About

Beautiful Classic Steel Italian Bikes.

So why did I decide to sell classic steel bikes? Several years ago while cycling in Tuscany, there were signs designating the L’Eroica route all over Chianti. I committed then and there to one day ride in the yearly event. 2014 is the year. I’m registered and ready to ride the Strada Bianchi – the white stone roads of Tuscany – along with 5000-6000 fellow vintage steel enthusiasts. As you may know, the L’Eroica requires older bikes, generally pre-1987 steel bikes. Shifting must be down tube, or in some cases pre-1980 bar-end shifters, no modern pedals. In my obsession to find a bike to ride in the event, I now have acquired approximately 25 beauties, mostly Italian. I can’t ride all of them in the L’Eroica, thus Bella Bici was born. My philosophy is that I will not sell a bike that I would not be proud to ride myself. They will be as mechanically and historically perfect as they can be and will qualify you to ride them in the Italian, UK and now, Japanese, L’Eroica events. And, of course, everywhere else. I have the bikes; I just need riders!

 

Steel Bike Adventures by Don.

My first bike was a beat-up old cruiser. A heavy, hulking mess of metal, nameless now in my lapsed memory, it was faded red with balloon tires and a huge shock-spring front end. This single-speed, coaster-braked behemoth was so homely even my sister wouldn’t ride it. But I treasured it. I rode that beast every day up and down a gravel road to my cousins’ house. It was my steed, my meteor, my breakaway. It may have been ugly, but it was also my ticket to freedom. When riding on the gravel got monotonous I’d sneak onto the busy four-lane highway in front of our house and ride a blessedly smooth span of about 150’ that traversed the ends of our semicircular driveway. The thrill of that escape to an ‘open’ road holds me yet.

When I was ten or eleven, I once convinced my mother to let me bike to church on a Saturday to serve mass along with a pal, Tommy. We had agreed to meet along the way – a 4.5 mile trek along country lanes. This was an epic adventure for me and so liberating I can now clearly trace the route in my mind’s eye. Though it was almost 60 years ago, the freshness of the air, the triumph of scaling small hills, the rush of the down-slopes, these emotions and the sensory images have not faded (though I daily rode a school bus along this route for 7 years!). That heightened feeling of freedom – cycling on an open road and the fresh perspective of observing a familiar world at a cycling pace.

Regrettably, for many years few bicycle adventures followed. High school was 11.5 miles away along the same busy highway that fronted my house and at 16, a car was this young man’s only desired mode of transport. Cycling for fun had been forgotten. College was all urban campuses and, for the most part, highly unsafe in the Detroit and Chicago of the late 60’s. After, however, when the bicycle craze hit the US hard in the early 70’s, I bought a beautiful white Peugeot PX-10. No more red clunkers for me! God, it was a looker. I fantasized that this steel beauty would attract chicks like moths to a flame. No boundaries now! No distance too great, no hills too steep. Alas, the chicks didn’t swarm, but the beauty of the bike’s classic lines, the harmony of function, the exhilaration at speed stayed with me, slumbering at times, but ever present only to be awakened years later in California. The Peugeot? It hung on a hook in my garage, rarely ridden, dust covered and later given away.

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