I visited this mothership of Italian cycling with the Belgian a while back. With the sole responsibility of making photographs to accompany his crafted words, I was free to look and feel and eat but not listen, When accompanying journalists this can feel as much a missed opportunity as sometimes a blessing of ease to make photographs with the writing part of the brain dis-engaged. Here, I left feeling I wanted to know more. Obviously I’d have had to up my game Italian speaking wise this time to rinse that wanting, but I think what is posted below feels like the tip of a historic iceberg my memory cards have plenty of additional room for.
So, until I return, which I’ve decided ought now happen, here is a brief look around the HQ of one of the names with history in the two wheeled religion of Italy.
The history and family of Basso found it’s pride of place on the walls of their modern HQ. The importance of the past known but not incubated for a heritage clung future. Things move on and generally get lighter, faster and sometimes better painted and this room’s inhabitants talked that future Italian dialect.
Apart from claiming a top tear entry in my table of the cars of the modern cycling company boss which is often it seems an A6 Estate or Panamera, Alessandro is a warm and grounded host and fine maker of coffee, a key skill in percolating creatives round your HQ for an afternoon pressing the buttons and looking for the right angle.
In a break from talking bicycles, something I tend to neither want or need, conversation drifted across the forecourt to four wheels. The grown up’s car that would shortly take us to lunch was a svelte Audi A6 Avant with the correct aesthetic of wheel choice as you’d expect of an Italian cycling industry heir to be honest, but one of those phone photo slide show swiped conversations of the contemporary generation started with ticking the boxes of classics liked or owned and lead to a conversation about were I ever to sell my Land Rover Defender, perhaps I could just swap it for a six cylinder lowered black Avant instead. With the unthinkable now being filed under ‘hmm’ in my imagination of we moved back from BF Goodrich’s to slim tyres and geometry built for speed on flat surfaces. The four ringed dream stayed with me though. The British for German four wheel drive seed now sewed.
After a typically lovely Italian lunch over the road ferried to in my potential future car we headed back to the car park to carry on our mission in a down to earth Mondeo estate rental car with borderline bald front tyres that would become interesting on the next stretch of the road trip being a closed motorway blizzard over the Apennine mountains in the dark after visiting Tuscany. Looking back, that afternoon near Bassano will always figure highly in my memories of working in this industry that’s more like a family with particularly good coffee machines and nice cars and of course plant a seed for a ‘Cars of Cycling’ Top Trumps game to accompany future visits to sit alongside the already planted one of car swap.