Category Archives: Italian Bikes and Parts

Things from Italy that we have and that we have seen

Sargent and Co wins L’Eroica

Your initial thoughts no doubt are that this headline is far fetched, a deviation from the truth, but it’s not. Let me explain, right from the beginning.

A few years back Rob headed over to Italy with Frankie Ciao Ciao.When they arrived Rob and Frankie Ciao Ciao recruited Frankie Ciao Ciao’s dad, the threesome then set about a tour of northern Italy to buy some classic bikes.

During this two week tour they stumbled across a heady mix of characters and happened upon some real gems. On day six they met a fella with a road bike shop. The shop was filled with the usual suspects, carbon Pinarello’s, blingin’ De Rosa’s, Colnago’s dripping in Campag. Across the sea of modernity Rob spotted a lone steel steed, she glistened and shined and she said to Rob, ‘I need you, help’ (I think he made this bit up). Rob kept his cool and got his negotiators head on ‘how much, I will give you whatever you want, just let me have her’ he screeched.

The Italian shop owner was pleased with Rob’s outburst, but not because he was greedy, no, he was pleased because he had been reluctant to let her go to the wrong person and he had waited eagerly for someone to come to the shop who would love her as he had, who would give her the life she deserved. Rob, Frankie Ciao Ciao and Frankie Ciao Ciao’s dad wrapped the beautiful Cucchietti in a blanket and lay her in the back of the van.


Fast forward two years.

It was a regular kind of day, Rob was busy fixing stuff, Cassius was stood at the door frightening passers by and Frankie Ciao Ciao was in the basement doing something (we can’t remember what) and in strolled Stu. Stu Bowers to be precise. This Stu fella was after a bike to ride L’Eroica on. As it transpired Stu was a bit of face on the mountain bike scene and a pretty accomplished rider; Rob figured this would stand him in good stead for a race like L’Eroica, because even though it’s a road race on classic bikes and it’s nothing like mountain biking, it famously takes in strade bianche. For those who don’t know strade biancha is a ‘white’ road filled with tiny stones and is reputedly very difficult to ride on, even the most experienced of road riders struggle on the terrain.

A lightbulb appeared above Rob’s head (again I think Rob made this bit up), Stu should ride the Cucchietti, take her back to her rightful home, give her the outing she had been waiting for. And that was that, Rob would restore the bike, get her back up to speed and Stu would take her to Italy.

Go on Stu, you show’em lad

Stu returned to blighty victorious, he had secured the fastest time of the 2012 L’Eroica, covering the 205km in a tad over eight hours; this is a superb time for such a gruelling race. And so we have it, the Cucchietti was rode to glory on her home turf. I suppose you could argue that it was Stu and the bike that won the competition not Sargent and Co, but we like to think that everyone in the tale had a part to play in the hunt for glory.

In November 2012 the Cucchietti came back to Sargent and Co and is now on sale.
Champion Stu Bowers has continued to ride bikes and works as the Deputy Editor of The Cyclist Mag
Rob Sargent continues his quest to return classic bikes to their former glory.
Frankie Ciao Ciao came out of the basement and was never seen again.

Georgie Wood

Grappa Club, opportunities and toasted cake

As with all good cycling holiday stories the conversation was soddened with ‘it was hell, ‘ I wore two pairs of socks over my gloves’, ‘I thought I might die, ‘I took a kamikaze exit down Ventoux because I needed to be warm/eat/dry/hug my mum’.

This particular tale was being relayed by the Grappa Club – called so because they drink grappa. Well if I am going to be pedantic, which I am, they ordered a grappa once; so poignant a moment was the realisation it was 18 euro a shot they aptly named themselves after it. The Grappa Club consists of four blokes who a) ride together when they can b) travel to the continent in a chaotic manner and ride together when they can, c) drank grappa once. One of the fellas lives in Wales, north Wales if I remeber rightly, one is Canadian with a name that confusingly sounds Japanese – I haven’t met these two. The other two I went riding in Hertfordshire with a few sundays ago. Strangely upon entry to the north London county you are greeted with a sign ‘Hertfordshire, county of opportunity’ – I didn’t happen upon a golden ticket, nor did I see anyone who looked like they had, it’s very nice all the same.

Anyway the real purpose of this story is the start and end point; Amici Delicatessen’ in East Finchley, so enjoyable was my experience I felt compelled to write about it. I beg you, don’t be fooled by the unassuming exterior of this family run Italian treasure trove. Me and my Colnago were momentarily transported to the foothills of the Dolomites the other Sunday. Vintage cycling jerseys hang from the ceiling, fresh pastries decorate the counter, the sound of milk being steamed, the smell of fresh espresso, ah heavenly. As I said we started here and we finished here, I won’t bore you with the ride we did in between, but fast forward 50 miles and we are back in the cafe. I ordered toasted pannetone alongside my cappucino, I had never tried toasted cake before, and the cynic inside of me thought perhaps it was going stale, hence it being toasted; well more fool me, it was a taste sensation, I don’t care if that cake was older than me, it was one of the damn finest bits of cake I have eaten. I also had some boquerones (I don’t know what these are called in English or Italian) served with fresh ciabatta, sun dried tomatoes and very tasty, juicy olives. I honestly can’t remember how much this little lot set me back, which is a sure sign it was reasonable.

I conclude that Hertfordshire makes for a pleasant ride, although I don’t think you should get your hopes up regarding opportunities. And that the Amici Delicatessen really is quite special – for one hour of my Sunday, I was lazing on a sunny plaza cooled by a Mediterranean breeze, weary from Alpine plights – and all of this in East Finchley, who’d of thought?

Georgie Wood

Cycling in Italy

This man found this dog in a cardboard box dumped by the river. He took the dog  in and they have been companions ever since. The dog is now 18 years old and can not walk very well so the man carries him in a basket on the front of his bike. He was a very nice man and is an active campaigner  for making Rome a safer city to ride in.

Lago Maggiore, north of Milan.

This wall was inside a bike store I visited in Turbigo, north of Milan. The small town features (most years) in the Giro route and their is a strong sense of pride and love of cycling amongst the town folk. The gent that owned the shop had been a mechanic at 24 Giro d’Italia races. He had a picture of him and Moser on the wall. The walls of the shop were lined with glorious photographs of cycling greats.

Bella Italia.

We didn’t go hell for leather when we went to Italy, we tootled on town bikes. We rode down river paths and across cobbled plazas. We stopped and talked to fishermen and admired their catch. We drank from water fountains at the side of the road and cooled down with our feet dipped in the stream.

Spot the puppy.

This store is owned by an ex pro. He was very passionate about cycling and very fond of talking.I figured if his  legs work as his fast as his jaw it’s no surprise he was a pro.  The store was filled with carbon Wilier Triestinas and the such and their were plenty of lycra clad men with their noses pressed against the store windows admiring the top end machines.

This is Brigola. She looks nice as pie, but she is not. She is viscous and calculating in her impromptu attacks. She has drawn my blood twice. I forgive her because she is cute to look at, but I don’t forget. Her card is marked.

A trip to Italy is not complete without an obligatory trip to some ruins to praise the prowess of Romans. This particular spot,Ostia Antica is the site of the old Roman port town. All the goods would be unloaded from the ships into warehouses here and then transported the 30 or so km into Rome. I took this photo whilst stood at the top of the theatre. I also visited the bar where the sailors would drink after a long journey; unbelievably you can still make out the shape of the oven where the food was baked.

And that was my trip to Italy. It was a real pleasure to explore the city and the countryside on town bikes and take it easy.

Bike pictures on the website

The website has been updated with images and spec’s of some of the bikes in store.

This classic British Youngs touring bike is up on the site as is a rather delicious Viking ‘Tour of Britain’ and a jaw droppingly beautiful Pinarello, (it’s a Lothario that one, I tell you), anyway go and have a butchers for yourself, Sargent and Co.

Scapin

Ready to roll

Claudia, is a keen cyclist and is about to embark on a cycling adventure. Being a young professional lady, she decided to splash some hard earned cash on a new set of wheels for her adventure. A pal of hers had bought a bike from the shop previously and recommended she came and checked us out. She came and checked us out, fell for the Scapin, and that was that. Happy pedaling times ahead for Claudia and her gorgeous new bike.

Ernie Clements/Simocini Road Bike – SOLD

Simoncini are bicycle builders, based near Florence in Italy, they custom build bikes, and it will cost you the best part of 3000 euros to get your mitts on one.

Ernie Clements was a road riding champion, and bicycle shop owner.

Ernie, being an ex champion, knew a good bike when he saw one.

Meet the Ernie Clements/Simocini road bike.

An Italian called Ernie?

By all accounts Ernie was really nice fella, the kind of bloke you would like to buy a bike from.I took this for a wee spin earlier, and it’s as smooth as P Diddys chat up lines.

It’s got a 24 speed Campagnolo Daytona, chainset, and Shimnao RX100 brake callipers. 52 cm frame.

Take it for a spin and feel the force.

£650, fully rebuilt and serviced.

Pinarello for Sale

This Italian bit of bling is best suited for the taller gent, or a long legged lady. It’s a 62 cm frame, so you will need a fine long leg to ride it.

It’s mint. Look at it.

It looks the business

It is the business

It’s an l’object d’art, their’s no denying it.

If you like you can come in and take a closer a look. Don’t touch it though, or Cassius will have your hand off. And I will have the other for good measure.

£950.00 fully rebuilt and serviced.