17th November – Away from the Bike



My week started with a trip to Italy, and a visit to the Fondriest and Sarto factories, including the opportunity to talk all things cycling with the chaps.
On Monday I was blown away by the Fondriest facilities, the quantity of bikes in the various ranges that had been produced, the stunning view of Fondriests lining the walls ready to be shipped to their new homes, and the numerous lucky individuals who had purchased them.












Padova was unusually rainy, and reminiscent of British weather, so we only had a short stroll around the Prato della Valle before getting out of the wet. We ventured into a warm restaurant with local artisan beer served with a wine glass and an ice bucket. The flavour was remarkably different from the usual Italian brew, and required a 2nd sample bottle to complete my quality control taste testing. I can confirm it was rather exceptional, but not quite what I would make at home.

On Tuesday the sun made an appearance after an overnight torrential downpour, which gave us an opportunity for a walk to the Velodrome used to launch the 2015 Fondriest range. Unfortunately it was locked and inaccessible, but the blue skies made the wander worthwhile. We finished off with a caffeine hit before heading off to Sarto.

The factory is unassuming, but inside is where the magic of their bespoke bike frames happens. Trade secrets forbid me from discussing the processes I witnessed but we learned they are making more frames for Campagnolo dealers and demos. After an exciting and fruitful meeting, Enrico escorted us to a lovely little restaurant for pasta, followed by roast duck with fennel and cauliflower.

Life invaded on Wednesday in the form of elderly family falling ill abroad, and impromptu hospital visits. Travel was arranged and duty fulfilment ensured training was on the back burner for the remainder of the week.
The Running and Endurance Sports show took place over the weekend. We were the only bike supplier there, due to the obvious fact that it was a running show.  Incidentally we received attention and admiration for the Fondriest, Sarto and Faggin frames nonetheless.