Friday 06 September 2013 - by Sabrina Santi
Recently, Tabita and I participated in the very first "Criterium of the Past", a team race on vintage bikes through the historic center of Bassano del Grappa. Criterium was organized by aficionados of the Bassanesi Historical Cycling Group and the Veloce Club Borgo Brocchi, to "promote urban cycling in all its forms and revitalize the city center".
The race kicked off at 19:45, slightly later that the planned 19:30. It was announced by a 1970's megaphone, in full agreement with Criterium regulations, which ban all modern equipment and technology. (Even watches are not allowed!). The only bikes permitted are those produced before or during 1987. The same rule apply for clothing, the ideal being to match your attire as closely as possible with the era of the bicycle being ridden.
Needless to say, the resulting race was a colorful affair, with a "parade" of fabulous historical costurmes; from elegant turn-of-the-century suites (suspenders, knickerbockers, caps), to vintage "Bianchi-Faema" or "Willier Triestina" lambswool T-shirts, to legendary Eddy Mercks cycling hats, complete with flipped visors.
For its itinial run, the event was a great success, with an impressive turnout of both participants and spectators, and with rivers of beer flowing, courtesy fo Ai Buei Brewery. (Had any doping test been administered, riders would have undboubtedly showed high concentrations fo hops and malt!). The animated atmosphere, the zigzagging of bikes, the locking of wheels, the passing of batons between teammates, the toast over handlebards, the friendly banter, the gags, the encouragements, and yes, even the crashes! All this added up to a Criterium to be remembered - and repeated. Stay tuned!