Lorenzo’s Custom Pedretti Pista: A San Diego Spritz

The following is a story of friendship, art, and feelings. It’s the story of a custom Pedretti Pista Spritz with a special appearance from a legendary Brian Baylis-painted Holland Cycles track bike.

San Diego, California has a rich cycling history. The city and surrounding region have varied terrain and year-round temperate weather, inviting a range of cycling disciplines from track to mountain. While the 1970s and 80s were perhaps the city’s golden age for road and track racing, strong local contingencies keep the legacy alive.

Our friends Jon Pucci and Lorenzo Romagnoli are two such aficionados. Collectors, tinkerers, artists, and (some would say) style icons, the duo share an affinity for modern classics and often focus their passion on restoring neglected frames to their former glory. And sometimes, they take on new builds…

But how does a spritz make you feel?

That feeling takes me back to my first visit to Florence. Sitting on a terrace surrounded by people enjoying their afternoon in the Tuscan sun with a spritz in hand, it feels like maybe there’s nothing wrong at all.

We were getting another frame from Italy, which meant I would be painting another pista frame from Italy, this time a Pedretti pista. So, who is Pedretti, and what is the deal with this frame? I posed these questions to my best friend Lorenzo Romagnoli, aka Larry Ravioli, an undisputed connoisseur of vintage and collectible bikes.

“He has a good hand; he’s young, but I can see he has a passion (or patience?). This bike that’s coming, it will be a Spritz.”

A spritz? Why is it a Spritz? What makes a bike, a track bike, into a Spritz?

“It’s about feelings.”

This has become a mantra with us. Silver parts? Campy? Why anything? It’s about feelings.

Consider the Finish

Now, I had my marching orders to communicate the feeling of enjoying a spritz through the paint job of a track frame. Easy peasy. To begin with, the color would have to do more than match a spritz in tonality.

The way that Apperol tints the drink but doesn’t overpower it, the effervesce and pale yellow tones of the Prosecco, the slice of orange, and the glitter of the ice in the glass. The color of a spritz is more than just orange, and I knew that getting that color just right would require a few tricks.

Once I could wrap my noodle around making this custom color, sorting out the decals and branding was the next step. Marco (Pedretti) didn’t have any preference, the only branding he seemed to require were the unique features of this frame and a delicate letter “P” for a headbadge, which meant I was given carte blanche. In that first conversation with Lorenzo, I knew exactly what kind of lettering and graphics I wanted.

Time Travel…

A few years ago, Lorenzo and I took a bike tour from Lisbon, Portugal, to Empoli, Italy (a story for another time). At the end of that trip, we spent a few rain-soaked weeks in Tuscany, eating, drinking, and touring garages and basements of Italian bike collectors. I saw more collectible and rare bikes in a day than in my first five years working for Joe Bell. Colnagos, De Rosas, a complete size run of Wilier team track bikes. My head was spinning from the sheer number of bikes.

We traveled from garages to basements to garage basements to storage units full of parts, autographed memorabilia, frames, tires, and I think I saw a few cardboard cutouts of famous riders. In a basement somewhere in Tuscany, in a pile of old rotting Italian bicycles, one of them caught my eye for its unique and fun lettering used in the decals.

It was a dark blue Pagnini Grand Prix with yellow decals and plenty of patina. The decals were fun and playful while simultaneously effortless in their simplicity, charming, and unmistakably Italian. Was the bike from the 50’s? 60’s? Come to think of it, maybe it was the 70’s. I took a picture of the decals and carefully placed the frame back in its pile.

Essence of Spritz

The spritz is a timeless classic. Supposedly, the drink was invented in Venice in the 1920s, and it is just as popular now as it was then. Our graphics would have to reflect that same old world class while communicating the levity (the feelings) of a spritz. I dug up my pictures of the Pagnini in the basement and we had our source material to make a new graphics package for the Pedretti pista, soon to be an instant classic.

So what about feelings?

When the paint was finished, and the clear coat was buffed, we still just had a frame. The bicycle would not be complete until the connoisseur, Mr. Ravioli himself, sourced the perfect parts to express his own feelings of a spritz. And since we all feel things differently, I have asked Lorenzo to write his own below…

Bicicletta Personalizzata Pedretti Spritz

Un giorno Marco Pedretti mi contatta, dicendomi che aveva da propormi un telaio che aveva fatto.

Marco: il telaio è un classico super leggero tutto fillet, compresa la forcella ufo con testa anch’essa fillet; forcellini posteriori Campagnolo, Gipiemme anteriori, predisposta per il freno; foderi bassi swing, predisposta per reggisella ad expander. Logo badge in argento. Tubazioni Columbus.

Appena mi inviò le foto e mi spiegò i dettagli, incominciai a pensare a come farla dipingere e con quali componenti montarla. Trovammo un accordo e dopo poco tempo arrivò a San Diego. Appena arrivò a San Diego, Marco mi disse una frase che riguardava il telaio.

“Dammi uno spritz, che non allevierà i miei pensieri, ma voglio esser più leggero di com’ero ieri.”

E forse ci incontreremo senza nulla addosso come poco fa, o forse non ci incontreremo più. Siamo solo due sconosciuti, che han voluto di più.

Appena arrivato, presi il telaio e lo mostrai al Pucci, spiegandogli che il telaio dovrà essere colorato sull’ispirazione allo spritz del Pedretti. Dunque, il mago Pucci riuscì in un solo giorno a decidere sui colori e il design, grazie al suo talento e alla sua fantasia riuscì a far accrescere la mia passione per questo telaio ancora più intensamente. La spiegazione tecnica sul colore e le grafiche saranno rivelate dal mago Pucci.

La Componentistica

All’inizio avevo pensato di montarla con componenti francesi, tipo Mavic, poi ripensandoci visto che il telaio è fatto in Italia, non potevo montarla con accessori francesi.

Dopo un mese riuscii a trovare parti Campagnolo da pista:

  • Guarnitura Campagnolo Record pista
  • Movimento centrale Campagnolo Record
  • Ruote tubolari Vittoria Atlanta
  • Mozzi Campagnolo Record Sheriff Star
  • Pedali Campagnolo Record
  • Pipa anodizzata Nitto
  • Manubrio Nitto
  • Sella Kashimax
  • Nastro Benotto

Mentre la montavo osservavo con orgoglio il colore; arancione con tanto perlato che appena lo metti alla luce del sole brilla. Spumeggiante, con quel nastro giallo e la componentistica cromata che accentua ancora di più la bellezza di questa magnifica bicicletta.

Editor’s Note | Jon’s Holland Cycles Track Bike

Like Lorenzo, Mr. Pucci has a collection of fine bicycles himself. Already documented here on the site years ago, his Holland Cycles track bike – painted by renowned artist and framebuilder Brian Baylis – is one of his most prized possessions.

And it’s easy to see why. Jon rescued the frame from being sold off at a swap meet. The seat tube was covered in black spray paint, and Jon spent a lot of time restoring it to its current glistening condition.

The frame is exquisite itself. Built by Bill Holland, it’s beautifully welded and has excellent proportions with a tall head tube and tight chainstays.

But that paint job. Ohhh, that paint job. It’s one of the most bold, stunning, and technically proficient designs I’ve seen on a bike. From the two-tone splatter and pink fade lettering to the absolutely outrageous contrasted rainbow polka-dot seat tube, this is golden-age Baylis acutely representative of its 1980s historical context.

Perhaps the icing on the cake here is the bike’s provenance. Baylis, Holland, and painter Joe Bell were close friends. They rode and partied together, often collaborating on projects. But this is only one of two known bikes to feature all three of their names. Built by Holland and painted by Baylis in Bell’s shop, each one’s insignia is present on the frame.

From all of us here at The Radavist, thank you, Lorenzo, Jonny, and all of the other collectors and caretakers out there. Cycling’s history lives on largely due to the work of passionate individuals whose work we greatly appreciate!