About the Designer






















Furka Pass, Switzerland, August, 2005





Furka Pass, Switzerland, August, 2013





Stelvio Pass, Italy. July, 23, 2014

The Stelvio  is the second highest (paved) pass in the Alps. It is a 15 mile climb with
48 hairpin turns, and is a scant 10 meters below the Col de l'Iseran, the highest (paved) Alp pass.





Alpe d'Huez, France, July 31, 2015

 
I am a terrible rider. I really am. As bad as I am, I am even worse riding uphill.
I am soooo sloooowwwwww. I must have a congenital hill defect.
I insist those who extol me for riding in the Alps most every summer
understand
they could do it too. It takes no strength or skill.
All it takes, as I re-state below, is: The Will, the Time, and a Low Enough Gear.


But what I have done that is distinguished is master the art of lightweight packing.
I have truly achieved an irreducible minimum. That's really my sole accomplishment
as a cyclist. If I was proud of my packing for long trips using just that old Kirtland

saddle wedge—and I was—look how much smaller was my bag this year.




Look at my bag. It's 11" X 4 ½" at its widest.
Total weight of bag and contents: 3 lbs!


  The bag is a 20+ year old Novara. It's less than half the size of the Kirtland.

It contains my
entire packing: pants, t-shirt, turtle neck, jacket, tights, off-the-bike
socks and shoes*,
toothbrush, razor, lights, and brake and shifter cables,
and soap (because, at least small town European hoteliers
are downright stingy when it comes to providing soap).
 
*The secret to my light and compact packing: Capezio ballroom dance shoes: they're
ultra-light, thin, pliable leather, and quite nice looking. Sufficiently soled for walking in
the airport, to dinner, and with an occasional tourist attraction thrown in. And, no, I don't dance.


No underwear. I can't speak for women's hygiene, but why would
  any man take underwear when weight and volume are your enemies?
(
I've written only two witty truths about cycling. One is:
The only thing dumber than riding uphill with clean underwear
...is riding uphill with dirty underwear. )

________

The Iseran is the highest (paved) pass in the Alps.
I rode it in 1988 (in a solo ride from Paris to Nice),
then again in 1995 (Geneva to Nice, as always, solo). 
I went backwards from my packing in 2015 to ride up it
in 2016 (Turin to Geneva). I remembered all too well 

having to wait out a snow blizzard and terrible cold
atop it
on August 22, 1988, so I reverted to the larger
bag to carry gloves and a heavier jacket this time.
Wouldn't you know it? The day was sunny and balmy.





This jersey is my favorite (until my new ones for 2019 are manufactured).
It has replicas of the signatures of the great Fausto Coppi and the great
Gino Bartali.  The originals are framed and above my desk. They, keen
and not so friendly competitors, signed the same postcard.
How rare is that?
On the front of it: a publicity picture of Coppi.





_________



The word "Alps" seems to instill awe in people. It shouldn't. People are wrong to
express admiration for my solo riding them. I'm not so naïve as to not recognize
what they're leaving unsaid is my doing this as a geriatric well into his dotage—
80 this year. This year's intended solo ride: Turin to Marseille, returning
to the Montgenevre, Izoard, perhaps diverting for the Agnel/Agnello (the
third highest paved Alp pass), and Bonette (fourth highest with a loop road that goes above
the actual pass to become the highest (paved) road in the Alps), and ending the ride with
a first climb up what looks like the joyless, unattractive, dessicated Ventoux—not that the
Bonette isn't that as well. Still, any praise is completely unwarranted and undeserved.
You can do it. Really. As I tell people over and over, all it takes is:
The Will, The Time, and a Low Enough Gear.


Very likely, wherever you are riding (with exceptions such as, I gather, the entire state
of Florida) there are inclines, and maybe hills around you that are every bit as
challenging as the Alps. Shorter, yes, but just as steep.

 For instance, below is in the village of Piermont, a frequent destination for
New York  City cyclists.  Start here, ride up Ash to 9W, cross 9W, and power
up Tweed. You'll have an experience as demanding as any you'll have in
all but the most severe Alps. Yeah, again, a great deal shorter, but even so.....





Keep in mind, much of the classic mountain climbs in the Tour and Giro are
in the area of 7-8-9-10% (many with steeper spikes, and in the case of the
Mortirolo, Angliru, and Zoncolan, for just three examples, they are steeper
over their entire length. If you're looking for steep climbs, as in 17- even 18% in spots
and close to the city, try Speer in Englewood. Or Eisenhower in Cresskill/Alpine, NJ.


___________


Before designing jerseys, I designed and wrote ads for the high-end of the bike industry.




Every single campaign I created—for 
Basso, Bell, Campagnolo,
Continental, Kreitler, et al.—
— was followed by record sales. Every one.
I don't know why you would want to, but some people have asked to see them.
If you would like to, go here:   
http://ro-ads.com




This image isn't a link to it—that's on the above line— but here's the home page.
And, yes, that is a real Olympic medal we shot. (The image pre-dates Photoshop.)