March 2008


pegoretti_002[1]

This bike is a modern classic. I would like to claim that I had talked to Dario personally and that he had built this bike to my specs. Sadly it did not happen that way but I was lucky enough to be able to purchase it from the American distributor Gita-Bike early in 2002. It was an unsold model from the previous year but it met my needs perfectly. First, it was the right size, a 58 cm frame in both seat tube and top tube length. 2001 was the last year this model came with a paint matched steel fork, after that they came with a black carbon fork. Being all steel was very important to me as I think it is mandatory if you want to do a classic build. Also, the geometry of this Palo Santo model is ideal for comfort on longer rides which is what I mainly do. It also climbs like a mountain goat which is a great testimony to the versatility of this bike.

pegoretti_006[1]To complete the classic build I used a Campagnolo Chorus/Record mix. I was going to use this bike on “big rides” so I went with a 3×10 gear setup. In 2002 this was a lot of gears and was a rarely seen combination. I knew though that when you are out all day on 200 mile rides with 17,000+ feet of climbing that the extra range of gearing can make all the difference. Mavic Open Pros wrapped around Campy Record hubs (32h) and double butted DT spokes help keep this wheelset lightweight and durable. 3T handlebars and a quill stem maintain the classic look and Profile Airstryke bar helps with the aero position. I can remove the aerobars easily if needed. The great Brooks Swift leather saddle provides all the comfort needed for the long haul.

 pegoretti_007[1]

I use this bike primarily for centuries and double centuries, though I have gone as long as 300 miles on it in a day. It is responsive, reasonable light and most of all it is comfortable. The great Italian style is just one of the side benefits. Very few bikes that I have owned have generated so many unsolicited comments from fellow riders. Even in this age of 15 pound carbon fiber bikes many people still recognize classic style. In a year or two when that new (I just had to have it) carbon bike is old news or unrideable because you dinged a tube, this old Pegoretti will still rolling out the miles in style!

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1998DBa[1]

This is my current project bike. It is an new old stock De Bernardi lugged steel frame. It is in wonderful condition showing only a little wear from being handled over the past 10 years. It had never been built up or ridden. This bike is representative of the end of an era in framebuilding. Pretty much after the late 90’s very few companies were building lugged steel bikes as their flagship models. Many had gone to carbon, titanium or hybrids for their high end units and some had abandoned steel altogether! For a time you could only get a classic steel frame from a niche or custom builder, but that seems to be changing somewhat. Many manufacturers are once again offering some steel frames although they are usually offered in a retro category. I believe that in time steel as a frame material will return to the mainstream to a much greater degree. Its wonderful qualities will once again be recognized and a way will be found to market it to the biking public as new technology.

I have built this bike with a Campagnolo gruppo (of course) in a Record/Chorus mix and a traditional style. I tried to avoid the use of any black anodized alloy components. I prefer silver and chromed parts because they just make for a brighter bike. Quality components like these should not be blacked out or hidden. Because of that I have had to settle for Campagnolo Veloce hubs. They are still good quality and have a nice polished finish. I’ve built them up with my favorite Mavic Open Pro rims and double butted spokes. It is a very nice wheelset! 

I chose to use a 2 x 10 drivetrain with downtube shifters. It runs silently and shifts very well and I am very happy with this setup.  The TTT bars and stem are clean and simple and the absence of shifting cables adds to this effect.  The brake levers are aero style and hide these cables as well. The timeless Brooks Swift leather saddle is the only choice for a classic bike like this. It may seem dated but is actually quite modern with titanium rails and weighs in around 300 grams. Brooks saddles have no peer for comfort and durability!

Now the important part, the ride. This bike is amazing, it is incredibly smooth and responsive to ride. The handling is precise and stable. It gives you a good feel for the road without the harshness of ride found with other frame materials. It once again reminds me of what a great bike should be.

Ever since returning from my attempt at PBP last August I have had the feeling that I somehow needed to finish what I had started. My plan had been to try and be in a position 3 years from now to have a shot at trying the event again. It is a huge commitment of time and energy (not to mention the expense) to be prepared for an event like this and many stars must be in alignment for it to even be possible. 4 years seemed so far away though and perhaps I am a little bit impatient. I really wanted to set this thing to rights and try to redeem myself as soon as I could.

Well it looks as though I may be able to try for redemption sooner than I had hoped. We have booked tickets to Paris for this June and I will have an opportunity to ride the route again. This time it will be in self supported touring style, riding 150 – 200 miles per day. It will not be the official event but I will follow the 2007 route. I will travel lightly and follow my own schedule, staying in hotels along the way. It will be a more casual effort than the official event and I may not meet the time schedule but I hope to be able to finish the route. It will make all the difference to me being able to somehow finish what I had started!

My wife Sara will be accompanying me for the trip and she has her own itinerary involving horse activities. I can go off on my own for these few days without worry. We will both having a good time and will be able to do some things together as well. I will post blog entries from the trip so you can track my progress. This trip I will be riding in part for my friend Clair Jensen who will not be able to ride with me in Paris ever again. I hope to not let Clair down and to be able to finish the ride in his honor.

By coincidence the Tour de France starts in Brest this year. I will be there before the first stage begins but I hope to see some of the pre-race hoopla or maybe just the finish area. We will return home in early July, hopefully with something more to celebrate this time. s the time approaches stay tuned for my updates on this PBP redo!