In this month’s column I would like to reprint a letter I received from a pair of Eagle cyclists, during one of their stops on a tandeming tour of the European continent...

“Dear Euro Freddie: We are pilgrims in Mecca. My husband and I are standing on the front steps of Campagnolo S.r.l., on Via Della Chimica, an industrial park just outside Vicenza, Italy. Just to think that Tullio Campagnolo built this thriving business from his idea for the quick-release lever, atop Mount Croce d’Aune, makes my cycling gloves clammy. It was here that the first, aluminum racing parts gruppo was conceived, the Nuovo Record. It was here that titanium was first spotted in cycling with the Super Record gruppo. And this year, Campagnolo has done it again, with the incorporation of carbon-fibre throughout its new, Record 10 gruppo. We have not pedaled here today to partake of the factory tour. No, today my husband and I are paying tribute to just the entrance, for this is where bicycling’s epiphany takes place for those who make the pilgrimage.”

“Visions are a common phenomenon in Italy, and these steps are rich in cycling history. Ah... There... Honey, look what’s oozing out from this crack in the sidewalk! Why, it’s Campy chain lube! Can you believe it? And there! That piece of gum on the penultimate step! Why it looks just like the silhouette of an antique Valentino derailleur! It’s a miracle! LOOK! It’s the late Cino Cinelli, gesticulating to the not at all late Ernesto Colnago! AND LOOK!!! There’s the late Faliero Masi, arm and arm with the not so late Ugo DeRosa! It’s a summit meeting of legendary frame builders, right here on these famous steps! And who is this coming down to meet them? WHY IT’S NONE OTHER THAN THE LATE TULLIO HIMSELF, RESPLENDENT IN AN ERMINE SHOP APRON! He seems to be holding a crucifix, no, it’s a new Record 10 carbon-fibre crank arm! He offers it up to his esteemed colleagues, and they seem overcome with joy! I find myself uncontrollably rushing forward to examine this wondrous new component, when my husband shrieks that I have just tread on the gooey silhouette of a Valentino derailleur. Alas, the vision fades into thin air... We remount our tandem, taking care not to disturb the imprint on my shoe. One thing for certain - I will never wash off the sole of my Sidi.”

(Signed) Two Eagles with a common perch.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie