Time to dress this “Bella Donna” up!

The paint has been finished except for the final clear coat so it is time to put the decals on. I took several reference photographs prior to stripping the old paint so that I could get the decals exactly where they belonged. For decals I chose the Velocals 1 mil version and applied them using the water method. They are self adhesive but the water method allows you to correct alignment errors more easily. Once these decals stick they are going to stay!

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This Italian beauty is naked!

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After a dozen or so hours of effort I finally have the frame and fork stripped down to bare metal. I used “Aircraft Stripper” and a fine wire brush. Aircraft Stripper costs a little more but it doesn’t really do the job any better. I was hoping the fancy name and price would make it better. Oh well, lesson learned (again).

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Rough but Original?

That is how this bike came to me. It had probably been ridden very lightly for a couple of years and then stored for over 40 years! It was as original as you can get with, tires, cables, seat and brake pads all nearly unused but suffering from age deterioration. Some rust has diminished the chrome but it should be 90 percent salvageable. There are scrapes on the paint and the logos are faded but other decals and the head-badge look pretty good! This is just how I like to get a bike, I think this will clean up very nicely!

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Here is a frame that I ended up with recently after it was referred to me by a friend. It was on Ebay and had some characteristics similar to the Girardengo frames that I have an interest in. It was a good value so I bought it even though I did not need another project right now.

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I went in to the local bike shop a few weeks ago and……

There it was sitting in the back of the shop. I noticed it right away because a De Bernardi is not a bike that you see everyday. A local seasonal actor had brought it in to be sold on consignment. He said that he had the bike for many years and loved it very much but had to sell it since he was moving far-away. He was asking $450, which might have been a fair price had the bike been in good condition, sadly this one was not. Even though it appeared to be complete and original this one was poorly taken care of. It had not been ridden a lot but had been handled roughly and tossed around a bit. I offered a token $200 for it and walked out.

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Overlooking the Columbia River at Rest Stop #2

This year I had a couple of my riding buddies from Utah come out to join me on this event, Lasse and Craig from Cedar City. This years ride followed Marine Drive along the Columbia River before turning onto the Columbia River Historic Highway. We chose the 80 mile route this year and avoided some of the major climbing but we still had a pretty stiff hill to conquer on Louden Road (at 12% plus). Descending on Larch Mountain Road brought us to our spectacular rest stop and viewpoint shown above, after which we descended back to the Sandy River. A little more route finding brought us to the Springwater Corridor we followed back through town. The weather started a little cool but warmed to the mid-70’s by noon. Winds were pretty light but always seemed in our face whichever way we turned.

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Not every bike has achieved it’s finest expression right out of the box, and so it is with my Bianchi L’Eroica. After several hundred miles of time in the saddle (including Eroica Hispania) I have come up with a few changes that I will make. Not that any of it will improve the performance of the bike, which is already great at this point, but just to add some style points. After all, can a classic bike ever really be too classic?

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