Sunday, February 27, 2011

Coppi, Bartali and Redbreast

About a week ago Friday, Lestrud came over for an evening. At one time he owned a bicycle shop and he has tools and skills that I am sometimes lacking. Dan Ulwelling taught him to build wheels and he learned well. I don't know how he does it, when he builds up a set of wheels they never go out of true and don't seem to need a second tightening up after the spokes seat themselves. I seem to have misplaced my BB wrench, so he brought over a loaner and the full-size DT Spoke chart. I just furnished the water, ice and Redbreast Irish Whiskey. We kind of did it backwards. We drank enough whiskey to make wives uneasy, and THEN I brought out the rims and hubs to measure. I think we focused, re-measured and re-read the charts enough times to get the spoke lengths correct. I hope so, because I have 72 DT Revolutions on the way. A testimonial: Revolutions are really light, 1.5mm with 2.0mm butted ends. I am a pretty good eater and heavy. I've broken spokes, but with 36 x 4 cross wheels I have never snapped a Revolution. I guess the light spokes must stretch and absorb the punishment rather than breaking. Anyway, a thumbs up. For Redbreast too.

Lestie left me a Fausto Coppi book and a couple of videos. Every great champion needs a strong, ongoing rival. Fausto Coppi had Gino Bartali. Gino was supposedly a war hero, smuggling documents on training rides, though I'm not certain why he wasn't drafted. Fausto was and almost immediately became a prisoner of war in North Africa and spent the war just trying to get by. Gino met with the Pope to be blessed before every race and made a show of crossing himself at the starting line and finishing line. Fausto didn't. He said he didn't think God cared what gear you were in or who won a bicycle race. I really want to like Bartali. He is even the featured rider on my blog background. I like his prizefighter look. Still it's hard, the more I read, the more it becomes obvious he was pious, arrogant and petty ... which of course makes him a good foil for the dashing, free-wheeling Fausto.


Johann Rissik said...

Lucky wheels!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the heads-up on the Revolution spokes. I'm thinking 36 per wheel should be enough for me! -Tony

Jonny Hamachi said...

Oh, the Redbreast is soo good.

And the Middleton when someone else is buying.

reverend dick said...

You are baiting the bears.

I again point to the carrying of messages to aid the resistance during WWII.

It's OK to love pious Gino.

And, plus, even my big @$$ rides the Revolutions on pave.

Gunnar Berg said...


I have read enough about Gino to know that the aiding the resistance story is iffy at best. It was a long time ago and really doesn't make any difference now, other than it is part of the narrative. I do not wish to bait or even discuss. It is what I honestly believe.