Thursday, April 26, 2007

Volterra - Massa Marittima - Milan

The 65kms along route No.439 from Volterra to Massa Marittima caught me by surprise. I did not give much consideration to the map, and found myself grovelling. Not that I wasn't expecting some climbing- the first 8kms descended back to Saline de Volterra, and everywhere is uphill from there.

The scenery is somewhat unusual- miles of shiny silverpiping snakes through the hills, and sometimes across the roads, feeding steam to the geothermal power station at Larderello.
The chimneys appear to vent steam from pools of hot water at their base.

25th of April is a public holiday in Italy, in commemoration of Italy's liberation from Fascism in WW2. I was expecting some extra traffic on the roads, but the Italian motoring public seemed to have stayed at home, except for groups of motorcyclists who all thought they were Valentino Rossi, or given their age, perhaps Giacomo Agostini.

I got to Massa Marittima in time for lunch in the town square, before finding my hotel and packing my bike.

The next day the people from the hotel dropped me at the bus stop to begin my return to Milan. After the bus trip to Follonica, I caught the train via Genova to Milan , thence to Saronno via the local Ferrovie Nord service.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

RIGI Sighting

While I was finding my way out of Siena this morning I spotted this RIGI leant outside a hairdressing salon.
The owner came out to talk to me, but the usual communication problems applied. I think he was telling me that this bike is unique. It is certainly unusual insofar as the frame appears to be fillet brazed, while most RIGI frames are lugged.
More photos here on the Wool Jersey Gallery.

Siena to Volterra

Last year I rode in the opposite direction from Volterra to Siena, so I made an effort today to find another route.
I wasn't entirely successful, missing a planned turn early on, but I found an alternative a few kms later that took me away from my previously beaten path.

It is unseasonably hot here, and I was happy to find an osteria in San Dalmazia just when I was starting to wilt. A plate of ravioli, some salad and a beer saw me right.

Last year I arrived in Volterra a total wreck, unprepared for the 450m climb to the town. I was better prepared this time, with plenty of water for rehydration and cooling.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to Massa Marittima, hopefuly to be reunited with my bike case and other possessions, before catching the train back to Milan on Thursday.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Siena, again

This morning I was still munted from yesterday's exertions, so I decided on an easy day.
Radda to Siena is only 28kms, too easy, so I took a detour via the part of the percorso Eroica, starting with the downhill strada bianca through Vertine which is the last section of the 200km ride.
After stopping for coffee in the square at Gaiole, I followed the Eroica signage through three or four stretches of strada biancha before I missed a sign and found myself in sight of Siena's towers. I followed a couple of backroads in the hope of finding lunch at a rustic osteria, but they were dead-ends.
Finally, I got lunch, and Big Boy of Birra Moretti in a restaurant decorated with photos of il Palio, the annual horse race held in the main square of Siena.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Back in Italy

Actually, I've been back here for a week, but Italy's quaint laws about public internet access make internet cafes few and far between.

This afternoon I'm in Radda in Chianti, where I stayed last year for Eroica.
This morning I started in San Gimignano, riding my Ritchey Breakaway to Greve in Chianti for lunch, thence to Radda by the scenic route. I should have had dessert in Greve too, as my bowl of traditional Tuscan bean soup was well & truly burned up on the 8km climb from Dudda through Torsoli.

Yesterday I rode to San Gimigano from Massa Marittima, where I had spent three days at the Continental International Marketing meeting. Click here for a map.

Tomorrow's itinerary is somewhat vague.
If I'm feeling sharp in the morning, I'll head for a new location, if not I'll try to get a second night at the pricey Hotel Radda and do a short loop around Chianti country.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Real Mail

I'm pleased to say that I have got my ebay addiction under control, but regardless, the letterbox continues to bring happiness.
In the last week, two issues of Bicycle Quarterly, the latest Rapha catalog, and Rivendell Reader #39 have kept me happily distracted and, hopefully, better informed.

BQ & RR are keepers, to be stored in the front room and pored over for years to come, but the Rapha catalog is a more ephemeral thrill. Once I get past the visual hooks, their stuff is just too nice to treat as mere cycling kit.
I could go for a pair of their Grand Tour mitts though, if only because the accompanying photo evokes the famous image of the young Louison Bobet in the broom wagon of the 1949 Tour de France.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

70s Cecil Walker on ebay

This bike is three years older than my Cecil Walker, and in much better condition, with it's paint and stickers intact.
My, presumably 1981, bike has an investment cast sloping fork crown, and brazed on toptube cable guides but otherwise the two frames could be identical.
While my Cecil Walker showed signs of a hard life before it came to me, this one is a bonafide late 70's time capsule.

Listed on ebay as :
Cecil Walker Professional Road Bike 1978
Item number:130095234055

Campagnolo, Reynolds 531, Haden Lugs,

Cecil Walker Professional Road Racing Bike 1978. Equiped with the highest quality parts available at the time. Frame Number 78046.
Frame size, seat tube 60cms ctc. top tube 57cms ctc.
This bike is in fine original condition having all the hallmarks of quality. Frame colour is metallic Red and is in excellent condition, having only a few minor marks.
Cecil Walker bikes have been built from the 1930's. I think they are still in production. Cecil Walker was a Champion Australian Cyclist who had international success in the 1920's.
Here are the specs.
Reynolds 531 Double Butted Tubing, Haden Lugset..... has the original Haden transfer.
Campagnolo Fork Ends.
Cinelli Alloy Road Bars with old logo, width 38cms ctc. Handlebar tape has been
replaced, brake hoods are also a New Old Stock Era Correct Campagnolo Replacent, as the originals were perished. Cinelli Milano Alloy Stem 115mm ctc. long.
Seat Post Campagnolo 27.2mm original , some scratches, seat is a Cinelli Suede Original and has some wear.
Wheels are Mavic Alloy 36 Holes laced to Campagnolo High Flange Record Hubs, Spokes are Double Butted, all original to this bike. I have fitted a Pair Of New Old Stock D'alessandro era correct singles to these rims.
Original Campagnolo Chainset, 54/44 Rear is
a 5 speed. Rear Derailleur Nuovo Record, front also an original to this bike. Original Campagnolo Friction Gear Levers and Cable Fasteners.
Pedals are Japanese, hard for me to say that, but there you have it,
Seat Binder Bolt is missing.
As you can see, this bike is in fabulous original condition, having been left in this state since new, only the tyres, hoods and bar tape have been replaced, the rest is original to the bike.
This bike would have been on a par with any other imported Colnago or such from the time and was quite a costly investment in it's day.
Your opportunity to add to your collection a high quality complete racing bike from the 70's.