Midweek C & V: 1958 Olmo...

Alright, this one looks like it was stored in a drum of oil; in other words it needs some cleaning. But you know what? In this case, other than the oily residue, grease and dirt, it is virtually rust free. Giuseppe 'Gepin' Olmo was an Italian racer in the 1930s and early 1940s who had some success in races in his home country including 20 stage wins in the Giro d'Italia (10 alone during the 1936 Giro, can you imagine that), 4th, 3rd and 2nd overall in the Giro, 2 victories at Milan-San Remo, 1 victory each at Milano-Torino and the Giro dell' Emilia, the Italian Road Race Championship in 1936, and Olympic gold in the Team Road Race in 1932.

Giuseppe Olmo

In 1938 Giuseppe set up a bicycle manufacturing facility in his home town, Celle Ligure, where the company continues to manufacture bikes to this day. By producing a wide range of bicycles the Olmo company became widely known as the Schwinn of Italy, though their higher end bikes have long been noted for their ride quality.

This bike has some fantastic details - from the lugs, Campagnolo shifting, slender (elegant) crank arms, three spoke spider (and check the chain rings, not much difference between the big and small), Olmo seat post binder and headset, Ambrosio stem and bars, and the Italian brake calipers, the make of which I am not at all familiar, and of course, that Olmo head badge with the prominent Olympic rings. This is not your typical bike, it is an amazing period piece that deserves someone who will care and look after it. As usual, saw it at the Velo.

A bit marginally related but, check out the name Joseph Magnani, an American who raced in Europe prior to World War II (after the war, beginning in 1946 he raced for the Olmo team, where he witnessed first-hand one of the Giro battles between Coppi and Bartoli). Fascinating story.

Joseph Magnani