From the backcountry of Alberta, Canada to the Italian countryside…
It’s been a whirlwind month here at the Radavist and so before this beaut gets lost on a hoard drive, I really wanted to share it. This bike was owned by Emilio De Marchi and still resides in their storefront which has been here since 1951. The frame itself is from the early 1960’s and is labeled under the brand’s name De Marchi. This cruiser was made in the same town as their garments from a small time builder of which no one could remember his name.
Over the years, it got updated with a more modern mix of parts including Campagnolo GS and NR. Most impressive to me are the droves of old Italian men who ride bikes like this in Conegliano, where the bicycle is the way of life for many people.
Heritage is not something that can be bought, or self-prescribed. It’s grown and nurtured over time. Heritage is not a by-product of the self aware, or the overly ambitious. It can’t be self-stated either. Not unless your company began in 1946 and the whole time, has had a presence both locally and internationally in this world we so often call the cycling industry.
De Marchi apparel was started by Emilio De Marchi shortly after WWII. It began as a motorcycle and cycling store in an era where there were no cycling-specific jerseys. If you cycled, you wore the same jersey that you played futball in, or wore while you rode your motorcycle.
It wasn’t until the late 1980’s that De Marchi stepped away from motorcycle apparel to focus solely on cycling. This was after multiple cycling brands had offered to buy De Marchi for a hefty profit, yet Emilio stuck to it. Again, heritage.
With events like Eroica and the reason why I’m currently in Italy, the Emilio De Marchi ride gaining popularity, more and more vintage road bikes are making their way out of garages and storage sheds all over the world, onto the road again.
Italy has no shortage of vintage road bikes. With so many framebuilders in the areas surrounding Conegliano where De Marchi has been based for around 70 years, it’s not hard to track down a frame or a complete for a couple hundred euro. One such builders is Bottecchia, a name most of you will recognize. Coincidentally, Emilio De Marchi was the team manager for Bottecchia some years ago, so the brands have a joined heritage.
Onto this bike, which at first glance is a real looker, even with the small idiosyncratic build mishaps. Sure, the bar tape is frayed, it’s missing a few bolts and the tires are mis-matched, but as-is, it’s a more than suitable steed for a 100 kilometer ride. My favorite details are the way the head tube cluster lugwork merges effortlessly into the headset, the head tube badge and that ostentatious red and white paint.
Bikes like this, as-is need only a few hours of maintenance to make them road-worthy and in Italy, they’re a dime a dozen. Something us Americans can appreciate or lust after… More on De Marchi’s heritage and the Emilio De Marchi ride coming soon. For now, just check out this piece of Italian pedigree.
This weekend I’m in Italy, where I’ll be attending the Emilio De Marchi, a 90 kilometer, vintage bicycle ride put on by De Marchi apparel. I’ll be there for a few days, so if you’re in Italy and are interested in this ride, head over to the Emilio De Marchi website for more information.
Like racing brakeless track bikes down mountains? Live around Biella, Italy? Head to the Ragnarok race thrown by the TBTW crew. See more details at the TBTW Facebook.
Montanus takes us on a journey shared by two friends while bikepacking on fatbikes in Italy.
This video is about a man, his bike, a challenging climb and the struggle against an illness. A story about Andrea and the Passo Fittanze, during both the warm summer and the frigid winter.
For Legor Cicli, building bikes for his team, the Legor Cicli Squadra Corse to ride in the Transcontinental Race was as interesting as it was challenging. A massive undertaking like the Transcontinental requires a bike that’s nimble on its feet, yet is comfortable for the long days.
This is the Nuiorksiti model in the randonneuring version. The tubing is Columbus Life with a 1 1/4″ fork steerer, fillet-brazed to the fork legs and internal cable routing for the Supernova front hub. As part of an experiment, Legor coated part of the frame with copper, so it would oxidize over the 3000km trek. The frame bags were made by hand by Pinza’t and other support for his team was supplied by Satan’s Coffee Corner, Right Side Coffee, Pedaled, Enve, Brooks and Columbus.
Check out more photos below.
Here’s a video from Italy, featuring a singlespeed cross race put on by Cicli Pigozzi and Legor Cicli Squadra Corse.
Photo by Daniel Valsesia
A reader from Italy recently encountered what appears to be an Asp Viper on his local MTB trail system. Immediately, I recalled my run-in with the Texas Coral Snake from a few years back. Personally, venomous snakes don’t particularly frighten me, they hold a crucial role in the ecosystem, I just don’t think I would have gotten this close…
Check out some more photos at Daniel’s Flickr!