Yesterday, upon arriving in Florence after a 150k ride, I broke my right shifter cable. Luckily it was at the end of the ride and I was stuck in my 12, not a bad gear to be stuck in. I asked Dominick to refer me to a bike shop that could fix this right away. He told me to go to Le Due Ruote which sponsors his race team and to ask for Giuliano.
Le Due Ruote is a mom-and-pop store, located outside of the downtown area and they've been in business for 80 years. As opposed to the bike store that I go to now, which is more of a large scale business enterprise. I got such a warm and cozy feeling when I met Giuliano. He fixed my bike on the spot and I hung out speaking with him and his wife for an hour.
Standing in the shop made me feel like I was taking a trip into the past. There were team photos plastered all over the walls, going back for years. Some of them were so old, they were brown and white. I just think it is so fascinating to see the old classic wool jerseys, the funny looking soft plastic "helmets" that they used to wear, the white socks and black shoes....and oh, those simple steel bikes. No wonder there are so many cycling museums here in Italy. Giuliano proudly showed me photos and trophies that his race team has won over the years. I asked him alot of questions about the origins of the team. A few of their team members went on to be pros. I asked him if there were any women on the team and he said that there are one or two, but that they never really ride. I asked him why Italian women do not ride bikes and he told me the same story that I hear from everyone else. Italian women play tennis and go to the palestra, where they ride spin bikes. They dress very fashionable and they really don't sweat because they don't like to sweat. For the most part, they wouldn't be caught dead on a bike. In a way, I wish there were more women riding bikes, that way I wouldn't feel like a freak. But on the other hand, I got all these guys to myself! Now....If I can only just have ONE. That's all I want. Giuliano invited me to ride with the team on Sunday. I don't know if I will, but it's nice to know that I'm welcome.
Then I rode to the office of Best Tuscan Tours and met with Dominick to review a proposal that I'm preparing for a prospective group tour for next summer. The prospect happens to be someone that I know from San Diego who is developing a summer abroad program that involves cycling. We reviewed the tour itinerary that I developed. He made some different suggestions on the itinerary. He reviewed prices and costs with me. I have alot to learn about this business and I'm happy to have someone who is investing the time to help me learn.