Bianchi Sempre Pro

A small sidestep from a normal blog-post on photography, but as I often take a camera (the iPhone as a bear minimum) with me on rides and there will most likely feature a few more photos of my road bike on the site, I thought I’d introduce the new addition to my arsenal of bikes (there are 4 or them now).

I’ve been cycling road bikes since I guess I was more or less 15 or 16 years of age. Far too late to even consider a professional career, but as those years have now been discovered to be the most dirty EPO-based years in cycling, I don’t think I mind too much :)

My very first road bike: a Peugeot, cannot remember the type.
My very first road bike: a Peugeot, cannot remember the type.

My first road bike was a French one: a Peugeot. After several sports like Judo, Badminton and one horrible year of football, once we moved Assen I discovered the joy of cycling. With my milky white legs on the blue/white Peugeot I learned the basics of cycling (a hint to starters: do NOT go full out in the first kilometers when you start, you’ll run out of breath before you even make it to the end of the city/village).

My Koga... and me without helmet, can't imagine going without it anymore
My Koga… and me without helmet, can’t imagine going without it anymore

After several years I upgraded to a Koga Miyata and had a Dutch frame by Jansen in between (my dad’s old frame when he quit cycling on roadbikes). A few years ago, just as a three week cycling vacation had started, my trusty Koga died. Worn out brakes, worn out shifting system, the handlebar stem worn out… I loved my bike, but she was finished.

A Cannondale in the sunset. Drenthe is beautiful, but flat :)
A Cannondale in the sunset. Drenthe is beautiful, but flat :)

And so I hurriedly got myself a new bike not to let the weeks go to waste. I found a Cannondale CAAD8 bike in a local store, it was my size and looked quite OK. However I’ve had a lot of bad luck with the bike over the years. I don’t hate her, but we’ve never fully gotten along. Also almost every time I bring up ‘the mountains’ in conversation when my bike is in for maintenance, every mechanic mentions that the Shimano Tiagra group is not well suited for descents. It will get me down, but not necessarily via the road.

You can't see her here, but I DID take the Cannondale into the mountains near Lucca / Italy in 2013
You can’t see her here, but I DID take the Cannondale into the mountains near Lucca / Italy in 2013

And ever since somewhere in my twenties I’ve had the desire to at some point own an Italian bike. No offence to the American bikes, but the names and history of names like Bianchi, Pinarello, Bottecchia, Wilier or Colnago (and a host of other Italian bicycle brands) sound so much better then their American counterparts. To me ‘Specialized’ sounds clinical, like a boring doctor, whereas Pinarello sounds more like famed doctor House: brilliant, quirky, fun but a hand full. Much like with their cars, Italians truly have a way of pouring passion and Italian flair (a bit crazy and unpredictable) into their bicycles.

All in all we have had good times, me and my Cannondale
All in all we have had good times, me and my Cannondale

And so one or two years ago I started thinking about upgrading to Italian road bike and this year I decided that the time was now. I sold my Leica gear (I really did) so I wouldn’t have to dig into the savings too deeply and after much debate and a lot more browsing, making pro/con lists, making the basic demands for my new bike (Italian of course, brightly coloured as the currently fashionable ‘black frames’ are not for me and with an upgraded group set). I eventually decided to get the Bianchi Sempre Pro. And of course when getting a Bianchi I wanted her in the traditional Celeste colour. I found the bike in the end via Internet at Math Salden.

Not yet fully assembled (bar tape is missing), but on the day of arrive I had to take her for a spin
Not yet fully assembled (bar tape is missing), but on the day of arrival I had to take her for a spin

The Sempre Pro is modeled after the Bianchi Oltre, but aimed to be a bit more affordable and comfortable. I’m no Froome or Mollema, but neither am I in need of an endurance type bike (really comfortable, ‘bird watching’ road bike). The geometry is much different form that of Cannondale’s CAAD8, but after the first rides I’m feeling confident we will get along really well.