|At the North American Handmade Bicycle Show, Della Santa always|
had a low-key presence - letting the workmanship of his frames
speak for itself. The frame he's holding here was a
winner at the 2009 NAHBS. (photo from ClassicRendezvous)
One rarely hears the name of Della Santa without the name Greg LeMond - often within the same breath. Della Santa first encountered the young phenom when 15-year-old Greg and his dad, Bob LeMond, came into the local bike shop where Della Santa was working. Bob was looking to get himself and his son new racing bikes that they could race together during the "off season" from skiing. Greg quickly proved himself a champion, and the following year Della Santa quit working at the local shop to focus full-time on frame building, and sponsored the future star.
Over the years, Della Santa would make many of the bikes LeMond rode and raced on, regardless of what name was on the frame. In 1986, he added more building staff and started making the first line of LeMond-branded frames (later iterations of LeMond bikes were made by Trek. Let's just say that ended badly).
|That's Roland in the middle of this shot. The long-haired guy on the left is none other than Gary Fisher. (photo from Della Santa's website)|
|Della Santa sponsored a team in the late '70s. That young blonde kid to his immediate left would go on to great things. (from Della Santa's website)|
|LeMond winning the Junior National Road Race Championship - and immortalizing Della Santa's name along with his own.|
|Roland Della Santa outside his Reno workshop, from a 1987 Bicycle Guide magazine profile.|
I'm sorry to say I never met Roland Della Santa, though I've admired his work for much of my bicycle-obsessed life. The bicycling world will miss him greatly.