Last month I was invited to the Vatican in Rome for my annual, pre-Christmas cleaning and detailing of the Pope’s Campagnolo 50th Anniversary Gruppo. Monsignor has held only the highest esteem for these bicycle components since the day he took possession of serial # 002. Such a splendid array of jewel-like anodized items, each embellished with a 24 karat, gold Campy seal. The sheer abundance of fingerprints across each piece confessed the fact that, second to His rosaries, these near sacred objects are some of His most fondled relics.

Towards the end of our session His Most Holiness expressed, sheepishly, His rather cavalier loan of His Campagnolo Professional full tool set to a high position Cardinal, and asked me if I thought it was in safe hands. I reassured Him that His station afforded Him not only domain over benevolence, but ecumenical promotion as well. Feeling much relieved, His Eminence fetched a sacramental bottle of wine and, from beneath His vestments, brought forth none other than “Il Cavatappi,” the magnificent Campagnolo corkscrew.

As the red wine settled in, I began to see a pattern... A red pattern of passion -Italian Passion- all ending in the letter “i”. Think about automobile: Red Ferrari. Think about motorcycle: Red Ducati. Ponder the bicycle: Red Cinelli. Cino Cinelli designed what the world now recognizes as the modern road race frame back in 1948. But why red? Why does the supreme example of each machine present itself in the sacramental colour? Isn’t red a woman’s colour? I mean, red dress, red nails, red shoes, red lips... Then the wine reminded me of the baboon’s rump in estrus -RED. Why it’s men who are seduced by red! Women wear it to get the male’s attention. Ah, passion and the red machine. Then another pattern emerged, all of my past girlfriends had names that ended in “i”. Let’s see, there’s Cheri, and Nikki, and Rosi, and...    Ciao Bella -Euro Freddie.

<INDEX                                           JANUARY - 1998                                                       NEXT>


Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie