Luciano’s Velo Playa Larga GIOS Torino
Photos and words by Sean Talkington
I’m often drawn to things that are just the right amount of “thrashed”. That includes old cars, buildings, and even people look a lot more interesting with some character brought on from age. Of all the old things that pique my interest, bicycles might be on the top of the list.
There is something really honest about an old, weathered bike, and steel bikes are probably the best suited for “patina.” They’re probably the ONLY bikes that can look just as appealing after a lot of use versus a spotless new version. I seriously doubt it will be cool to see banged up old carbon S-Works in 30 years, but I guess you never know. I mean, as a kid everyone told me to save my baseball cards, so I did, and now they are worth nearly nothing. I’ve been lugging these things around for my entire adult life for literally no reason. I haven’t cared about baseball cards since I was probably twelve years old, yet I continue to drag 10,000 of them around like a 300-pound ship anchor. On the other hand, the Walkman I thrashed as a kid and secondhand Oakley Frogskins my friend Travis gifted me for my birthday are collectible. WTF!?
All this is to say that I have no idea what will be collectible in 30 years, but it’s probably the thing you least suspect.
The GIOS has been ridden by the original owner, Luciano, since the early 80’s. It was originally purchased from Two-Wheel Transit in Huntington Beach. Luciano started a cycling club and race team called Velo Playa Larga (Velo Long Beach) in 1985. At the height of the club’s popularity, it had over 120 members. Needless to say, this bike carries some stories with it. Below is a photo of Luciano racing (in toe clips!) at a crit in San Luis Obispo sometime in 1986.
What initially caught my eye was the kind of harlequin style paint: the team’s sponsor, Jones Bike Shop, had the frames custom-painted for them at one point, then Luciano had it painted on his own another time. I’ve got to say, I really do love it. Nearly 40 years later, Luciano is still riding it as his commuter. In fact, the day I met him, he had actually ridden from Long Beach to my shop in San Marino (roughly 35ish miles one way). It has been repainted twice since he originally bought the bike, and I hope it stays just like this. The paint is in no way perfect in a traditional sense, but when you consider its story, accompanied with the fact that it looks so unique and is still being ridden to this day makes it pretty damn close to perfection.
But, what do I know? I’m just a dummy with a bunch of stupid baseball cards.
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