Monday, May 22, 2017

New NALINI summer jersey!

Just when you think you have everything...

 Above: our jersey admires the seaside at Ortigia in Sicily

Awhile back we wanted a lightweight mesh jersey for warm weather. Our former supplier came up with a nice one that proved popular enough that our stocks ran low (though we do have a few left at our Italian HQ) for awhile.

 Above: Heather models the new jersey (front)

That's been fixed now as our friends at Nalini created this one for us and we now have a complete stock of all popular sizes. We chose a fine mesh to keep you cool and a fabric that dries quickly.

and back.

As you can see the design has been updated a bit, but not so much that it'll make your other CycleItalia jerseys look outdated or you look out-of-place riding on one of our tours with others in the original version.

Best-of-all, you can get one for yourself easily. Of course they're available from us directly in Italy as part of your tour, but they can also be found online

Quantities are limited so don't wait if you want to be cool this summer!!

PS-looks great with the Limar tricolore helmet, no? We've been trying to get these available again online. Let us know if you want one, we'll start lobbying again.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

10 years ago

Above: Uncle Larry aboard his vintage Bianchi at La Langarola 2016

2007 seems like a looong time ago. Back then we were featured by PEZ Cycling News HERE.

We're working on some BIG changes for 2018  (our 20th year!) which will be announced in the September issue of La Gazzetta dello CycleItalia. If you've yet to subscribe, go HERE to get the latest news while it's still news!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Giro d'Italia 2017 ETNA

Buongiorno from Sicily!

We flew into Milan the other day, dropping off some things at our HQ hotel while gathering some others and then jetted down to Catania where our faithful taxi man, Carmelo "Nuvolari" whisked us down to Siracusa. A quick nights sleep and we were renting a car to visit La Corsa Rosa.

We were able to drive within 1 km from the finish line (gotta love the Giro, SO much more relaxed than that other race in July where the leader wears the yellow shirt) but not to park so we drove back down to a parking spot around the 2 km marker. We then got out and hiked up to the finish, not only to see what was going on but more importantly... see what was for lunch! First up was a panino with grilled sausage....

...followed by an arancino, both with Sicilian beers. MMMMmmmm! Of course we also found some excellent Italian sweets and a proper cafe afterwards.

Inspector Montalbano uses the word MINCHIA all the time on TV, but it's not something you want to use in polite company!

This fellow even brought his own goat!

Fans of "The Shark" were up surprise!

By the time the race arrived, we were back down around 2 km to-go. No barriers here as they began about 1500 meters from the finish line. Up-close-and-personal describes it pretty well. Where else could you be this close to the stars of your sport?


Hubert DuPont wasn't contending for a win here.

Heather encourages a few of the Wilier team guys.

A stiff headwind made any sort of attack here kind of pointless. Nibali threw one in, but didn't kill himself in a fruitless pursuit of the Maglia Rosa to wear into his hometown of Messina the following day.

Meanwhile, the guys who had already done their work sought the draft of a car wherever they could, or a push from a friendly spectator. You know these guys are pros, well-used to motor-pacing sessions when you see how close they can ride in the draft of the car!

Enrico Gasparatto did a lot of work earlier for Nibali and Co. meaning he was pretty well fried by the time this fan tried to encourage him (and scam his bottle) during the final few kilometers.

Now we wait for our friend Giuseppe to provide us with a couple of bikes to ride while we're here in Sicily. We're trying a "fly-away" strategy for Sublime Sicily and the future down here, though at some point we'll probably haul a bunch of stuff (bikes, clothing, etc.) down here and leave if for repeat visits? Then we can simply fly back and forth between here and our Northern Italian HQ. We can dream, no?

Friday, May 5, 2017

Watching La Corsa Rosa in the USA

While we'll soon be enjoying this view in Sicily as well as seeing the Etna stage in-person, Velonews has How to watch the Giro d'Italia in the USA

Or, instead of shelling out the almost $50, you could do what we do, pay for a VPN like ZenMate which lets you convince RAI TV that you're in Italy. In addition to the live coverage, you can access lots of video content as well.

There are still some places available on 2017 guided tours and airfares are fairly reasonable at present - so don't let this season pass you by!!

Monday, May 1, 2017

Italian Cycling Sinking?

Velonews' Andrew Hood asks "Is Italian cycling sinking?" and uses a photo of a Made-in-China bike floating in a canal to illustrate his point?

There's no argument that top-tier pro teams sponsored by Italian firms are almost extinct, with Trek-Segafredo being the only one left these days and we think they're registered in the USA, though most of the management is Italian.

Hood rightly points out the continuing economic crisis in Italy as being mostly responsible for this, but leaves out the effect of the continuing doping scandals along with the insane costs of operating a top-tier team under the current UCI rules.

If we rule out autocratic governments, gambling interests and the bicycle industry, who is left as a major sponsor of pro cycling? Internationally marketed consumer goods? Quickstep flooring, Segafredo espresso and Bora cooking hoods (though the Big-S puts in a huge portion of this team's budget) are about all that is left. One of those three IS Italian as Segafredo espresso is known world-wide.

The Italian bicycle industry is continually outbid for major sponsorships in most cases by companies who source most of their products from Asia, whether it's the bicycles, the components or even the clothing and shoes.

On the other hand, the HUMAN component, as Hood points out, is still dominated by Italians with more top pros than any other country despite Italy's small population. Add in the directors, mechanics, soigneurs and the rest of the staff and Italian cycling seems rather healthy in this category.

Next, factor in the new generation of Italian pro riders - the Colbrelli's, Moscon's, Modolo's who have already made it to the top-tier plus the riders still in the Under-23 category and Italian cycling doesn't look so bad, unless your sole consideration is the amount of euros generated in Italy being spent to sponsor top-tier pro teams.

Meanwhile, Italian cycling companies like Castelli (who supply the SKY team) Pinarello (also with SKY) Santini (supplier of world championship clothing as well as the Giro leaders jerseys) Campagnolo (suppliers to Movistar, Lotto Soudal and UAE Emirates) Scicon (suppliers to Bora, Quickstep, Orica and others) continue to be integral parts of the sport.

Of course NONE of this changes the fact that Italy is still the best place to be a cyclist or cycling enthusiast. Clients from all over the world tell us every year how welcome they feel on the roads compared to where they live. When combined with the world's best food and wine, the Italian gene for hospitality and some of the world's most beautiful scenery, "La Bella Italia" is simply unmatched! Join us and see for yourself.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

La Corsa Rosa starts soon!

Above: Zio Lorenzo leads (briefly!) the train up Passo Campolongo

The 2017 Giro d'Italia begins May 5.

Ride these Legendary Climbs with us in July! There's still time to join us if you can act quickly. Our itinerary is a true "who's who?" of climbs made famous by the Tour of Italy.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

EROICA CALIFORNIA 2017 - the rest of the story


As a finale, photos and thoughts about our first out-of-Italy bici d'epoca experience.

Our bikes await the arrival of their sleepy riders. And it was COLD! We stayed at the Farmhouse Motel in Paso Robles. The owners were nice enough to let us come back post-ride (and post check-out) for a shower! That's hospitality!

Our first ristoro was provided by CASS WINERY, pouring some samples of their wine into clear cycling bottles for tasting if you wanted some "for the road".

Can you get a ticket for having an "open container" of alcohol while riding a bicycle? We enjoyed (most) of ours here. Larry didn't get any photos of ristoro 2 where they were frying potatoes in extra-virgin olive oil! MMMmmm!

Heather clowns around on Albabici's scooter. Motor-pacing anyone?

This fellow was walking by so we roped him into checking out our Huffy/LandShark tribute to his 1988 Giro d'Italia victory. Andy Hampsten was nice enough to pose with it for us.

Larry had no trouble stopping folks to ask if they'd let him take a photo of their gorgeous bicycle. Most of 'em were happy to pose with them. Grazie!!

Kind of sums up the EROICA feeling, no?

That sticker was on friend-of-the-blog Scott's beautiful LOSA bike.

Beautiful machines were everywhere, especially at the Coucours!

1984 Olympian Rory O'Reilly was there on his old team bike wearing his old team kit.

Great old bikes and great old riders!

This fellow was starting a goal of riding ALL of the EROICA events worldwide.  A nice challenge!

Larry just LOVES anything pantographed, like these brake calipers

Just another pretty bike.

And another...

...and another...

...and another.

Compared to the Italian events we've enjoyed, EROICA CA can't get an A-grade, but they did a great job. Suggestions to the organizers for the future would be period-correct music at the venue, more pasta at the post-ride pasta party and a more relaxed start time for those riding the shorter loops.