Celebrating Della Santa!
I got in on a Woolistic order for a retro wool jersey to go with my Della Santa. The colors don't exactly go with my bike but it's a classy and well-made jersey that fits perfectly and should be nice on some late summer and fall rides. The DS is still my best riding bicycle and I think it's been feeling neglecting because I've been spending more time on dirt this summer.
I decided to do a paring down of bikes and consolidate into one bike what seemed to be redundancies in various rides I'd accumulated over the years. My idea was to take my Gunnar Sport as the basic idea, with it's roadworthy ride characteristics as well as it's dirt abilities, and upgrade it, so to speak, with a locally made bike by Reno legend, Roland Della Santa. In the end this bike is to replace and consolidate several different in my stable with one bike that is even nicer.
I knew what I'd end up with would be nice, but after the first real ride out to the Verdi loop, I realized that I'd gotten even more than I'd bargained for. A road racing bike that takes a 35mm tire and still feels zippy. But more than that, I think I may now own the prettiest bike I've ever seen. And in my decades of bicycle obsession, I've seen a whole lot of amazingly beautiful bikes over the years. Forgive the many photos...I went a little crazy.
While waiting for my order at Laughing Planet the other day I snapped a few photos of their Greg LeMond and Roland Della Santa exhibit. I have to say I'm always intrigued by these less obvious color schemes and how classy they can look on a beautiful handmade bicycle frame. I never would have thought an olive green with yellow scheme would look so good but it works!
I went for a 40 mile ride yesterday, pausing south of town near Pleasant Valley to watch a bit of a horse competition. Forgive me, I have no knowledge of the different disciplines in the sport. But I do appreciate the beauty of these extraordinary animals. The muscles under their coats are just extraordinary. I was able to grab a few photos and a video in slow motion which I find mesmerizing. There is a reason those early images of a horse running done by Edward Muybridge are still so amazing to view.
Speedeth ever and ever away -
Over meadows and lanes, over mountains and plains,
Over streamlets that sing at their play..." - Eugene Field
That sense of freedom one gets on a long bike ride, exploring the "lanes, mountains and plains" is something I can relate to having ridden for decades.
It's pretty amazing to ride a bike that is 38 years old and discover that it gives up very little in the way of performance. Yeah it's lugged steel but with the downtube shifters and sewup wheels/tires it is remarkably light. More importantly, something about the tubulars just hums as it floats over the tarmac is pretty extraordinary. It's a bike that begs to get me into the drops which almost never happens on my modern road bike. More importantly, it inspires me to push it in the big ring which is not something I often do. A 10 speed bike that hums on the flats and sings on the climbs and descents. And it happens to be made by one of the premiere bike builders from the history of American Cycling...what's not to love!?
A 40 mile ride heading south of Reno and looping through some of my favorite spots in the Truckee Meadows has become my goto ride for mostly road with a little dirt of late. You can see from the pics why.
Friend and fellow Rambler, Jake, unveiled his new Della Santa at the club dinner last night and this is definitely a situation where the pictures are going to say more than my words. Be that as it may, the bike is built up for riding L'Eroica with this parts spec and has room for 32s (or perhaps bigger?) on it. The Molteni paint scheme, the fork crown, those lugs...just lovely! Sorry the photos are a bit dark but it was...dark outside at night. Go figure.
Or should I call, it "Santa's Workshop?" Judging from the Red and White frame Roland was prepping maybe that would have been apropos. Besides seeing the master at work I was regaled with stories about his time in the Navy and we talked about submarines and movies. Not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
A couple of cool reference points for the Roland Della Santa legacy crossed my desk this past week or so. Both worth listening or watching. One is a podcast from the Outspoken Cyclist that has a great interview with Roland. DON'T MISS THE INTERVIEW! He touches on everything from frame building and materials (obviously) to making forks, personalities in his long history in the industry, and Frank Zappa.
The other is some vintage video footage from the Nevada City Classic that shows Roland powering up that infamous climb. As I'm in the midst of restoring a 1979 Della Santa this is a nice thing to listen to while tinkering in the shop.
For over 12 Years I wrote the Reno Rambler Blog covering everything from Bicycle Advocacy, Reno Politics, Popular Culture, and my experiences as a long-time cyclist.