I barely remember the ‘80s, partially because they were about three decades ago and partially because my version of the ‘80s wasn’t that memorable. However, one thing stands out in sharp relief against the blur of the decade: my Schwinn 10-speed. A simple road bike, but one that took me places, for the next 25 years to be exact. I would wager that many people might forget friends and favorite toys from their childhood and young adulthood, but almost everyone remembers the bikes they have owned, down to the baseball cards in the spokes or the white plastic basket with the three flowers decorating it.
I loved that bicycle, though it was worlds away from the exotic bikes, championship models, and custom creations that serious cyclists obsess over. Imagine, then, if you could go back in time and procure a piece of classic ‘80s cycling culture, an item owned by a world-class champion. Today’s remarkable listing affords you such an opportunity (sans the time travel, I’m sorry to say, unless you’ve worked out a way to pedal faster than the passage of time itself). Check out this Ultra rare Moreno Argentin’s personal De Rosa Bike Complete Campagnolo C Record:
To the untrained eye, the bicycle might look like a standard personal bike. It certainly does not have the retro cool design features of the Bowden Spacelander Bicycle we wrote about in the eBay story A Space Age bike of the future, from the 1960s. But the seller of this celebrity cycle gives us plenty of backstory on why this item is special.
“PERSONAL DE ROSA BICYCLE FROM AND USED BY MORENO ARGENTIN. MEMBER OF THE LEGENDARY ARIOSTEA TEAM. ARGENTIN WON STAGES IN THE TOUR DE FRANCE, THE GIRO D’ ITALIA AND DE TOUR DE SUISSE. HE BACAME ITALIAN NATIONAL CHAMPION IN 1983 AND 1989, AND WORLD CHAMPION IN 1986.”
That’s a pretty impressive trophy cabinet Argentin must have. In fact, the website Cycling Hall of Fame.com, calls the cyclist a “proven performer.” Over at Cycle Sport Magazine, reporter Edward Pickering cites a recent interview with the one-time champ (on the occasion of his 50th birthday) in which Argentin criticizes certain contemporary cyclists with being too calculated to the point of being robotic. “You know how they race, you know where you need to wait for them. They have no imagination, no risk.”
The brouhaha over doping amongst upper-echelon players prompted him to observe, “The cyclists have to stop to rewrite the rules that are crushing them. From the ranking system to the anti-doping rules, with the whereabouts (programme) that makes them look like convicts on parole.”
Some intriguing comments from a clearly self-styled competitor, all of which help prove our seller’s point that this bicycle up for auction is “a piece of history.” And what a history it was, not just for Argentin but also for the Ariostea team, of which he was an integral part. Over at the gorgeous Colnago bicycle website, the late ‘80s to the early ‘90s are called “The Ariostea Years,” and are described as remarkable because “Over the next three years the team would win 93 races, including landmark victories by great Italian rider Moreno Argentin in the Fleche Wallone and Liege-Bastogne-Liege.”
In case you would deign to ride this piece of history rather than keep it in a glass cabinet, the seller reassures us:
“THE BIKE IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION, ALL ORIGINAL (ONLY THE SILVA HANDLEBAR TAPE IS NEW). SOME SMALL PAINT DAMAGES, NO DENTS OR CRACKS.
HIGH QUALITY COLUMBUS SLX TUBES.
VERY NICE COLOUR.
EVERYTHING WORKS GREAT.”
In his book Lance Armstrong, young adult author Matt Doeden recounts an intriguing anecdote about a time Argentin found himself competing against Armstrong in Italy’s Tour of the Mediterranean. Apparently, the young Armstrong started strong and found himself neck-and-neck with Argentin, who had already hit legend status. When Argentin sighted his competition, he mistook Armstrong for a different rider. Armstrong got angry at this perceived slight and yelled at Argentin. He yelled long enough or loudly enough that he expended that extra energy needed to beat Argentin.
Credit Argentin for staying cool in the face of heated competition or maybe, just maybe, credit all that day-to-day riding on an inspirational personal bike. Only the winner of this auction can know if it is the bicycle that made the difference.