Hi all, Tom Adams back from breezy California (does the wind always blow that hard?) and extending a "thanks" to the unremembered list member who recommended a visit to the Cupertino Bike shop.
Three of us rented a car in our last three days of Reserve duty, and on the evening that I got the keys, I made tracks for Cupertino. The shop is delightful, with plenty of general bike merchandise, and a high proportion of modern road equipment. But if you look carefully among the rafters, there are many treasures to see.
Greg Lemond's Gitane is there ('83, I believe, when the team was Renault Elf Gitane and the Badger was king.) along with lots of Lemond memorabilia. Raul Alcala's time trial bike was there, as well as a nice assortment of vintage iron. The most unique piece was an unbadged chrome bike with a Campy rod shifting rear derailer, Ciocc brake levers and misc. other bits. The shop personnel thought is was a Moroni frame, as in Pino Moroni of Detroit Michigan, as seen on the CR site.
In addition to ogling a near mint early '80's Pogliaghi (built with Campy SR that will be mine as soon as I win the lottery), a Bottechia, Italvega, and other's that I can't recall, it was a pleasure to shoot the breeze with the staff. In particular, Len Tiernan was great. As Irish as Finian's Rainbow, Len had worked in Europe as a team wrench before immigrating. After an interval of chit chat (Was Fausto Coppi really better than Eddie Merckx?), Len disappeared into the back of the shop and reappeared with a grizzled but still lovely late '80's (?) lugged steel Concorde.
This, Len announced, was Sean Kelly's mount when he won his last Tour of Lombardy. I oohed and awed, examining the paint chips and chain slap marks, noting that the chainstays just aft of the bottom bracket were nearly devoid of paint. I won't attempt a parts identification, but it was a slant parallelogram rear Campy derailer. The bike spoke to me of hours on rainy, muddy roads, of hard climbs and sprinting for the line.
Alas, time didn't allow for me to offer Len a pint that night, as I had to return the car for a group trip to San Francisco, but I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I missed Vance, the other vintage enthusiast in the shop, but spoke to him on the phone the next day about the Pogliaghi. If anyone gets a chance, put Cupertino Bike Shop on your list of places to visit. Tell Len I sent you, and offer him a pint from me.
Tom Adams, back in Kansas City and fired up to get back on my bikes.