Welcome to Velo Vecchio

You've found a place to escape the world of spandex, carbon fibre, cycle computers and camelbaks. This is a place of steel, leather and wool, and of chrome and polished alloy. Talk of Italian race bikes, English touring machines, French randonneurs are all welcome here. Why here? When I was in high school in the early 50's I discovered French lightweight bicycles. I aquired a 4 speed Automoto with drop bars, a derailleur, and a leather saddle. But the temptations of 1950's high school culture and a driver's license followed by a hitch in the Coast Guard interrupted this budding affair. When my enlistment was about to expire in 1960 I started kicking motorcycle tires (Norton, Velocette) but decided first to try one of those fine lightweight bicycles. It was like I had a relapse of a tropical fever. I bought a Taurus from Freddy Morse's campus shop in Palo Alto. Then I picked up a used Cinelli track bike on which I cruised the streets of San Francisco like a proto-fixie-hipster. I traded up the Taurus for a new Ideor Asso from Oscar Juner's American Cyclery. It wasn't long before the Ideor was replaced by a Cinelli SC which I still ride. You can see it on another page.

So, if you are like me and like to talk about sew-ups, block chains, and Swiss-threaded hangers, or the Gatto brothers, Fausto Coppi, and Tommy Simpson, you've come to the right place. You can relax here and forget about the 21st century and indulge yourself in geezer talk. And you can get a peek at a time when the sport was amateur and we were just learning about road racing. Feel free to send your comments, corrections, or you own cycling stories to share.

Don "Dutch" Martinich


click on any image for a larger version

The Family Cinelli Page. 3 rather different machines.

The Campagnolo Gran Sport rear derailleur. The peloton's favorite in the early 60's (unless you were French).

If you were French and a randonneur, you might prefer this Huret.

Dunlop's patch kit for tubular tires provided everything necessary to repair both tube and casing.

Inside the kit.

Before t-shirts, patches were awarded to riders who completed century rides. That's actually a belt buckle on the right. The '77 patch featured Marin County's tandem aces, Otis Guy and Joe Breeze.

Top: The Stronglight 49 D was the first alloy crank widely accepted by the European pro peleton.
Bottom: The nicely finished, all steel Campagnolo Sport crank, introduced in 1971. It was flawed by lack of chamfering on the back edges of the arms which aggravated stress points. See the following photo.

The cracked right crank. Fortunately, steel does not fail catastrophically like other materials. Note the TA chainring.

These Campagnolo #1037 Strada pedals are just as smooth today as they were 50 years ago.

The Campagnolo #771 saddle tool. The closed end was able to fit under the saddle to adjust the two rail clamp bolts on the seatpost. The open end fit the tension adjusting nut on Brooks saddles such as the B-17.

The Campagnolo #1432 t-wrench socket (8mm) and hex handle (6mm) fit many fasteners and adjustments on the older gruppos.

This is a Stronglight crank tool. The 15mm socket end fit the crank's bolts and the remover's hex end and holder bushing. The dogs fit the dust caps. There was also a 10cm long rod to place in the circular hole for leverage.

Woe to those who don't use Universal's bargain priced Super 68's. They actually work quite well with Mathauser pads.

Become an expert Reynolds decal spotter with this handy chart. The presence of 753 dates the publication at 1976 or later. The legendary 531 tubesets were introduced in 1935.

Vintage hydraulic brakes. I don't think this is the 'superleggera' model.