I would like to welcome all of you Eagle readers to my new column. I’ve managed to overlook the fact that your Editor rides an Asian road product, and I’m responding from across the pond to his plea for contributors towards the club’s literary monthly.

And, since your newsletter Editor’s bicycle brought the subject up, I might mention that I, Euro Freddie, was asked last month by a rather large fishing reel manufacturer and aspiring bicycle parts producer, to be a house guest and tour their production facility. This of course, was not the first time I’ve had to decline this rather dubious honor. In the late 1980’s, I declined attending their press unveiling of STD - their new handlebar mounted, Shift Transmitting Doorknobs. These were heralded as cycling’s first communicable hand rests. In the early 80’s, I declined to go and review a hush-hush prototype of what they thought would revolutionize bike handling - i.e. Dura-Ace AX Index Steering. The “science” behind this concept was that a cyclist would snap their handlebars into a preselected arc while executing a turn, thus reducing aerodynamic drag from front wheel meandering around a less than perfect corner. In the late 70’s, in response to top tube injuries, sustained by bike riders from their Integer FF free-wheeling crank failures, they asked me to test their new Slipping Seatpost Mechanism. This parts ensemble redesign, known as “Semipositron,” reportedly reduced the high impact statistics compiled from chamois pad sensors, by drastically diminishing the height of the rider’s fall onto the top tube. Needless to say, I did not attend. In the early 70’s, in the first wave of bicycle gram consciousness, I was asked to a sneak preview of their Pitch 10, 10mm drivetrain. Not only did they find ways to save weight by downsizing chains and chainrings, but crank arms too. Of course their heavily promoted shoes saved almost half the total figure by being “ingeniously” miniaturized, so that say, a rider like myself (who would normally wear a European size 42 shoe), would wear a 21! I stayed faithful to my Sidis and missed that plane trip too.

So why are they asking me again, you may well wonder? Well, the truth is that the Asian company is desperate for their first and only Tour de France win. With Jan Ullrich’s Telekom team riding Campagnolo, their prospects look bleak. In their quest to find what makes European bike parts win, their Rolodex once again spun to a stop at the Europhile with the file on European racing - yours truly.   See you next month -Euro Freddie.

<INDEX                                        DECEMBER - 1997                                                      NEXT>


Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie