, 2021.

Once/if these happen we'll post the news here with more details on when you might be able to join us for la dolce vita in bicicletta this summer.

Until then, stay safe and GET VACCINATED!

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Stop Covid Part ?


Zio Lorenzo has been vaccinated! Yes, the supposedly poor and dysfunctional healthcare system here in Sicily has somehow come through for him, partly due to the efforts of his wife's pestering (via email) various authorities over the past few weeks to get him a slot for a shot as an over 65 resident of Italy.

So yesterday afternoon he showed up, filled out various forms, waited in various lines and spoke to various nice people working at the vaccine center just off our tiny island and eventually (the whole thing was done in 90 minutes) walked out, climbed on his shopping bike and headed home.

With an armful of Astra-Zeneca vaccine and an appointment for a second dose July 1. Was he afraid of this vaccine because it's not currently approved in the USA and has been linked to some blot clot issues like J & J's?

NO, because he checked out the facts. The risks of dangerous blood clots are lower than being hit by lightning and certainly lower than the odds of being hit by a careless motorist while enjoying bike rides almost every day. They are literally "one in a million" and depending on who you ask, not much different than the other vaccines currently in use.

Zio's advice: Get vaccinated with whatever the medical authorities have to offer! PLEASE! The odds of waking up dead from Covid-19 are many, many, many times higher than known risks from any vaccine. The sooner we all get vaccinated the sooner we might be able to enjoy life more without fears of catching or spreading this plague!!!

And the sooner you might be able to join us for la dolce vita in bicicletta at Piedmont Cycling Resort!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Dual disc brakes?

 More brake than you'll ever need!

Ever since disc brakes for road bikes were introduced Zio Lorenzo thought there should be two of 'em up front, just like the ones on the motos he raced back in the day.

Like on "Monster Zero Jr." in the photo above. These 13" floating steel rotors pinched by (then) state-of-the-art Lockheed calipers would stand Junior on his front wheel in an instant if you wanted, or slow you down from 150+ mph in order to make it through turn 1. No fade, just consistent braking, lap after lap.

Zio Lorenzo has a fantasy of a "Super Monster Gravel" bike so he was interested enough to email our friend Mauro Mondonico at Colnago...asking how Campagnolo was able to make the same lever/master cylinder work with one or two brake calipers...

He delighted in revealing (as they call 'em here in Italy) the pesce d'aprile.

Buon lavoro Colnago!!!!