I came out a while back on Facebook and admitted to belonging to a cult.
My kids suspected it almost twenty years ago when I started wearing lycra cycling shorts, which back then had a chamois pad made from real leather, by the way. When I built my new bike this summer and found a killer deal on the top-of-the-line, Campagnolo Super Record carbon crankset with ceramic ultimate level technology bearings that spin in Cronitecht steel races, I realized there was no need to hide it any more, no covering it up with black tape.
I have joined the Campy Cult.
(By the way, google “campy cult” and you are likely to get “Rocky Horror Show, campy cult classic.)
I admit it’s a bit ridiculous for me to have elite racing equipment on my bike. Kind of like Danny DiVito thinking if he wears the same shoes as Michael Jordan he can beat him in a slam dunk contest.
Bicycling Magazine in the current issue (December 2011) has a great article on the Campagnolo company, one of the last hold outs against the pressures of globalization. While everyone else is chasing cheap labor and outsourcing production to the far east, the family owned company continues to use highly skilled, well-paid craftsman in Vincenza, Italy.
It used to be that nearly every rider in the Tour de France–always the winners– used Campagnolo components. But that changed with Lance Armstrong. Never faithful to the women in his life, he was steadfastly monogamous in his loyalty to his sponsors. Shimano parts worked well enough for him to win seven championships.
When Campy first came out with a ten-speed set of rear sprockets, Lance continued to win with only nine cogs in the rear and waited patiently for Shimano to introduce their own ten-speed cassette. We devotees of the classic Italian components concede that Lance was just that good–he was able to win on inferior equipment (with one gear tied behind his back, you might say).
We just hope the company survives the coming economic Armageddon in Italy. As one cycling legend said in the Bicycling article, “I’d rather walk than ride anything else.”
I’ll be back in a day or two with a report on the other cult I’m in danger of being drawn into . . .