Thursday, June 15, 2017


 Our daughter is visiting Florence, Italy, this week. This prompted me to remember a trip Marla and I took years ago. After working at the Heimtextil fabric trade fair in Frankfurt, Germany, we traveled to Florence for a short break. You may think the reason was to see the masterpieces of the Italian Renaissance, Giotto's bell tower, the Uffizi Gallery, or to see Michelangelo's "David" sculpture. Well, that was Marla's reason, ...mine was somewhat different. I wanted to visit, or shall I say, make a pilgrimage, to the artisan craftsman who made my racing bike, Mario Conti.
This was (Note "was.") my gorgeous Conti racing bike. The frame was all hand welded and in a delicious red over chrome. I'm shown during a triathlon transition way back in the day. I think my mustache must have slowed me down! So much for bikes, let's get back to beautiful Florence.

We loved Florence and enjoyed seeing all the galleries. As it was January, we had very small lines and the crowds were small.

Marla is channeling her dramatic side as if in a Frederico Fellini film.

We experienced all the charms of the city.

Marla and I were thinking there are fifteen delicious treats we must buy in this shop! We settled on three.

And now back to racing bikes! Finding "Conti, Tutto Per Il Ciclismo" was a special moment for me. 

It was so much fun wandering around the shop! I saw hundreds of things I would like to take home but settled for only some wheels. Mario didn't speak a word of English so he called his daughter to come over who lived nearby. When I told him I have one of his bikes he gave me a bottle of wine!

It was time to take the train back to Frankfurt. We both loved the art & architecture, and of course, I loved visiting Mario Conti!

 This is the sad part of my story. I used to carry my bike on a roof rack. One afternoon, after a particularly hard day of riding, I forgot,...yes, forgot, my beautiful Conti was on top. I crushed the frame as I drove the car into the garage! I actually cried! My "brain dead" episodes continued as later I actually did the same thing again with a new Guerciotti bike. Steve Beard, our always creative sales rep for Wesco Fabrics in Jackson, Mississippi, made this to put on my rear-view mirror. Needless to say, these costly misadventures prompted me to NEVER put anything on top of the car ever again!

The moral is to always use your brain,...even if you are tired! Mishaps happen so get over them and learn from the mistakes. Also, travel and drink Italian wines, it really does help!

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