Tuesday, May 15, 2012

BSNYC Field Trip: Full Bike Day!

Wikipedia defines "Stockholm syndrome" as "an apparently paradoxical psychological phenomenon in which hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them."  I can certainly see how this can happen under circumstances of extreme duress.  For example, on Thursday night I was here:


And then a few hours later I woke up on an airplane to see this:


After which the plane landed and I found myself in a van looking at this:


This was Mesagne, in the Italian region of Puglia, and my captor was a man named Vincenzo of the Associazone Culturale Aeneis 2000, who had "invited" me to speak at their "Full Bike Day" festival.  And no sooner had I wrapped my head around my whereabouts then I was escorted back into the van and taken to Brindisi:


Where I was marched up a drab staircase:


And ushered into the offices of Gazzetta del Mezzogiorno.  Here, they took my photograph, which ultimately appeared in the paper the following day.  Also in that same paper was the happy news that authorities had finally arrested Fancesco "Lalla" Margherito:


I don't read Italian, but I'm guessing he was probably the head of another "associazone culturale," and that they had run afoul of the authorities by organizing some kind of "Full Drugs Day."

Then, after the photograph, I was forced to look at olive tree porn:


Apparently the Puglia region produces much of Italy's olive oil, though most of it is consumed by Mario Cipollini, who uses it to lubricate his hair, face, and body:


Then came a tour of a nature preserve:


I might have enjoyed the tour more if I hadn't been operating on something like nine minutes of sleep, and it didn't help that the already exhaustive tour effectively took twice as long as it normally would since everything had to be translated into English for me.  Still, it was a beautiful place, and here are the long early evening shadows that fell as the tour guide, the interpreter, and I walked towards the seashore:


And here's the van, in which Vincenzo followed us at a distance that hovered somewhere between "polite" and "menacing:"



(Few things are more disconcerting than being followed by a van.)

Here's the Torre Guaceto, for which the nature preserve is named, and from which the townspeople used to watch the coast for invading Turks many centuries ago:


We kept walking and walking towards it, but it never seemed to get any closer, sort of like that scene in "The Holy Grail."  Finally, though, we were upon it:


And then in it:


Scanning the horizon for approaching marauders:


Between my profound exhaustion and the solemn march backwards into time, I began to enter into what you might call a "weird headspace," and by the time we got back into the van and started through the gnarled and twisted olive trees again I sat there in a state of hallucinatory half-sleep as their trunks took the shape of demons and skulls.  It was like I had been sucked into the cover of some old death metal album:


(Mmm, death olives.)

By this point you'd think my captor would take mercy on me and put me to bed, but instead he took me to a really busy bike shop in San Vito dei Normanni for reasons I could not discern.  Here's the apprentice mechanic diagnosing a minor shifting problem on an impressive crabon Fred chariot in the fading evening light:


And here's the shop's third-generation owner working on a Cinelli something-or-other:


When I say the shop was busy, I mean it, and scores of people stood inside and outside where they had been waiting for hours for their turn with the maestro.  Here's a shot of the work area, which should be sufficient to put any tidy mechanics among you into cardiac arrest:


Here's a classic mountain bike which I guessed had been waiting for service since way back when it was cutting-edge technology:


A suspicion which was confirmed when I spotted the owner still waiting nearby:



And here's a gentleman in a sweatsuit doing what appears to be the equivalent of the Crabon Bike Parking Lot Test Ride:


Presumably he'll buy the bike, come back a month later for that first service, wait 20 years, and end up as another skeleton.  And so goeth the cycle of Italian bicycle retail.

On the second day I awoke rejuvenated by sleep and blissfully free from hallucinations, and my captor took me to visit the Longo Bikes factory.  Here's Signore Longo himself:


The frames are made right there in the factory (as the name "factory" would imply) though of course the crabon frames are made elsewhere.  In any case, you have to feel sorry for him, because while he could have had a visit from a media professional like James Huang he instead got some wiseass bike blogger with a smartphone.  I did my best though, and here's a somewhat Huangian disembodied-hand-displaying-a-crabon-wheel shot:



By the way, that's my abductor Vincenzo in the background with the camera.  I realize he looks a bit sinister, but that's only because he is.

Longo Bikes is located in the city of Ostuni, which hosted the World Championships in 1976:


Here's some more amateur smartphone bike porn, complete with bottom bracket crotch shot:


And here's a crabon frame and, of course, my ever-present abductor:


This is pretty much exactly what I saw any time I turned my head, opened a door, or pulled back the shower curtain.

In addition to making race bikes, Longo also supplies folding bikes which are being presented to local university students in a program to promote cycling in the region, and here is Signore Longo and my abductor posing awkwardly with my book:


By the way, here's Longo back in his racing days:


This photo harkens back to a simpler time when bike racers wore yarmulkes, and when middle-aged men could still wear paisley and get away with it.

After we visited the Longo factory my captor then took me to a high school in San Vito dei Normanni, where apparently I was to address the students.  Like most of what happened during the course of the visit, my captor sort of just sprung this on me, and I would have pulled the fire alarm and escaped were there evidence of any fire safety equipment whatsoever besides the tiny lone fire extinguisher:


To my horror, the students circled me and I desperately pleaded for my life lest they devour me:


Amazingly I survived, and was then returned to my gilded prison:


Poor me.

Though with the aid of my interpreter I did manage to slip away to Ostuni for some shopping:


As well as a little sunset porn:


The next morning, the sun rose again, and it shone brightly upon Full Bike Day:


I was genuinely moved to see the families of San Vito dei Normanni all gather for a ride to the nature preserve:


Where we admired student driftwood art:


And where the headmaster from the high school, still resplendent in his purple sweater, regarded me with unbridled nonplussitude:


Then we rode back to the piazza:


Where we were greeted warmly by the townspeople:


And coldly by this guy:


Though it won't do to express any sort of exuberance when you're the Coolest Guy in San Vito dei Normanno:


Of course, it wouldn't be a Full Bike Day without a bike-themed photo exibit:


And this one was my favorite:


Then came the ribbon-cutting ceremony:


After which we assembled in an ancient room:




Followed by a live interview with a semi-professional New York City bike blogger:


I don't want to speak for everybody, but I can safely say the headmaster was nonplussed:


It was a strange journey, but it was also a heartwarming one, and I don't think I've met a warmer and more welcoming group of people anywhere--though that may just be the Stockholm syndrome talking.

80 comments:

Kenny said...

AND THAT'S HOW A BILL BECOMES A LAW!

Anonymous said...

ST

ken e. said...

what!

smovlov said...

Top cheese.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Just missed the damn podium on account of it took FOREVER to scroll through the post in order to get to the comments button!

Anonymous said...

top wha? Bon giorno!

SaddleAmericana said...

this is the closest i've ever been to the top! feels great! which of the 3 shoulder holding cyclists were you, Snob? hopefully far left because in that case, a single twitch of the wrist creates a 2 person/2 bike pileup off in the olive tree grove.

Anonymous said...

TOOOP TEEEEN

Anonymous said...

Podium?

In other news: are Snob's photography skills showing signs of improvement?

McFly said...

pictures!

D. Byrne said...

So how did you like the tax payer funded TSA 'full cavities search'?

I find that tipping $100 gets one the little extras that make existence worthwhile. Comprendae?

Anonymous said...

dropped on the final climb! Who organises these routes anyway?

bikesgonewild said...

...i wish you'd include a few more pictures...there just never seems to be enough...

Signor Sputnik said...

Chris Leito >>>>> Jared Leto

Snob, in another life I've been on a speaking gig or two and yah, it's always a surprise what might happen after the host picks you up.

Anonymous said...

Probably a bit off topic, but I think the red head in the Wendy's chicken sandwich commercial is smokin' hot.

mikeweb said...

No food photos!? I'm hungry...

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

you're camera actually works in Italy!!

Esteemed Commenter DaddoOne said...

"your" because "you're makes no sense

McFly said...

Is Tenuta Moreno Italian for Tending Morons?

Anonymous said...

That multi-frame bottom bracket crotch shot is equivalent to one of those Swedish bikini/Brazilian soccer team pics where they're all bent over, usually with some type of greeting/message written on their butt cheeks.

Anonymous said...

I was hoping they'd give you a sweet crabon frame as a peace offering to Lob.

Cheap bastards.

balls®

Anonymous said...

In that long shadow shot it looks like you are holding a 40 oz. can of Colt .45 Malt Liquor.

ringcycles said...

molto lunga posta, Snobito

leroy said...

My dog wishes to point out that there is not one canine in your photos.

He also wishes to point out that he is available to discuss the role of canines in cycling at next year's Full Bike Day.

I told him he's not a pointer and, anyway, it's not polite to point.

And no one will want to ride with him if he keeps singing "I've got the moves like Jagger" when passing. (Although I admit, it's an improvement over "On your left. Ha,ha, made you look.")

Welcome back!

Anonymous said...

Hey Senior Snob !
Sorry to have missed you in London, I too have pictures of airplane winglets slicing through the clouds (winglet porn!). I was at the Savoy on The Strand and got to enjoy London traffic though I couldn't get any of my cards to work in the Barclays Bikeshare terminals (this girl from Mexico said her card works just fine, oh well...). Glad you weren't chamfered. Maybe I'll see you back on my commutes from Bay Ridge to Midtown on the Manhattan Bridge. Cheers !! vsk

grog said...

You carry a copy of your book everywhere?
Looks like you enjoyed your field trip. Now get back on the bus.

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

Nice, If the bike thing don't work out you should think about a travel blog. That Rick Steves' got nothing you.

Nice digs at the Tenuta Moreno. Whoa! did you talk to the hot bird in the bikini by the hot tub?

BikeSnobNYC said...

Recumbent Conspiracy Theorist,

While the Tenuta Moreno would have you believe that is a typical guest, in reality you are far more likely to be sharing the hot tub with a middle-aged German tourist who is exhausted from a long day of photographing artichokes.

--Wildcat Rock Machine

Anonymous said...

Middle-aged German scheisse porn?

recumbent conspiracy theorist said...

bummer!

Anonymous said...

Looks like a nice trip...you should have stayed longer, though.

Cipo said...

***ATTENTION***

Attention LaDouche' Quints Quebec City


I got the videos today. AWESOME!

Anonymous said...

Good to have you back Snobby. We tried to preserve NYC just as you left it.

BTW - tidy bike mechanic = oxymoron.

cycle

mikeweb said...

I checked, and Tenuta Moreno would charge me up to 5,000 USD for a 1 week stay.

For that price, I think the 'bird' should be in or near the hot tub in that bikini at all times. And I don't even work for the secret service.

Buffalo Bill said...

Is that italian beauty posing in the snow?

DerZoots said...

Mr Snob,

Do you travel in the Brooks jacket?
That would be awesome.

Thanks.

Carlo di Carlo said...

Bentornato a casa!

Burrito Rodriguez en la Maglia Rosa e Vincitore de la tappa!

I know, I know: his nickname is,"Purito" but it sounds too much like Burrito and besides, Purito makes me think of smelly cigars while Burritos make me think of the word Epic.
Today, Rodriguez was Epic, like a goddamn BURRITO!!! Maybe he was smelly too, but I'm in Oakland, not Assisi, so I don't know exactly how he smells. So, Burrito Rodriguez it is!! I'm hungry now so I'm gonna go eat.

Ciao!

Marcel Da Chump said...

I got your back for the Lalla vendetta.

Anonymous said...

http://www.slate.com/articles/life/family/2012/05/training_wheels_don_t_work_balance_bikes_teach_children_how_to_ride_.html

Anonymous said...

The cool guy looks like Elvis!

Anonymous said...

Why is Nicolas Cage holding your book?

yogisurf said...

Great pics of super trip, Snobby. Love to ride bikes in Europe.

yogisurf said...

That's GOLD Kenny, GOLD

bikesgonewild said...

...you need to practice your italian, bsnyc/rtms/wcrm...

...repeat after me..."...atts a one aspicy ameat aball...i'ma no use a' da drugs when i'ma ridda mi bici..."...

...& talking a little louder usually helps people understand what you're saying...

Anonymous said...

More photos or I'ma effin kill you...

Anonymous said...

Bikesgonewild at 3:38 PM:

Very funny! Talk loud; them furriners are all deaf.

la mia madre said...

Mario non smette di lucidare l'olio di oliva sul mio seno.

crosspalms said...

Trouble ahead, oh, lady in red...

Great photos and sounds like a great trip, too. Grazie mille!

JB said...

Based solely upon the folding bikes photo and crabon wheel photo, your captor was certainly one of Paul McCartney's Eye-talian love children.

Anonymous said...

Are you sure you're using "nonplussed" correctly?

Vegas said...

BeardShagNYC

Anonymous said...

I wonder how many of those kids want to be semi-professional bike bloggers when they grow up?

D. Byrne said...

I just purchased a car that runs on human fecal matter. I get nearly 6,000 kilometers per turd.

Unfortunately I had the Nepalese stomach intestine perpetual circle surgery which recycles all the food I've eaten so that never have to excrete.

So what I'm looking for is a fecal donor so that I may run my new car which actually looks like a bicycle but in reality isn't a bicycle.

FCMan said...

Hey BSNYC,
When I was a snot nosed AF brat I lived in San Vito during my formative years! I was there in '76, and knew nothing of the bike race. I was more interested in the circus posters with topless dancing girls! You don't find posters like that in the US!!

Stuart said...

Weren't you a bit worried about going to Italy? What if Cippolini had popped out of the crowd and "settled scores" with you?

Stuart said...

Weren't you a bit worried about going to Italy? What if Cippolini had popped out of the crowd and "settled scores" with you?

Lee Ho Fook said...

I need some advice type of help here people ...

BSnyc blog comments section seems to attract a worldly, urbane, sophisticated, discerning sort of randomly vague borderline psychopathic and terminally smug commentatoratti type of person...

So ...

My question is ...

When experimenting with drugs should I always be wearing a lab coat and safety goggles?

Anonymous said...

Good

bikesgonewild said...

...lee ho fook...i would suggest you are absolutely on the right track...a lab coat & safety googles look sooo professional, no matter how you care to degrade yourself...throw 'dr' on the front of your name, own it & basically you're aces, dude...

...remember...in life, it's not about the truth you bring to the table, it's about having the ability to 'baffle 'em with bullshit' that counts...

...go for it...

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While you were out said...

1)MCA died.

2)An American was in pink.

3)Facebook got all fucked up.

McFly said...

I found PeeWee's bike. The princess from Spaceballs has it and she is doing an Italian River Tour on it. Luckeeeeeeee

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wishiwasmerckx said...

Saw the werewolf, a Chinese menu in his hand
walkin the streets of Soho in the rain
lookin for a place called Lee Ho Fook's
gonna get a big bowl of beef chow mein...

Anonymous said...

Cipo's got a hugh Laurie look going on. Or vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Panties!

Anonymous said...

Panties!

zoomer said...

Better late than always.

Scranus!

oh, and Latern rouge WeedPanties
under my lab coat
and googles

Anonymous said...

Where's the nekkid chicks? I hear them yur-a-peein wimmen like to run around topless.

JB said...

Cipo's got a huge lorrie thing going on - in his trousers.

Anonymous said...

Phew, all of Europe in 5 days. This makes you twice as fast as any Japanese tourist.
Basically, you've seen it all. It's all the same: bunch of weirdos running around with dagger canes in front of an olden days backdrop und muttering incomprehensible syllables.
But, seriously: You should have been taking your time. You sound rather exhausted than pleased.
Next European BRA Tour: Please don't leave out Berlin.

Hope, you'll recover well and get your bearings back.

Middle-aged German tourist

L. H. Fook said...

wishiwasmerckx

@ May 16, 2012 9:59 AM

You win the 'Spend a night at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, Hollywood, California in the 'Rudolf Valentino Suite' with the late Warren Z.

JB said...

Those of you who are telling Snob he should've taken more time in Europe to smell the _____ must not have a spouse and young child at home. Galavanting around overseas, while your spouse is at home on pee, poop, and puke duty does not earn one any points.

Anonymous said...

Poop Doody, double negative son.

mikeweb said...

Jet laggy Wednesday.

wishiwasmerckx said...

Lee Ho Fook,

You mean to tell me that Warren G is dead? Who's gonna regulate?

Oh, wait, never mind...

Robert said...

More pictures would be appreciated, also whats all this podium non-sense in the comments section?

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