For my birthday this year I was given ‘A Race For Madmen — The Extraordinary History of the Tour de France’ by Chris Sidwells, and it has given me a fresh appreciation for what the pioneers of Le Grand Boucle had to endure. Riding up and down goat tracks over Cols and Pyrenees, primitive machinery and frustrating rules and regulations. It helped to place back in perspective my appreciation of classic bicycles.
Those men would probably look upon this Olmo with the same contempt as contestants of the Tour de France in the early 80’s would have for the ultra-light weight carbon fibre bikes of today. It serves as a reminder for those of us that cherish these classic bikes that one day even our modern day paper-weight weenie bikes will one day be considered ‘classics’, and that all technological development is all part of one big cycle… Dad jokes. Oh dear.
I retrieved this Olmo from spokesniffer’s flickr stream as aforementioned poignant reminder and discovered, coincidentally, that yesterday, October 31st, was the 75th anniversary of Guiseppe Olmo’s hour record, which he held for a year. Apart from numerous Giro d’Italia and various other Italian classics stage wins, a gold in the 1932 Olympic Road Race, Giuseppe has also provided us with some beautiful bicycles. As was the wont of many ex-racers, but this example held particular attraction for the simple fact that it has been ridden hard, and the patina shows it. Check out the aero forks and the position of the shifters. Olmo bikes continue to be innovative, but none so much as when Guiseppe still oversaw the design and layout.