1. What's the best ride you've ever been on?
So many insanely good rides, since I started riding in 1970. I’ve been lucky to have ridden and raced in many countries. It’s hard to pick just one, so how about three.
In 1979 I rode from London to Barcelona, then flew to Edinburgh and rode back to London. Back then we called it “touring,” but I didn’t have a “touring bike," just a “10-speed race bike" with sew-ups, so I learned how to fix sew-ups and rode heavier, cheaper tires. I had a rear rack for the tent and sleeping bag, and a handlebar bag on the front for a big, heavy 35mm Nikon with 3 lenses and 100 rolls of film. Just winged it on the route and where to camp. Bought a lot of Michelin maps!
Another ride that stays with me was a Pearl Pass ride in 1985. Epic climb to almost 13,000 feet from Crested Butte and then descent into Aspen. When we got to the top of Pearl Pass, Joe Breeze had arranged with his cousin, who lived in Aspen, to buzz us with his small plane. He got really close to us! We were whooping and hollering as he buzzed us. Someone had the forethought to drive a jeep up there with some coolers of beer. Heaven.
And, maybe 13 years ago I was lucky on one trip to Bianchi in Italy to be able to ride with a Bergamo cycling club over 4 passes in the Dolomites, that the Giro goes over. I was on a borrowed bike that was too small, with gearing that was wrong, in borrowed kit and helmet but I think it might have been the happiest day of my life. The mountain roads were full of cars, motorcycles and tour buses, but everyone was cheering us on over the passes and I never felt crowded on the road, despite all the vehicles. The climbs were long but not terribly steep and the descents were like ribbons of road. It remains one of the greatest experiences.
2. Describe your favorite bike you have right now.
I like to say the last one I rode, because I have a few, and it’s really the ride that is most important. Just built up an Open frame with SRAM 1 x 11, fat tires and drop bars, and rode up Mt. Tam on Sunday and it climbed crazy good. Hit a few boulders really hard on the fast descent, and broke the seal on the front and rear tubeless tires at the same time, so rode the rims down, which just added to the fun.
3. What's your dream vacation?
Riding in France or Italy in the mountains, eating the local food and drinking the local wine.
4. Do you still have a place in Fairfax or are you in Detroit full time - what's the deal with that?
I live in San Rafael and work from my home office. I go to Detroit when I need to, but our bike assembly is set up and humming along after almost 5 years. Our sales manager is in our New York office, so we’re spread out. We have a store in San Francisco and Palo Alto with lots of events to attend at those stores.
5. When was the last time you rode a single speed mountain bike?
Other than just tooling around doing errands, the last time would be the Single-Speed Worlds in South Wales, in 2001. The older I get, the lower the gears I need and it’s just too hard to get up the mountain with one gear. It was definitely fun while it lasted, and we did some very fun single-speed bikes at Bianchi that I’m very proud of.
6. What's your favorite part of your work day?
I like solving problems, hearing from customers, working with all our vendors.
Ha! Great question. Sneakers most of the time. Flip flops when it’s super hot, or if I’m lucky enough, in Hawaii.
7. Given the choice, sneakers or flip flops?