Friday, June 29, 2012

WHICH BIKE for the " Le TOUR "?

Coming back from the Tour de France i passed through an obscure Swiss Zoll/Customs post and the Officer on duty there was a little more diligent than most . He could see no reason for me having three bikes in the car . Effective immediately he wanted the papers of the bikes ! Just doing his job of course . 

Well most of my bikes are built up from components that i acquire over the years . Some of these come from " Sponsors " gifts and others are stripped off other bikes as i change the specifications of any given bike . In fact the " Reef carbon  TT bike " has yellow rimmed wheels that i use on the Green Bike also , since both are 9 speed geared bikes . These wheels i built up during the Giro d'Italia rest day  in the early 2000's when a wheel rim i was using developed a major problem . Thanks to Stefano , mechanic for the Liquigas/Pata team i rolled out the next day on safer wheels than on those i had arrived !

Back to the Swiss Customs Post problem . As some will recall i was given an older  red Specialised Bike by some Aussies who decided not to take it back to Oz . Only things missing were the wheels and pedals so on the rest day afternoon whilst King Cav and Peta enjoyed the sun i stripped and rebuilt the bike . Then i photoed the three bikes for the Blog Post . Some of the photos went into the blog and recalling this i asked the Customs officer if he had access to the Internet . When he complied , he was able to see all three bikes in the car on the Internet . This was a new experience for him and a satisfactory conclusion to his inquiries .

Won't go into detail about the bikes shown here but most are setup so that i can jump on them and go for a long ride , like a Grand tour . Of course when i do , i add the tri bars to carry the sack containing those essentials necessary for the months of constant travel . Until 2009 i would not need a car and even since i find that at best it is a nuisance . Constant return journeys to where it is parked , are needed unless a driver is available . During 2009 Tour de France there were several days when i put in 300+km days , not good for the health as i found after the return to Austria . Felt fine whilst on the Tour but sharp chest pains misdiagnosed as a pinched nerve turned out to be Embolisms .

This week i have been tinkering with the " Pink Bike " , originally a " Lampre Team Alloy Frame ", resprayed in 2009 for the " Cento Anni Giro d'Italia " . Lousy job then meant a repeat respray during last year's TDF and again no touchup paint made available !

Maurizio Fondriest first gave me this frame in 2002 after Auro Bulbarello of RAI TV at the Giro d'Italia some years earlier had suggested that it would make a great story . That occasion , was a wet Saturday night when Maurizio's brother , Francesco was presenting Gilberto Simoni with a Pink Team Bike , for the next day's triumphant ride into Milano and the Presentation Ceremony !

Some years earlier i acquired a Peugeot frame that i saw in a shop in Hampton Wick over a period of some months . Making a ridiculously low offer,  i had to go to the bank , when to my surprise  it was accepted .
This frame hung around for a while before being built up and left at friends in the Manchester area on the off chance i would arrive there without a working bike . Often times in the mid 2000's i would ride from the London or Oxford area to overnight in the north , so it was a safe bet that it could be needed on some occasion .

January one year i was at the Manchester Velodrome for a Bike Jumble and came across the frame shown here . Some years later a German Bike Expert was able to identify the frame as that made by Porsche .

This carbon frame has seen many long journeys but has never been to a Grand Tour . Some one may be able to tell me what year it was first released but so far this year it has not been used on the road even though ready for use . As you will have noted ALL the bikes have the San Marco Saddle apart from the Red Spec. since that was the saddle on the bike when given to me .

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