Has anyone out there ever heard of a cycle shop somewhere in the Los Angeles area - I guess that that is a BIG area - called* MARCEL'S CYCLES* or that could possibly be* MARCELLE'S CYCLES* as I dont know whether the owner was male or female.
We are talking 1970s into the 80s here.
Some days ago I directed the List members to an article in the GUARDIAN Newspaper about the delapidated state of the Vigorelli track in Milan..and the ever-open workshop of Alberto Masi..
It was my close mate, John Helliwell, of Supertramp fame, who had phoned me about the article, and I must admit it took me some time to cotton on to his drift. Then I realisid that he was wondering whether his own MASI Gran Criterium had exited from those famous gates..he is quite a romantic at heart...and ended up on the sales floor at Marcelle's cycle shop
I shattered his dreams by suggesting that the bike that he had bought in California, while the Group really was on a roll, was probably a product of the workshop that Faliero had set up in Carlsbad, rather than anything even slightly Italiano..and spaghetti..Ferrari
When John brought it in for servicing in May 1997 during a short break from that year''s Tour- I dare not admit that I had never heard of Supertramp, but I did wonder what this lean guy dressed in a long black coat ,very narrow drainpipe trousers, almost like jophurs, large black almost surgical-type boots, silver pendant hanging over black rollneck sweater and a very impressive rocker's haircut to accompany his seven o'clock shadow beard. had to do with cycling; my usual customers were normally dressed in well-worn out-of-date cycle-shop rejected trade jerseys from yesteryear's long-gone trade teams.
I told John earlier today about Classicrendezvous and mentioned the fact that I thought that several of the frame-builders on the List had cut their file teeth in the Carlsbad workshop. At the time of meeting John all those years back the only MASI I had seen was the one on "Breaking Away"..or was it another film?
Casting my eye over his bike at the time I thought it looked far too big for him and said so, because he does not look that tall but he does stoop a little possibly from having those heavy saxophones slung around his neck. ..or possibly it's the weight of his wallet. He told me that the guy at the shop had fitted it up for him ..all Campag Record or Nuevo Record..so he just rode it..didn't ask questions.
I taped it up, found it was a 23"....with an enormous head tube...so I assumed a short top-tube..but No..that was quite long again 23" or just over..Odd, I thought. Not long afterwards I got him onto a 22" TVT carbon, then onto a CORIMA..then a VITUS..all 22". Now, unfortubnately he rides a Specialised..and his time-trial results have gone down the tube...but he is still fastest veteran in the Club, but I am threatening a come-back next year.
If by chance, any of you ex-MASI men are reading this, and can find the time RIGHT NOW to jot me a few details and souvenirs about Carlsbad, I'd like to share them with John over a few beers tonight after the meeting of our club, the Settle World-Wide-Wheelers, of which John is both President and Treasurer.
If you are more used to remembering John in his customary position of rocking back on his heels with his tenor sax thrust forward..then visit our website at http://www.settlewww.org.uk. you <http://www.settlewww.org.uk. you> can see him on his bike..in the starting blocks for the Wednesday evening 11.3 mile hilly time trial.
And just in case you're missing hearing his trademark sax solos, John is back in the groove blowing the riffs with his own group Creme Anglaise. Unfortunately John thought the name sounded very classy..shades of la creme de la creme..Little did he know that it just means "custard" in French. Hear John at http://www.johnhelliwell.com
By the way how does the Gran Criterium rank in the MASI hierachy ? Any tales from the workshop will be passed on. Oh ! I told him not to look too closely at the mitring of the tubes in the bottom bracket !!!