I’d like to start this month’s column off with a few responses to my Eagle readers, as their letters just keep piling up.

“Dear Mr. Euro: I know you must be inundated with responses from your March ’98 column request for new tricks from your favorite tools, but I’d like to submit another. To sort of paraphrase your request, I’ve found one of my favorite tools can actually help me turn tricks! The tool I refer to is the Silca 2-Step Mini. It’s a 22cm long tire pump, and by strategically placing it down the front of my...” (I don’t think we need to read any more of this to know where it is going -E.F.) (signed) Seymor Action. Dear Mr. Action- I personally do not care what you do in your private life, but in my column you are required to keep your banana, and your mini-pump in your rear jersey pocket. “Hi Freddie: I sure like your informative column. Say, do you know how many cork trees are felled each year to make Cinelli handlebar tape? Should this be a cause for global concern?” (signed) Political Cyclist. Dear Tree Hugger- You can hug your Cinelli bars with a clear conscious, as cork trees are not felled, but peeled. Cork is the bark of this remarkable Portuguese export, and thus, a renewable resource. “Oh Dear Freddie: Help a girl make the informed, correct choice. Should I spray or wax my drive-train?” (signed) Silky Smooth, XOXOX. Dear... Boy is it getting hot in here? Ah, yes, whew, ahem, Ms. Smooth- Aerosol sprays are great for depilating leg hair... Whew... But if you’re thinking what I think you are, a hot wax dip is the only treatment I recommend for keeping your roller chain friction free and factory fresh. And finally, “Honorable European Freddie: Enclosed you will find a round-trip ticket to Osaka, Japan. Please accept this humble gift, as token of our appreciation, and be our honored guest, complete with a private fitting of our new Dura-Ace, Macro-Zoom, Prototype Eyeball.” (signed) Your Asian Fishing Buddies. Dear Blowfish- You guys are some ripe sushi. My vision remains intact. I see no fishing trips scheduled in the near or distant future... And your ads are just plain gross!

Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus, a series of lost notebooks which were discovered in Spain in the 1960’s, revealed his studies concerning mechanical subjects like sprocket gearing and roller chains. On the back of one of its pages was a drawing of a bicycle, almost 400 years ahead of what we presently consider its date of invention. Any doubt that the Italian Road Bike is here to stay? -Euro Freddie.

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Criterium Corner with Euro Freddie