Over lunch at l’eroica, I was expounding to Mrs Jingle Jangle about the bikes every man should one day own. In my opinion, these include a Raleigh Team Professional, a Colnago Master, a Benotto 3000 and a Gios Super Record.
An hour or so later, we were wandering around the market in Gaolie when we came across the Gios stand, manned by the very lovely Marco Gios and his father Alfredo. Proudly displayed beside them was a beautiful Gios Super Record frame and fork. This was one of a limited edition of replica frames made by Alfredo – a faithful replica of the frame ridden by Roger de Vlaeminck (above) when he won Paris-Roubaix in 1977.
In fact, at the beginning of the 1976 film, A Sunday in Hell, there are some shots of a much younger Alfredo Gios preparing de Vlaemink’s bike for the race.
Anyway, it turned out that back in Turin, Marco had a replica frame in my size, one of only two or three left. It may have been the sun, it was probably the Chianti, but Mrs JJ agreed to let me buy one – in fact, at the time she said she would pay for it – we really must have had a drink.
There was however one slight problem – Gios would not ship the frame. As such an important piece of Italian cycling history, the rule was that the frame had to be bought, paid for and collected on Italian soil.
And so, a few months later I found myself on board a cheap flight from Gatwick to Turin. Much to my surprise, Turin was a beautiful city, I will definitely go back again soon. The Gios shop is a way out of town, on the edge of a dual carriageway just off the main ringroad. There was Marco, his mum and his dad, along with a neat little cardboard box waiting for me to collect.
This has been in my shed now since January, teasing me.
My plan is to build it up with more-or-less period correct components of very good quality. When I started on this, I had no idea how ruinously expensive a plan that was, but you live and learn. I’m not going to be all anal about this, just as correct as is reasonably practical.
I could not believe how much people were asking for old Record Headsets and I have spent months getting sniped in E-bay auctions, until eventually, this lovely yellow box arrived:
Now over the years, I have spent a fair amount of money getting bike shops to remove and/or fit headsets for me, so I decided it was time to invest in the proper tools. Headset presses can be fairly expensive, but I found an affordable one at Rose Cycles in Germany (yep, Germany) – their service was very good, so I am now the proud owner of one, which I used VERY carefully, to successfully mount the headset to the frame. This was only slightly tempered by my growing realisation that the steerer tube would have to be cut! For a few moments, I seriously considered taking a hacksaw to the tube. I have been working on my mechanical skills lately – and they have much improved, but in the end wiser council prevailed.
This was, however something of a disaster, as this was the first day of a four day public holiday – a public holiday during which I had promised myself I would break the back of the Gios build. And here I was, stranded. I call three or four local bike shops all to no avail – ‘too busy’ or ‘no mechanic on duty’, sadly, it looked like things had ended almost as soon as they had begun.
And then I remembered that our Eastern European cousins have retained, if not built upon, the work ethic the Western European protestant community appears to have abandoned in droves, and so I found myself in Honour Oak, at the premises of Vaidas Cycles, who are working today, and are happy to do the work (other bike shops of South East London take note).
Superb work from Vaidas Cycles, now officially the greatest bike shop on London FACT.
More importantly, we are now back on with the build.