Skip to content

From Zero to Hero: A Resurrection for L’Eroica


If you are a regular reader of this blog, you have learned all about our excursion for L’Eroica through the perspective of poor Andra, the Bicycle Widow. Here is my side of the story….

I first met Dave Moulton a few years ago through a convoluted set of coincidences. The CCDC (my office) was partnering on a lecture series on designing cities for better biking, and decided it might be fun to have a lecture on the design of bicycles. Someone mentioned they knew a retired guy in Summerville, SC (a suburb of Charleston) that used to build bikes; we managed to find him and he eagerly agreed to join the series. When we invited him we had no real idea of his stature and track record as one of the premier builders of custom race bikes in the 1970s and 80s. He gave a great talk full of wit, passion and precision, and he brought with him two exquisite bikes he had built when he was still in business.

widow maker

He certainly made an impression on me, and within two months I managed to locate one of his best bikes–one of less than 216 made–available for sale in Seattle, WA, and soon after The Widow-Maker was mine.

Fast forward to spring of 2013; I had just learned that I had garnered one of the slots in the running of L’Eroica, and I was trying to decide what bike to take to do the ride (I have a couple…ok, more than a couple). In the midst of my protracted consideration of this question, a Dave Moulton-built Fuso bike popped up on eBay, and it was clearly the perfect candidate:

dave moulton fuso #1558 wrecked

Yes, a frame that any sane person would say was ‘junk,’ having been driven into a garage with not quite enough clearance for the bike that was forgotten on the car’s roof rack….this was perfect for my scheme. It was cheap ($22.38 was my winning bid) and it gave me the perfect excuse to have a travel frame that had S&S Couplers installed that allowed the bike to be (intentionally) broken in two so that it could travel on airlines as a simple checked bag, with no horrendous $150-per-leg surcharge.

The Fuso model is not as rarified as Dave’s custom frames, but it is an excellent example of craftsmanship, a true “Keeper of the Flame.” To save this particular example, I engaged Bilenky Cycles in Philadelphia to apply their expertise to repairing and retrofitting this poor Fuso. I had also contacted Dave Moulton about getting a new set of decals for the Fuso. He not only offered a custom set of decals, but he generously offered to install them once I got the frame back. And lo, eight days before our scheduled departure for Italy, the Fuso was returned to me

fuso bike frame

and I promptly delivered it to Dave. Ironically enough, I had to depart for Philadelphia on a business trip. Once back from Philly, I had 48 hours to build up the frame with a full Campagnolo Super Record group, test drive it, and then break it apart and pack it up for the flight to Florence. fuso in case 2All worked well, and the bike arrived relatively unscathed. After we checked into the Villa Sassolini in Moncioni, I unpacked the Fuso and built it back up  and took it for a spin….in the rain and fog of Tuscany.

All was in good order and ready for the big race in Gaiole in Chianti. On October 6th, or just 130 days after having been saved from the scrap-heap, the newly-resurrected Fuso had its first real ride in the 75Km course of L’Eroica 2013. The bike and rider were up to the challenge, and both were overjoyed to be back in the saddle, navigating the steep climbs and harrowing descents, the silky pavement and the treacherous strada bianca. It was a blast!

fuso in chianti.

I am very proud that the poor mangled Fuso that was destined for the dust heap is now a distinguished and well-traveled world conquerer. I hope Dave Moulton is pleased to see his life’s work appreciated and resurrected.


This is the last post of the series on L’Eroica 2013. To follow our experiences in Gaiole in Chianti, find previous posts here: Tales of a Bicycle Widow; Back in the Saddle Again; A Bloody Period in the History of L’Eroica; Bike Porn from L’Eroica; An Insider’s Guide to L’Eroica 2013. You can see more photos and videos on our L’Eroica Flickr page.

21 Comments Post a comment
  1. good to hear the story from the other side mtm, quite an accomplishment, congrats )

    October 13, 2013
  2. You are much wordier than your wonderful wife, darling!
    As for your accomplishment, well, colour me impressed. I’m useless at building things (if I’m ever convicted of murder, my victim will likely be an IKEA employee) and I certainly wouldn’t trust anything I built to actually work. So building a bike like some mechanical Dr Frankenstein, well, that’s just amazing to me. And the joy this pastime brings you is so wonderful — it’s good for a man to have a hobby that doesn’t involve another woman!

    October 13, 2013
  3. The first part of the post I have to admit, I went..’Wow…okay…poor Bicycle Widow…I think I know now what she was talking about”…but then as I started reading about the actual ride itself starting with the rainy and foggy Tuscan morning I had to smile. The pure joy that emanated through those words, that child like enthusiasm which we are looking for in our lives could be felt…that must have been all worth it :D

    October 13, 2013
  4. alice #

    Such a great journey! I’m glad it was such a good experience for you MTM!

    October 13, 2013
  5. Very inspiring! I would love to see the bike up close in person.

    October 13, 2013
  6. I understand your love of bicycles because, being from the Seattle area, there seems to be a 10/1 ratio of cyclists to cars where I live. Many of the Geezers of Fury, my favorite chapter of the cycling groups that are so prolific here, pass part of their morning where I work explaining, in great depth, to me and everyone at their table, why their bike is better. Now they’ve captured my brother, who has rescued a bike from oblivion and is currently restoring it. It’s italian. He says the name with such wonder I assume it’s a ‘find’. I loved reading this post because now I have some names to DROP! And I previously generated conversation with the pic of Fuso in the suitcase! You have fans here. Envious fans.

    October 13, 2013
  7. Love it, what a great way to rescue a classic bike and the videos were just plain fun.

    October 13, 2013
  8. Pure Class – well done!

    October 13, 2013
  9. So glad that you and the Fuso enjoyed your ride through the Tuscan countryside.

    October 13, 2013
  10. Curious – Andra said something about your being worried that the couplers? couplings? would get you into trouble. Was that because you had to use modern ones or what?

    October 13, 2013
  11. You’re lucky ‘the bicycle widow’ hadn’t rewarded you with a grand prize of retiring – L’ Erotica -

    October 13, 2013
  12. congratulations MTM. This is an amazing accomplishment.

    October 13, 2013
  13. I love that bike. The work done to it to make it packable is fantastic.

    October 13, 2013
  14. MTM,
    As the seat and handle bars appeared in my feed, I knew this would be an MTM post in a language I understood. Congratulations on completing the 75 KM without an ER trip. On a side note, I hit three antique stores yesterday. No square cast iron but did find a clover leaf shaped pan for pancakes ($28). The hunt continues.

    October 13, 2013
  15. MTM, congrats!!! It’s nice to know how you got involved in L’Eroica. Thanks for the view from the bike!!

    October 13, 2013
  16. I can see why Andra is a bicycle widow, your passion comes across in this post and videos. Congrats.

    October 13, 2013
  17. I enjoyed cycling along with you in the rain! And the backstory on acquiring the bike, and at such an amazing price, is fantastic. It adds to the entire experience, I think, the love that went into the restoration. I find it hard to make the direct connection, but somehow I do know the Moulton name, and assume it has something to do with either Tours de France or the Olympics. We have friends who are huge cycling enthusiasts, and I’ve seen the love they have for their bikes. I’m really pleased you enjoyed an amazing experience, and L’Eroica widow or not, I think you have a very proud wife. :-)

    October 13, 2013
  18. It was interesting to here the rest of the story from your side of it, MTM. What a storied history this bike has – and the videos make me a bit more appreciative of all the bikers who ride hereabouts. It’s quite hilly here and there is a staging area for mountain bikers and their events about 5 miles up the road. I’ll think of you next time a herd of them passes me by.
    Well done!

    October 14, 2013
  19. tarakianwarrior #

    I can feel the camaraderie. Beautiful…all the way around!

    October 14, 2013
  20. I loved the videos.

    Am I correct in comprehending that the “white road” is gravel and pretty tricky? Biking on gravel is of the devil. I’m delighted to know you completed your journey with nary a scratch.

    Back in the 1970s I had a 10 speed bike which I could NEVER learn to ride properly. When I shifted gears it made the same clanking sound yours did in the first video, but the gears on mine never changed correctly, always handing up and sending me tail over top. So I don’t trust that type of bike. Give me a beach cruiser or a 3 speed with a little lever on the handle bars or a two speed coaster with a back pedal shift to go to the next gear or gear back down.

    October 14, 2013
  21. If anything could make one long for L’Eroica, this would. Entrancing film. I am most envious. Congratulations on quite an achievement.

    October 16, 2013

Talk Amongst Ourselves

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 15,458 other followers

%d bloggers like this: