Monday, August 3, 2015

The Great Boffo

"The man is more important than the machine." That is the message young readers and future retrogrouches should take from Frank Dickens's classic children's story The Great Boffo, which has just been re-released by the Pursuit imprint of Snowbooks.

First published in 1973, The Great Boffo draws its inspiration from the golden era of bicycle racing, when road-hardened, mustachioed men wore goggles and raced over dusty unpaved roads. The author, Frank Dickens, was well known in the U.K. for his long-running comic strip Bristow, which ran for a record-setting 41 years. Dickens was an avid bicyclist, and in the 1940s had moved to Paris to pursue his dream of becoming a professional bicycle racer. When he found he could not make a living as a racer, he began selling cartoons to French magazines and newspapers, including the sports daily L'Équipe with its historic link to the Tour de France.

The boy stared and stared. On such a machine
one could hardly be beaten. "It is not surprising
that Boffo wins all his races," he said to himself. 
It seems fitting that The Great Boffo, written by an avid cyclist and racer, was revived by another fanatical bicyclist, James Spackman, who has fond memories of the book from his own childhood. "My dad used to read it to me as a kid, and certain phrases from it (such as "the man is more important than the machine") are often quoted in my family." Spackman accepted it as a privilege to bring back one of his childhood favorites and to introduce his old hero to a new generation of children.

The book is about a little boy who works in a wine shop and idolizes the champion bicycle racer, the Great Boffo. The boy dreams of seeing his hero when the big race comes through his town, but unfortunately he has to work, making deliveries for the shop's owner, Mr. Oscar, who has no time for enjoying bicycle races.

While the boy is out on his "heavy and awkward" delivery bicycle, carrying bottles of lemonade to a customer across town, he happens upon the feeding station for the race -- but the station is empty and the racers are approaching. Thinking fast, the boy gives them the drinks from his basket. But when one of the bottles shatters on the ground and his hero, the Great Boffo, suffers a double puncture, the boy finds he has another way to save the day, as Boffo borrows his delivery bike to get back into the race.

"Both tyres are punctured," he said sadly. "I am out of the race, lad."
"The man is more important than the machine."
The Great Boffo is a thoroughly enjoyable book for kids and adults alike, and the overall message is one that I think any retrogrouch can get behind. Whether you buy it to share with a child or to enjoy it yourself, the book can be purchased HERE through Amazon.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Throwback Thursday - On a Friday: Vintage Schwinn Ads

I've always had sort of a soft spot for Schwinns. I know a lot of Retrogrouch fans do, too. My first really nice bike was a Super Le Tour, and while I would go on to own nicer bikes over the years, that one really helped me catch the bug.

One thing unique about Schwinn was that they always had a strong commitment to adult cycling - long before it became popular during the Bike Boom of the early '70s, and during a time when there couldn't have been much financial incentive to do so. Sure, they had their ads for Sting Rays and other kids bikes in magazines like Boys Life - as well as all those television ads with Captain Kangaroo -- but they also ran tons of full-page ads for adult bikes throughout the '60s and '70s featuring adult riders, usually in "normal" clothing - out enjoying a ride for fitness and fun - or with the whole family. Maybe for that reason, when the Bike Boom hit, sales of bikes like Schwinn's Varsity and Continental went through the roof.

I just went through some of my old Bicycling and American Cyclist (that was Bicycling, before the name was changed) magazines from that era and found a bunch of old Schwinn ads - usually taking up the entire back cover of the magazines. Take a look - and enjoy!

Here's an old one - 1963, I believe. Notice that it's still "Arnold Schwinn" - the company would drop the "Arnold" name a couple of years later. Adolph Arnold was a Chicago meatpacker who provided the financial backing for Ignaz Schwinn. I'm not sure when Arnold got out of the business, but Schwinn kept the name for some time after.

From 1968. The slogan "For the Young in Heart" would be used again and again through the late '60s and early '70s.

Also from 1968. "His and Hers" bicycles are a common thing in the ads from this time, and I'm betting a lot of couples bought them exactly that way. I had an aunt and uncle who owned matching "his & hers" Schwinns from about the same time.

Another "His & Hers" ad - from '72.

From '78. I adore the women in these old Schwinn ads. Totally middle America - kind of wholesome - but a little sassy at the same time. Yeah - those are some short shorts - but in their defense, the men are often shown with basically the same shorts.

From '78. Another wholesome middle-America model, outpacing her man. Funny thing - the tagline is "You may never buy another bike." That was probably true, but not for the reason they're implying. Sad fact of American cycling is that people bought these wonderful, durable, reliable bikes with excellent intentions -- then the bikes sat in basements and garages virtually unridden for the next couple of decades. Now, they make great finds at garage sales and estate sales.

1978. His & Hers matching bikes - and outfits! See what I mean about the shorts? 

One of the things that's so great about these ads is that bicycling is shown to be as normal and American as apple pie -- with regular people, men and women, out having fun, wearing "normal" clothes - and just enjoying themselves on a bike. Look through a magazine like Bicycling today, and see how many ads send that message. Instead of coming up with increasingly smaller marketing segments (gravel bikes, all-road bikes, bike-packing bikes, etc. etc.) in order to sell more bikes to the same people who already have bikes, maybe the industry should be looking at ways to make cycling more appealing to all those people who think about riding but don't do it because they're afraid they have to dress like a super hero to do it.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Bike Safety 101: Disney's I'm No Fool With a Bicycle

In the Bike Safety 101 series, I've looked at a lot of old educational films, many of which were cranked out by low-budget, relatively unknown production companies that specialized in films for schools. But today's bike safety film comes from a giant in family entertainment - Walt Disney.


In I'm No Fool With a Bicycle from 1955 (released in color in 1956) the conscientious pedagogue Jiminy Cricket gives a short history of the bicycle, and explains some of the basics of safe riding. The 8 min. film was part of an "I'm No Fool" safety series that aired on the original Mickey Mouse Club TV show in the 1950s. In fact, the bicycle safety film was the very first in that series, which also included lessons on fire, water, pedestrians, and more.

I'm No Fool With a Bicycle begins like the other films in the I'm No Fool series (in fact, most of the opening animated footage is exactly the same from one film to the next as a cost-cutting method), which is to say, it begins with Jiminy Cricket surrounded by books in a library, singing the very catchy song "I'm No Fool" that should be absolutely familiar to anyone old enough to remember Annette, Tommy, Cubby, and the rest of the original Mouseketeers.

I'm no fool! No-sir-ee!
I'm gonna live to be a hundred and three.
I play safe for you and me,
'Cause I'm no fool!

That song was written by Disney songwriter Jimmie Dodd, and sung by Cliff Edwards, who did the voice of Jiminy Cricket from the 1940 film Pinocchio, and up until the late 1960s. By the way - songwriter Dodd also wrote the Jiminy Cricket song "Encyclopedia E-N-C-Y-C-L-O-P-E-D-I-A" which was so catchy that to this day I (and perhaps an entire generation of baby boomers before me) cannot spell the word "encyclopedia" without singing it.

Jiminy then goes on to talk about doing things the right way and the wrong way, and how only fools do things the wrong way. Not until he opens up a book about bicycles does the animated footage become specific to this particular film, otherwise the opening sequence all got recycled in the other safety films in the series.

Jiminy's history lesson fills up the rest of the first half of the film:

Jiminy shows a drawing of a hobby horse in the book -- the drawings in the book then come to life, in a sense, and we get to see little animated segments of how the various evolutionary iterations of the bicycle worked, and how they didn't work.
Jiminy tells kids that the Hobby Horse "was also called a 'Dandy Horse' because it was popular among a group of foppish young men who were called 'Dandies'." We then see various ways the Dandy loses his effete composure while trying to use the contraption.
Working their way through history, we see other evolutionary steps, like the "Bone Shaker" and the  "High Wheeler" -- and with each one, there is a little animation of what was wrong with it.

"It was very popular if you overlooked the problems of getting on - and getting off." You just know this guy's going to end up doing a face plant.
There he goes . . .
Eventually we get to the modern bicycle:

"Today we have the real, modern, safety bicycle. Comfortable. Brakes. Rubber tires. Safety guards. Just about everything you need. In fact, it is probably the most widely used vehicle the world has ever known. . . 
"Even today in many countries, it is the chief means of transportation for the entire family."
Not in the U.S. though, let's just be clear about that -- and that is the only admission in the entire film that bicycles can actually be more than just toys for kids. From here on out, I'm No Fool With A Bicycle covers the same ground as every other bicycle safety film from the 50s and 60s. Bicycles are for kids. Cars are for adults. So get those ridiculous socialist notions of adults on bicycles out of your head right now.

The next half of the film follows the oft-used "Goofus and Gallant" formula using little chalkboard characters to represent "You" the viewer . . .


And a "common, ordinary fool":


Jiminy then illustrates various rules about riding by praising "You" doing things right, while we get to laugh at the fool doing everything wrong.

"Remember, a bicycle is to You what a motor car is to a grownup." There you have it - and don't forget it.
"You" ride with your hands on the bars, your wheels on the ground, use hand signals, stay to the right, and don't show off.
The fool doesn't take care of his bicycle, rides no-hands, disobeys rules, and shows off -- and we're told he won't live long.

All the while, Jiminy sings more bicycle-specific verses of the "I'm No Fool" song.

As Jiminy criticizes the fool, he says things that would never get past today's sensitivity police, saying things like, "OK, Nitwit" and "Try it again, Stupid." 
After the fool is reduced to a pile of chalk dust, Jiminy pins a big "I'm No Fool" medal on "You."


And that's the end of the film, but there's still more to mention.

Apart from it's significance as a bicycle safety film, I'm No Fool With a Bicycle has other points of interest worth discussing. For one thing, it represented a shift in Walt Disney's operations as they made the transition from full-length animation and short films for the big screen to shorts for the new, burgeoning medium of television. Working on tighter schedules for TV meant finding ways to save time as well as cutting costs (hence the use of so much "recycled" animation footage in things like the I'm No Fool series). The animation style also had to become much less detailed - flatter, and simpler, with bolder outlines -- making Jiminy easier for audiences to make out on their smaller, often grainy TV screens.

Jiminy in 1940 - Pinocchio

Jiminy in 1955 - I'm No Fool. And yes, Jiminy did become more of a caucasion-toned cricket for 1950s television audiences.
Another thing to point out is that Walt Disney found a whole new market and another way to make money. After films like I'm No Fool With a Bicycle aired on television's The Mickey Mouse Club, they were then released through the company's new division that specialized in renting out 16mm films to schools and other civic institutions. That division later became the Disney Educational Media Company.

Lastly, this film, along with several others in the series, was re-made and re-released in 1988, combining some of the old parts with newer live-action footage. And of course, the updated (and twice as long) version made sure to push bicycle helmets. I can't seem to find a copy of the updated version, however.

In the meantime, put on your mouse ears and cast yourself back to the '50s and watch I'm No Fool With a Bicycle (courtesy of Hbvideos on YouTube):



Oh, Annette, where are you when I need you?

Monday, July 27, 2015

2015 Tour de France

Racing in the Post-Armstrong Era

The 2015 Tour de France (or "Big Ol' Race Around France" as Grant Petersen calls it) concluded yesterday, and Chris Froome of the U.K. is the winner. It was his second tour win, and makes him the first U.K. rider to win the race twice.

Chris Froome and his Team Sky teammates cross the line together in Paris.
I'm pleased with Froome's win - if I could be said to have had a favorite or prediction for this year's winner, it would have been Froome. He's an impressive cyclist in many ways - good in the mountains, a decent time-triallist, and calm under pressure. But to be honest, I only "half" paid attention to this year's Tour. It's an unfortunate fact of life about bike racing in the "Post-Armstrong" era that it's hard to take the sport seriously. The thing is, as much as the UCI would like us all to believe otherwise, doping didn't begin or end with Lance Armstrong (yes - I use his name. It's not like he's Voldemort or something). And one has only to look at the list of tour winners from the last 20 years to see the problem:

Who won the race between 1999 and 2005? Nobody!
I don't just mean the 7-year gap where the results are simply crossed out - though that does still raise an interesting question. Who the hell won all those races? In other years when a winner was disqualified later, the title was transferred to the rider who had finished 2nd. See Oscar Pereiro in 2006 (thank you Floyd Landis) and Andy Schleck in 2010 (thank you Alberto Contador). So why didn't they do that in the Armstrong years? Probably because all the top finishers in those years were likely to have been as doped as he was. Officials would have ended up awarding the title to whomever the poor schlub was who finished last - giving somebody the otherwise impossible distinction of being the Tour Champion and the Lantern Rouge simultaneously.

But it's not just the Armstrong Gap. Look at some of the other winners there. Bjarne Riis? Doped to his gills on EPO (confessed after the statute of limitations expired). Jan Ullrich? Credible stories abound about his doping, and he retired from racing after being implicated in Operation Puerto. Marco Pantani? His drug-fueled record on Alpe d'Huez inexplicably still stands. He was disqualified from the '99 Giro d'Italia for doping, and was also implicated in Operation Puerto, as well as several other doping investigations. Despite dying from a drug overdose (surprising?) he is still seen as some kind of hero to many - some of whom insist his death was actually murder. Then there are also the aforementioned disgraces with Landis and Contador.

Sorry, but the fact that nobody has been stripped of a tour title since 2011 hardly makes it easier to be a believer.

So, unfortunately, any time someone starts to shine in the race, that rider is immediately suspected of doping. It hardly seems fair to the racer who is capable of winning the Tour, but as soon as someone pulls on that yellow jersey, people start asking questions. As for me, I get tired of waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Doping Allegations

This year, the rumors started flying after Stage 10, when Chris Froome just seemed to dominate all others on the climb of La Pierre-Saint Martin on the first day in the Pyrenees. Performance numbers on Froome were analyzed by a French physiologist who concluded that either Froome is naturally superhuman (unlikely), or he's artificially enhanced. Of course, the media jumped all over that, and fans started screaming "Doper" at Froome as the peloton raced by. One fan even jumped out into the road and threw urine at him.

But even as people took that report as instant condemnation, it's also possible that the physiologist's analysis of the numbers is flawed - that any small variations in the data collection (from power meters, etc.) could lead to a pretty wide margin of error. One article I found on the subject seems to bear that out (see HERE).

Further complications come from the fact that it's basically impossible to prove someone is racing clean, and while teams keep releasing data on their racers, there are always people who will claim that it's not enough, and they must be hiding something. So early in the race there were reports that someone hacked into Team Sky's computer data, probably looking for evidence of foul play. And Team Sky also released numbers to the media voluntarily, which only led to more accusations.

"Mechanical Doping" Too?

As if performance enhancing drugs weren't enough, there is the ongoing specter of a different kind of performance enhancement going around bike racing -- dubbed "mechanical doping," or in other words, hiding an electric motor in the massively bloated carbon fiber frames of today's racing bikes.

Rumors of hidden motors have been going around for a while now. The first time I heard such a rumor was when Fabian Cancellara dominated at Paris-Roubaix in 2013. Such rumors gained intensity when a bike ridden by Ryder Hesjedal seemed to take off by itself after a crash at the 2014 Vuelta. Although one could almost dismiss such claims as a joke, the UCI is taking it seriously and now routinely checks bikes for hidden motors.

An official is inserting a small camera into the bottom bracket of a bike at this year's TdF. Chris Froome's bike was one of those bikes checked. No, so far, nobody has ever found a motor.

Could such a thing be done? While there's still no proof that any professional racer has done such a thing, it is apparently possible. For a long while, power-assist motors for bicycles have been large, obvious hunks that would be impossible to hide. But there are now some powerful motors that are compact enough to fit inside a frame tube, with battery packs that are similarly compact and concealable. One such motor is the Vivax Assist:

The Vivax Assist could easily be concealed in the seat-tube of today's carbon fiber bikes. The bevel gear works at the bottom bracket. The battery could be concealed in the down tube, and the power button or switch could be disguised or hidden on a brake/shift lever. That doesn't mean it's been done, however.
So now anybody who starts to succeed in a bike race has to submit his body to the drug tests, his bike to the motor inspectors, and divulge every bit of available data to the media -- and somewhere in the midst of all this circus, there is supposedly a bike race going on.

Get Serious

All in all, it just makes it hard to enjoy watching a bike race. And if all the doubts about cheating make it so hard to take it seriously, then bicycle racing is in danger of becoming a slightly less entertaining version of pro wrestling -- people know it's all fake, they just watch it for the spectacle. I just don't see myself becoming one of those people who says something like, "Of course it's all fake - I only watch it for the crashes."

Friday, July 24, 2015

Maynard Hershon: The Bicyclists' Writer

People who've been biking for more than a couple of decades are sure to know the name Maynard Hershon, or at least know of his writing. Hershon used to write a regular column that appeared in Winning magazine back in the 1980s. If you were serious about bicycling at that time, you probably read Winning magazine, and his columns were always on the last page of each issue. Later, he was a regular contributor to BOB newsletters (that's the Bridgestone Owners Bunch to those under 30) and The Rivendell Reader. Hershon's articles often have a gentle sense of humor, and usually a strong insight on some greater truth -- at least as far as the bicycling world goes, which is admittedly a little less complicated than the rest of the world and real life as we know it -- though sometimes it still has the same relevance. As a writer, I consider him one of my influences.

I recently re-discovered this old poem that he wrote for the BOB newsletter (which was good reading even if you didn't own a Bridgestone). If there is a "Retrogrouch Creed," this would have to be it.

Good Enough for Fausto
by Maynard Hershon (aka BOB 450)

Would I like the old days back?
Will I ride my inch-pitch hack
Till they bring the Yardbirds back?
Do I love my Pletcher rack?
And do I want the old days back?
By Bianchi green - I do.

Do I like my Dettos black?
Am I tattooed (twice) "Mafac?"
Will I ride my early Sachs
Till the paneled down tube cracks?
So do I want the old days back?
By Kelly's clips - I do.

Am I put off by Kestrel's act?
Do I take the Coni book as fact?
Will I ride 40 holes in back
Till proper wooden rims come back?
Do I want the old days back?
On Gino's health I do.

Do I defend face-to-face
Merckx's "real-bike" Hour pace?
Do my shifters clamp in place?
Do I forget I never raced, just
Ground along at tourist pace
But passed by women, always chased?
But do I want Dura-Ace erased?
Trust me; yes I do.

In my world shorts would all be black,
All young guys would ride the track,
And fix my silks at a buck a crack.
See, I speak Campy but my voice is cracked,
I'm clipped and strapped but I'm off the back,
I learned the lingo but forgot the knack,
I'm retro-suffering in the laughing pack.
Getting dropped is what I do.

Enough already with the sordid facts;
I've admitted I want the old days back:
Like a red Bob Jackson in Santa's pack,
Beige-box pieces, front to back.
Cinelli, Bindas, S.L. blacks,
Each thread lubed with warm bee's wax.
We love our dreams but we live by facts;
I'd settle for a BOB-club fanny pack.


If you understand all the old-school references (and there are a lot of 'em) then you are a true retrogrouch. If you're a youngster raised on STI and carbon fiber, you can find a full explanation and glossary HERE (and then you should ask yourself what you're even doing reading this blog!).

Many of Hershon's articles from Winning magazine centered on a fictional bike shop that bore such a strong resemblance to the favorite local bike shops in so many towns around the country that many people from coast to coast were convinced that he was describing their local shop.

In 1990, about 50 of those stories were collected and published in a book called Tales from the Bike Shop. I still have a copy, and I'm glad I do as the book has long been out of print and almost impossible to find (though it was apparently released in a Kindle ebook version not too long ago). The original edition of the book was illustrated by cartoonist Jef Mallett, who nowadays creates the cartoon Frazz -- which often has a lot of bike-specific content in it. Interestingly, I was able to get my own copy of Tales from the Bike Shop signed by Mallett when I met him some years back. I wouldn't mind being able to get it signed by Maynard, too.

A Momentary Detour:

from Frazz --

Jef Mallett is one of the few cartoonists I know who can actually draw bicycles properly.

Back on Track:

If you enjoyed reading Maynard Hershon's articles, you should know he's still out there writing regularly. He had a blog going for a while though it seems to have been dormant since about 2011. The archives are still active, however (see HERE).

Current columns appear in The Bicycle Paper, which covers the bicycling scene in the Pacific Northwest. Many of the paper's regular articles and Maynard Hershon's columns can be found on their website, www.bicyclepaper.com/articles. If it's been a while since you've read his work, it's worth taking the time to get reacquainted.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Bicycles at the Smithsonian

There's a new exhibit at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History called The Object Project which looks at the historical importance of various consumer products as markers of societal shifts. The exhibit explores the interplay between the consumers, the inventors, the manufacturers, and even the marketers, and how certain products changed our way of life. Some products have a "ripple effect" that spreads their impact far beyond the inventor's original intentions. Among the highlights in the exhibit is the bicycle, which gave birth to countless innovations and improvements that we now take for granted.

Consider the role that the bicycle played in manufacturing -- like the parts standardization that laid the groundwork for the mass-production assembly lines, electric welding, lightweight steel tubing, ball bearings, chain drives, and of course pneumatic tires. Consider the role that early bicyclists played in the paving of our roads and increasing people's mobility. Or the role that bicycling played in women's liberation - or to the liberation of all people to travel longer distances swiftly and efficiently.

While not everyone will be traveling to Washington to view the exhibit, one can see some highlights on the museum's website (HERE). It's worth taking a look.

A picture of the Schwinn factory in Chicago in the 1890s, from the Smithsonian exhibit. Many of the methods perfected in the manufacture of bicycles were later transferred to manufacturing automobiles.  Many of the automotive industry pioneers got their start making bicycles. It's almost ironic to point out, but without bicycles, there'd be no cars.

From the Smithsonian's collection. At the height of the bicycle craze of the 1890s, bicycles and their riders became the subject of numerous popular songs, like The Scorcher by George Rosey ("Scorcher" was a common name, sometimes an epithet, given to fast-paced bicyclists of the time). Before phonographs became common household items, sheet music like this was the primary avenue for getting popular music in the home. But the picture that accompanies the music also illustrates the transformative power the bicycle had on women -- for their liberation, their health, and even in the move towards more rational clothing styles.

Even race relations, or the "color barrier" in sports were affected by bicycling.  In the 1890s, bicycle racing was one of the most wildly popular sports of the time - and one of its greatest early champions was Marshal "Major" Taylor - World Champion in 1899.

The importance of the bicycle in numerous aspects of life was highlighted in a recent New York Times piece which coincided with the opening of the Smithsonian's Object Project. 

If you're interested in more, click on over to the National Museum site, follow some of the links to companion essays, and check out the New York Times piece. It's all a cool look through bicycling history.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Original Paint - Part Due: 1960s Galmozzi

There's an old urban legend about a guy who buys a cheap painting from a garage sale, then after he gets it home, accidentally bumps or knocks some paint off the canvas. Then he notices that there's another painting underneath the cheap acrylic paint, something done in oils, which is why the newer paint doesn't really adhere to it. Carefully removing more of the acrylic, he discovers that someone has painted over top of a rare and valuable Rembrandt.

OK - like most urban legends, who even knows if that's true - and it probably isn't. But I'm reminded of it when I think about this next story. And this one really is true.

After the recent article about original paint, a friend from the Classic Rendezvous group, Kevin Kruger, shared some pictures of a bike he recently acquired -- a mid 1960s Galmozzi. These are very desirable bikes built by an Italian master - except that this one had been repainted and covered with decals declaring it "Baldi" -- but the original Galmozzi head badge was still there proudly declaring the bike's true identity.

Apparently, Kevin set about trying to remove the overpaint to prepare the bike for a proper repaint, and discovered that the bike's original finish was still largely intact underneath! Using guitar picks, extra-fine steel wool, and acetone, Kevin was able to remove the blue paint and the gray primer to reveal a very cool orange and white paint job, and even some hint of the original decals. It was apparently a time consuming and painstaking process, requiring much patience, but the final results should be wonderful -- talk about restoration.

One thing worth pointing out is that this was a very rare situation. Typically when a bike is repainted (if it's done properly, anyhow) the original finish is completely stripped off before new paint is applied - but in this case, it is obvious someone simply sprayed new primer and paint right overtop of the old finish. It also speaks to the quality of the original paint (and lack thereof in the repaint) that the newer paint could be removed to reveal the original largely intact.

Here's the frame with its blue overpaint and Baldi decals. Scrapings on the down tube reveal some hints of the original orange paint underneath.
One of the "in-progress" shots shows much of the blue paint removed from the top and down tubes. Lots more still to be done. 
This reminds me a little of archaeology. It's like watching a little bit of history being unearthed.

Another "in-progress" shot shows that most of the blue paint is now gone. Only some primer residue around the bottom bracket and hiding in the nooks and crannies remains. There is some paint loss of the original orange -- not from the scraping, but from before the repaint. One can pretty well imagine that this was more or less the condition of the bike before it was repainted.

According to Kevin, the white panel on the down tube was resprayed, and the orange was touched up. He says the uneven edge on the white panel was there originally and will be covered by world champion decal bands, as per the original. 
Proper reproduction decals have been ordered and will be applied soon. I can't wait to see the finished bike.

Will the bike look as perfect as a new paint job? No, of course not - it will have some patina, some history, and there's something very attractive about that in a different way. It will certainly have more value. That much is undeniable.

To be fair - many people would probably have looked at the condition of the original orange paint, as shown above with its many chips and scratches, and might have sent it out for a new paint job. But the last picture shows what can be done with some good color matching and touch ups. With reproduction decals, and built up with period-correct parts, it will be a beautiful piece of rideable history.

I admit, stuff like this isn't for everyone. When it comes to the subject of original paint vs. repaint, there's a whole spectrum of attitudes, and people can get pretty passionate about it. There are some who say you should never repaint an old bike. There are others who wouldn't hesitate to powder coat a 1950s Cinelli -- head badge and all.

I for one am somewhere in the middle. I figure most older bikes out there are not rare or particularly valuable, and a repaint shouldn't be seen as a tragedy. But some bikes are special. A bike like Kevin's Galmozzi, for instance, is a rare thing. Francesco Galmozzi never had the name recognition of contemporaries like Cino Cinelli, Ugo DeRosa, or Faliero Masi - but for people "in the know," or the "cognoscenti," his bicycles are every bit as desirable, and perhaps even more rare. Bikes like that deserve to be preserved.

Kevin has full sets of progress pictures on flickr HERE and HERE. Check them out, and enjoy!