I must say that when I bought this bike, I had many doubts about the outcome of the restoration, but it was still an Alcyon, in my opinion the most beautiful French bike of the 1920s, and I had to try and get it back. The restoration took almost two weeks. Only disassembling it, given the rust encrustations present everywhere, was a feat. The most complicated intervention was the one on the frame: the goal was to make the splendid celestial Alcyon flourish again. A lot of patience, but in the end the result went beyond all expectations.
This was one of the restorations that gave me the most satisfaction. It was exciting to see this small piece of cycling history flourish under my hands.
I present to you the restoration, carried out in our workshop, of a beautiful frame made by master Giuseppe Pelà for the Carpano racing team. Fortunately, the frame was intact and did not present any particular problems. We performed sandblasting with corundum in order not to alter the metal, chrome plating and painting with original colors like from a preserved Carpano. Heinrich, owner of the bicycle, completed the work with impeccable assembly.
I present to you two exceptional finds. A U. Dei from 1937 and a Legnano Roma from 1947.The U. Dei in particular is wonderfully preserved. Purchased before the war, it was hung in an attic and has remained there until today. Perfect painting and chrome plating, it was enough to disassemble it to be able to grease all the movements. Complete in everything, as it was purchased more than eighty years ago, after a consistent clean to remove the dust accumulated over time, it has returned to shine in its beautiful and elegant red-green livery.The legnano Roma instead, shows all the signs of the battles it has experienced. But precisely for this reason it has the charm of the lived and preserved. Complete in all its parts, it was only necessary to replace the brake levers, only one of the original was left, the other broken. Clean in its lines with the Campagnolo Corsa gearbox this bike represents an important piece of Italian cycling.
1960 was a fundamental year for Gastone Nencini, from all points of view, not only sporty but also human. The Tour de France wins, before him only Bottecchia, Bartali and Coppi had won the Grand Boucle, close to the success at the Giro d’Italia, which will elude him for only 28 seconds, and knows the love of his life Maria Pia. The love found and the expectation of his first child will give him that serenity and that inner charge to achieve those successes, first of all the Tour, which will consecrate him as the champion we know. In this book an old journalist, who in 1960 had followed that Tour as a reporter, tells a young colleague the story and the protagonists of that edition, the tragedy of the fall of Roger Rivére, the controversial relationship between Binda and Gastone Nencini and that between the yellow jersey and teammates, the “yellow” that lies behind the famous handshake between Charles De Gaulle and the Tuscan champion. At the same time the love story between Gastone and Maria Pia is narrated, a “clandestine” love story in a popular Florence that has now disappeared. In the book are published the letters that Gastone Nencini wrote from the Giro d’Italia and from the Tour de France to Maria Pia, which give us back the unpublished portrait of a sweet and in love man.
209 km are many! On the roads of the Eroica are even more! Although in a magnificent course, the long dirt roads, the very hard climbs and the dust make Gaiole’s race a test that pushes riders and bicycles to the limit. We start in the dark, at night, and arrive in the dark. It takes the legs but also the head to stay almost 15 hours by bike! And if you ride with a bike from the 1920s and turn it with 44/46 x 22, then the effort becomes truly Heroic. So congratulations to those who arrived in Gaiole. In particular to friends Federico, Lorenzo, Paolo, Daniele and Bill who finished the race tired but happy to have measured themselves in this difficult test. We still have the small satisfaction that the bikes we prepared for the Eroica came under the banner of Gaiole without problems and, with the dust of those streets, more beautiful than before.
I purchased this beautiful Tour de France from a private person in Florence. Of course when I took it home the bike was not in its best condition, stripped , rusty, locked in many of its components. But fortunately complete in every part, until the last screw! The old owner told me that this bike was bought by his father in the early 50s to give his brother a present. They went to collect it at the end of a race that took place in the province of Florence, and was directly unloaded from the Bianchi team’s car by the team’s mechanic, a friend of his father. The old owner still remembers with emotion that the scene assisted Fausto Coppi who had just finished the race!
After dismantling the frame we stripped it, certainly had been already repainted in the 60s, and checked its integrity. Once the old chrome plating has been cleaned and polished, once again to shine as if by magic, we have brought to paint the frame by an expert and passionate craftsman. In the meantime with very fine steel wool and various abrasive pastes we have cleaned all the pieces. When we carry out a complete restoration that involves repainting the frame, we prefer not to keep on the components by proceeding with a new chrome plating, but simply by cleaning them. In this way the final result is certainly better than a total restoration, keeping the right “taste” of experience on the bike.
Now the Tour de France is ready to go back to the wind and make some fans of this brand happy, representing a piece of cycling history of all time.
Henri Cartier Bresson (Chanteloup-en-Brie, August 22, 1908 – L’Isle sur la Sourge, 3 August 2004) was one of the greatest photographers of the twentieth century and is considered a pioneer of photojournalism, so as to deserve the title of “eye of the century”. Author of unforgettable shots, he was also a film director and painter. During his career he posed in front of his lens personalities like Albert Camus, Truman Capote, Coco Chanel, Marylin Monroe, Martin Luter King, Henri Matisse, Jean-Poul Sartre.
Even Henry Cartier Bresson, like other photographers of his period, was fascinated by the cycling world. These shots are part of a reportage at the Velodrome d’Hiver in Paris in the 50s. Also on this occasion he masterfully took, and as always, the “decisive moment” of the life of the pistard, the public and the entourage of the cyclist riders.
Many will wonder, but who was Federico Momo? He was a great champion of track racing of the earliest times, when racing meant adventure, and road races were not yet famous, and the idols of cycling were pure speed athletes. Momo was one of the most popular, characteristic and adventurous. It was from the times of the Buni, the Tommaselli, the Pasta, the Pontecchi, the Singrossi, the Pasini.
Born in Voghera, his city saw him as the first of the sporting heroes. At that time the cyclists were considered as phenomena, men out of reality, and on the very few tracks the most elegant crowds flocked because the velodromes races represented a party of sought-after worldliness.
In Milan, at the ArcodellaPace, they had built the Milanese cycle track with a 333 meter wooden track. By imitating the Parisian organizers who had set up the “Paris Bracelet” in 1895 on the concrete track of the Seine, a victory that gave its holder the large sum of twenty francs a day, the organizers of Milan created, in 1896, the “Milano bracelet” , with the prize of 10 liras a day.The first winner was Singrossi. But here Momo, the eighteen year old boy from Voghera, challenges Singrossi. The boy wins! Thus begins his ascent. Tommaselli challenges Momo. Momo also wins with Tomaselli. Then no one dares to challenge the ‘bad boy’ of Voghera. So Momo holds the bracelet for the whole of 1896 with the relative daily allowance of 10 lire, with which, in those days, a banquet for ten people could be offered. In 1897 the second bracelet. Momo wins again against Singrossi and Pasini. In the last challenge against Pasini, Momo covers the last two hundred meters with the formidable time of 11” 3/5.
His life was an adventure. He also left for Russia. Wonderful stories are told about him. It seems that after the inevitable victories against the strongest sprinters of Europe, great sleds awaited our hero at the gates of the magnificent winter velodrome of Moscow and Petesbourg, with beautiful women full of furs and jewels.
Then, for him, the “Gazzetta dello Sport” newspaper launched a subscription for a medal of honor that collected the formidable sum of 732 lire. What happened? It happened that Momo had won the G.P. of Paris surpassing the French Jacquelin in the last few meters as was also shown by the photographs that in those days unfortunately came out late. But the judge of arrival, influenced by the screams that came from the “popular” tribunes that had seen their favorite come first on the straight, assigned the victory to Jacquelin.
Momo left the bike and, like many other riders, passed to motorbike racing and then to motor racing, as a pilot and builder of the “Junior”. He then contributed to the construction of the Monza racetrack and closed his sports career as president of the UVI (Unione Velocipedistica Italiana).
From an article of Emilio De Martino and Armando Cougnet, Sport Iluustrato 1958
Robert Capa was one of the most important reportage photographers of the 1900s. Founder of the press agency MAGNUM PHOTOS has photographed 5 world conflicts, and is considered one of the greatest war photographers. His photos are immersed in the realities he wants to represent, and they told the war with a realistic look, free from barriers and filters between photographer and subject. He will die in 1954 by jumping on a mine in Vietnam.
Not everyone knows that Capa has also photographed cycling, following in 1939 the Tour de France. His gaze focused mainly on moments outside the race, documenting the backstage of the Gran Boucle and capturing the essence of the Tour: the riders at rest, the moments before the start, the emotions of the spectators, leaving us an engaging reportage exciting.
BIKESRETRO is pleased to announce that, on the occasion of the event GRAN CORSA RETRO ‘CYCLING EVENTS, which will take place on days 14 – 15 – 16 – 17 March 2018, will offer a rental service of historic bikes from the 30s. For more information write to firstname.lastname@example.org