(inside the Colnago factory)
(the line outside the exhibition hall)
(Castelli's new women's jersey)
While Zinn seems to think this was merely the work of some opportunistic thieves, I’m convinced that someone or something far more insidious is behind it. I’m currently investigating a number of suspects, among them:
Think about it—who had the most to gain from what was on that laptop? Bicycling’s readers demand a steady stream of the sort of distended carbon gimmickry that was on display at the Milan bike show. And sending someone over there to take pictures of it is expensive. You’ve got to pay for things like the flight, the accommodations, and the lavish Bacchanals for which cycling reporters like Zinn are famous. It’s a lot cheaper, however, to Paypal some guy a few Euros to pinch Zinn’s computer and email you the photos. And trust me, I’ve dealt with Bicycling, so I know what I’m talking about. I don’t want to get into details here, but if some guy on a Madone wearing a Primal jersey corners you in an alley and says, “Hey kid, wanna make a fast 20 bucks?,” just say no.
A Cadre of US-Based Bicycle Companies
In an age when carbon rules, Italian bike companies have become largely irrelevant. Once upon a time Italian frames were steel masterpieces painstakingly hand-crafted by skilled artisans. Now, however, they’re just hunks of plastic like everything else—except their bottom bracket shells are threaded the wrong way. Nonetheless, companies like Cannondale, Specialized, and the Great Trek Bicycle-Making Company will not rest until every last Pinarello, DeRosa, Colnago, and Basso is out of business. Or at least making coffee machines like they should be.
A Renegade Spy
Anybody who’s been to either Europe or the movies knows that the continent is full of two types of people: college-age American backpackers and renegade spies. In fact, you’re unlikely to actually encounter a European in Europe. You’re much more likely to meet either someone you sat next to in a lecture or a skilled assassin who is handsome, speaks six languages, has a knowledge of fine wine, and can rig a high-powered explosive from a cell phone, a pack of Galoises, and a Danish. It’s entirely possible that one of these spies either needed Zinn’s computer as part of some ruse, or simply mistook him for an adversary.
I feel bad suggesting it, but as Inspector Clouseau said, “I suspect everyone and I suspect no one.” I’m not saying Zinn’s a bad guy or anything. I’m just saying deadlines can loom large, and time can really fly when you’re out partying with Donatella Versace, Mario Cipollini, and Silvio Berlusconi.
The raging battle between ubercurmudgeon, keeper of the rec.bicycles.tech FAQ, and serial retrogrouch Jobst Brandt and Lennard Zinn continues unabated. Nothing less than the future of cycling hangs in the balance. I’m sure that as Alessandro Guerciotti’s Maserati powered through the Italian Alps he and Zinn wondered how the strange man on the yellow bicycle with 10 centimeters of headset spacers was managing to keep up. I’m sure Zinn also got the strange feeling when he returned to his room in the early morning after partying with Donatella Versace, Mario Cipollini, and Silvio Berlusconi that something was amiss. Nothing he could put a finger on exactly—just a vague sense that things weren’t quite as he left them coupled with the lingering scent of bratwurst. If Brandt does indeed have possession of Zinn’s laptop, Zinn isn’t the only one in trouble. If you’ve got integrated shift levers, more than six cogs, and less than 36 spokes, your days could be numbered.
DISCLAIMER: The post above is meant in fun. I was sincerely dismayed to read about the theft. All the best to Zinn and Guerciotti.