....."there's a bike". But it in a an inquisitive kind of way. We've been here 3 days and haven't seen anything, its a bicycle ghost town. There've been the occasional 'WalMart' style bikes and I did see an Atala Portour along with 3 guys on road bikes one being a S-Works struggling up a switchback.
This isnt a vacation, my finacee's aunt in ailing and they haven't seen each other in over 10 years, this has been an overly emotional trip for her. She doesnt know bikes and will occasionaly ask, "is that a good one" while pointing at something from the local department store. As we're winding our way through the narrow cramped side streets of this medieval city on our way back the hotel outside the fortressed city walls she said it....."there's a bike" She sounded inquisitive yet joking yet hoping to have found a gem. And she did.
I looked around the narrow street and saw nothing and commented, "where?" She turned, pointed and said "in there" as I followed her outstretched arm to the garage opening in the side of a 15th century building. I hesitently looked in to see an older gentleman hunched over a work bench earning his trade, he gazed my way as I blocked the incoming light. I pointed at the hanging bicycle and said with a American accent, :bicicletta!!!" to which replied, "look" in Italian. My fiancee translated and told me it was OK to go in and look at.
I was amazed. For 3 days we've seen nothing and then the proverbial 'barn find' except in this instance its a garage. The kind gentleman allowed me to take pictures and the boyish grin on my face must have obvious. He said some words in Italian which my fiancee didnt recognize, he moved a few boxes out of the way and pulled an old leather strap helmet out of a box.....and them he pulled a pair of old leather racing shoes which a strange clipless cleats nailed to bottom. He describe in Italian that the cleats were the 'premio' of their kind. Knowing 'premio' is first I was able to understand that he was telling me the Cinelli Mod 71 clipless pedals were the first of their kind.
I asked my fiancee if it was OK for me to buy.....she normaly doesnt care but this trip wasn't about me, its 100% about her and her family. She said, "sure, but do you know how much its worth?" I rolled my eyes. My inital offer was going to be 500 euros and she vehemently said NO. Not because we cant afford it but something her family instilled in her is when in Italy you barter. So I offered 300 Euros ($450) and the gentelman kindly accepted. We made arrangements for me to pick it up tomorrow but circumstances allowed me to pick it up this afternoon.
Intentionaly leaving all of you in suspence I'll only say it has Cinelli clipless pedals, Clemete tubular tires, mostly pre CSPC Campy components, some SR bits, Columbus tubing, long thin point lugs with cutouts, portacatena dropouts, a MASI inscribed Silca pump a chromed 3T stem and a fully chromed fork. It was also built in the city we're staying in.
I did a BikeForum 'advanced search' (yes, I know) and there were 'no results found'.
She's a beauty. (my fiancee)