I still remember when I heard of this event & thought, ‘hmmm who would be up for this kinda adventure?’. A good buddy, whom I’ve shared many adventures with around Asia was game. Mike Lee. If you wanted to match an outdoor adventure to a person this was it. There was so much unknown. What would it be like to ride in Italy? I’ve heard the roads are legendary & challenging but did that mean everywhere? How different could they really be ? Oh yeah, what about the bike choice? I remember that the first bike I started ‘training’ on was an ’88-89 Concorde that the PDM team raced on in the World Series. Turns out, this bike was a bit to new as it had indexed shifting & the brake cables were tucked under the bar tape making it ‘aero’. Not to worry, I found an older Bianchi that I traded a few pieces from the Spandex Panda Collection for & I had a qualifying steed.
‘who would be up for this kind of adventure?’
Riding on these older bikes there are several things that you must ‘learn’. First, how to shift. Yup, they were called ‘suicide shifters’ for a reason & you had to work on both dexterity, balance & ‘knowing just by feel’ when you were in the right gear. This was going to take some practice. Second you had way fewer gears to choose from, so you had to get stronger. There weren't 28 or 32 tooth options on that poor little freewheel. Those didn’t exist on the chainrings either. If you had a 23 in the back you were sitting pretty & a 25, well that would be deluxe. But, the fun part was those 2 chain rings up front. The modern standardized 53/39 would be something to be desired. The options were things like 53/49 or 52 /42. You want to talk about learning to ride, you had to understand these steel steeds loved momentum.