I’m a fan of Claude Criquielion and, perhaps more so, a fan of the bikes he rode while at Splendor and Hitachi. Of those bikes, my absolute favorites are the Rossin Ghibli and SLX frames he rode in 1987 for the Hitachi-Marc-Rossin team.
If you’ve read any of this blog, you know I’ve been wanting one of those Rossins for more than 30 years—since 1987.
My friend David Verbeken owns one of Claudy’s 1987 Hitachi bikes. Because it’s an SLX bike rather than a Ghibli, David believes it was one of the bikes Criquielion got just before the Tour de France and used through the end of the season. He makes a good argument and I have no reason to doubt his theory.
Last spring, I met David at his home in Belgium and he let me “ride” the bike around his driveway. It was a minor religious experience for me. I was thrilled with the opportunity to look over the bike and check out the details.
David is emphatic that he will never sell the bike and I figured the chances of another one of Claudy’s Rossin bikes coming on the market were slim to none. Still, I hoped maybe, one day, one of Claude’s teammate’s Rossins might come up for sale.
At the end of 2019, I was able to sell off some of the last of my most valuable BMX stuff. It netted me a nice little cache. I thought I might use some or all of it for a new bike. Something really special.
Earlier in the year I had let it be known on FaceBook that I wanted to buy one of three frames or bikes—a mid-1970s Gios Super Record, a mid-1970s Flandria or a 1980s Splendor. To my complete surprise, I managed to acquire a Flandria, although it’s earlier than I hoped, and a 1986 Splendor team frame used by Etienne De Wilde.
Since the Gios remained elusive, I thought I might start another search for one of those. I have a special Gios Record and 1979 Super Record, but my fave of all the blue bikes are the Super Records used by the Brooklyn Team in the mid-1970s. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get my hands on one.
Before I posted to the world that I was looking for a Gios, a friend in the Netherlands let me know about an auction for one of Criquielion’s 1989 Hitachi Eddy Merckx bikes. It was interesting, but not necessarily what I was looking for. Still, I asked around to a couple friends in Belgium and got more information.
I was told Claude gave the bike to his son, who rode it and swapped some parts to make it fit. I also learned that you had to be at the bar in person to bid. It seemed unlikely I’d have a shot, not to mention, I assumed it would go for far more money than I wanted to spend. But, with one of my Belgian friends willing to attend the auction and bid for me, it was possible. The auction was a few weeks away.
Then, I found another use for the cash. During a visit to the home of Matt Gorski, a local collector friend, to check out a Fiorelli frameset, I spotted a mint De Rosa 35th Anniversary bike he was selling. It was my size, but it was a tad out of my budget. I was pretty sure, however, I could raise the extra cash I’d need. The bike also was missing a few bits—the front derailleur and saddle. But Matt saide he had everything, including the Campy SGR pedals, somewhere.
I left his place pumped about the De Rosa, planning to see if I could both bid on the Claudy bike and buy the De Rosa. Then, my wife reminded me it was time to pay our property taxes. So much for expanding my quiver.
What the…? Part One.
A few nights before the Claudy bike auction, I woke up at 4 a.m. and was unable to get back to sleep. I picked up my phone, as one does even though it’s a terrible thing to do when suffering from insomnia.
I pressed the “on” button and Facebook Messenger immediately let out a loud “ding.” Then another. And another. And another. And…
My phone was blowing up. What the fuck?
David Verbeken was sending me photos, 15 so far with more coming every few seconds. The poorly lit and sometimes blurry images showed various dirty Mavic components. There was a front derailleur, a rear derailleur, some cranks and pedals, a Cinelli bar and Rossin-pantographed stem with Mavic levers. Everything looked well used and unloved.
Then, photos of a yellow and orange frame started popping up. The frame was without stickers or branding, but it was clearly a 1987 Hitachi paint scheme. And when combined with the full set of Mavic parts in the other photos, I started to dream that it was a Hitachi Team bike.
“Wow! What’s the story?” I asked.
“54.5 c-c. Pity the fork is not original,” David replied.
“Perfect size. For sale? Price? Do you know any history? I thought the fork was wrong.”
“Yes, I am finding out. This is rust,” David said, referring to a new photo of rust under chipped paint on the frame.
“Yes, I see. Not as bad as my Splendor.”
“I am just getting the pics. Didn’t see the frame live. Asking for toptube length,” he wrote.
“It’s nice he sends so many pics and with such detail. Usually when I ask for photos I get two or three blurry ones,” I typed.
At this point, now sitting up and fully awake in my bed, questions were popping into my head faster than I could type.
“Do you know the guy?” I asked.
“Yes and no. I know him from seeing, but not personally,” David said.
Then came the information I was hoping for.
“The top tube is 57cm center-to-center,” David said.
This was the same length as Claude Criquielion rode. And if it was truly a 54 or 54.5 frame size, the extralong top tube would indicate it was one of the Belgian legend’s bikes.
I quickly typed a reply, “I’m interested if he’s selling. This has been my dream bike for a really, really long time.”
“I know. That is why I am sending it to you. I already have one,” David replied.
“I know. Just want to be sure my intentions are clear.”
“He is asking 1,600 euros.”
David and I spent the next 20 or so minutes discussing value, the bike’s many issues—no stickers, the wrong fork, it’s apparent poor condition, etc. All the while, David was negotiating with the seller—or so I thought.
“Been negotiating the whole time. But he is looking at prices on the internet. Very stubborn. I argued about the state of the frame, parts, etc. Made him an offer of 1,200 euros. It would surprise me if he accepts it. Have to be gentle, he already became a little bit angry when I pointed out the condition. Luckily, I was able to defuse it.”
As I would learn later, David wasn’t negotiating with the seller, but an acquittance who found the bike and was trying to profit from brokering the sale.
While we messaged back and forth, David searched for and found a replacement fork for the bike in Belgium. It would need to be chrome plated and the steerer tube was too long. He also located a vendor with a sticker pack matching the one on his bike.
Together, we figured it would cost me about 1,500 to 1,600 euros to buy the bike, refinish the fork, replace the stickers and have it all shipped to the U.S. Plus, I’d need to buy a few other replacement parts—new Modolo brake hoods, Modolo brake cables, tires. And the seatpost and saddle were wrong. Claudy used a Campagnolo Super Record post with a Selle San Marco Rolls saddle. This bike had a Chorus post and a saddle I couldn’t identify.
“Okay, I think I am going to buy it. I’m still in bed. Let me get up, have some breakfast and then I will make a decision. Thanks for the negotiations and all the searching for forks and decals,” I wrote.
An hour or so later, David wrote to tell me the seller would accept 1,300 euros. He told me it would take 1,528 euros to cover the bike and all the additional expenses, so I sent the money, depleting my cache, and waited.
“I have an appointment to pick up the bike on Friday,” he replied soon after.
What the…? Part Two.
The next morning, I again woke up at 4 a.m. and reached for my phone to kill time. There were no messages or updates from David. Facebook and Instagram were uninteresting. But I had a weird email. It was from someone I’d never heard of. And the subject head read: hitachi team bike.
What!? Another one?
The email read:
From your blog on old bikes, I gather that you may be interested in this bike that I own: http://www-lmpa.univ-littoral.fr/~stubbe/RetroVelo/2009.02.04_RetroVelo.html
You will recognize a Hitachi team bike from ’87, Rossin SLX (54cm seat tube, 57cm top tube), with full Mavic 87 SSC (except for the seat post, which is Campagnolo).
Unfortunately, the bike has been taken apart and the decalls [sic] have been removed (I once intended to do a complete rebuild, but never got around doing it—silly me!). The paint job looks like it has been touched up and the fork is probably a (period-correct) replacement. I got this bike from an uncle, who himself had it from the team. I don’t know which rider rode this bike.
I am selling this ensemble. Let me know very soon if you are interested.
The link led me to photos of the exact same bike I had agreed to buy earlier that day. But the images were of the bike when it was built up and before the Mavic and Citröen stickers Criquielion typically stuck on his bikes had been removed. The bike looked to be in much better condition than I thought. I was overcome with a mix of excitement and dread.
Who was this Isar guy? Was he trying to sell the bike I had just agreed to buy? Was he trying to pull a fast one ? Was this a scam?
Before I replied, I reached out to David and shared with him Isar’s email.
“I just got this message from the guy selling the bike! Are you sure he’s going to sell it to you/me? Should I reply and tell him I already bought it? The photos are interesting. Sadly, the Citröen and Mavic stickers have been removed. That they were there once indicates to me it’s also a Claudy bike. He always covered his bikes with the stickers of sponsors,” I wrote.
His reply was brief.
“Right?” I replied.
“I am not buying it from him!” David quickly wrote.
“Who are you buying it from?”
“I wonder how much he asks. I’m buying it from Eric Van Sever,”
“I will contact Isar and find out more. Without telling him anything,” I said.
“Eric told me he knew somebody with the bike. I think the guy is that person. But what surprises me is that he was okay with the price and now he is contacting you to sell it. Very strange.”
“Yes. Is Eric taking some profit for himself maybe?” I asked.
“Maybe. I don’t know. I am very curious what his price is. We have a deal and behind my back he tries to sell it to somebody else!”
After breakfast, I sent Isar an email. My plan was to get as much information as possible without letting on that I had already bought the bike. My number-one goal was to make sure I got the bike and did not mess up the deal David and I, and Eric, apparently, had already made.
What follows are the questions I sent and Isar’s answers.
Q: What was your uncle’s relationship to the team? Do you know more about how he came to own it?
A: Teams used to sell race bikes at the end of the season, or when they changed sponsors, to locals, friends, family, amateurs, and so on. My uncle got these bikes from his father-in-law, who bought it at such an end-of-season sell-out.
Q: Do you collect bikes or was this just one you came to own by chance?
A: I ride a (steel) Merckx, have a very old Groene Leeuw disassembled in my garage. And I have a couple of other non-racing bikes. I love all aspects of road race cycling. It’s a family thing. When my uncle was cleaning out his garage about 10 years ago, I was all too willing to take care of his bikes. I just never got ’round restoring them properly. But no, I’m not a collector of bikes.
Q: What happened to all the stickers? Are any of the ones in the photos still on it? Or were they all removed as you prepared it for restoration?
A: All removed, sorry. (Stupid, I know.)
Q: You said the bike was taken apart. Do you have ALL the components and ALL the small parts? Often things like the small parts of the brakes, shift levers, seatpost binder bolt, etc. get lost. I noticed the bike has the original bottle cage bolts with yellow paint and all. Do you have these, for example?
A: The group is absolutely complete, nothing got lost AFAIK. I just cut through the cables and cable guides, which I threw away. (Silly me.) I still have an old TA bottle cage (not in the photos; I’m not sure if it was on this bike or on my Groene Leeuw) & the painted bolts—I was originally not interested in keeping those, so I chucked them in a cardboard box full of small parts, but I found them just now.
Q: Are there any serial numbers on the bike? Maybe on the dropout?
A: There is a number engraved on the top tube (right under the cable guide); I don’t know if it is a serial number.
Q: And, of course, what is your asking price?
A: What are you willing to spend on it? This kind of Mavic kit, about as complete as they get, go for good money. And to be perfectly honest, I have an offer already: somebody is willing to come from Holland to buy this lot for well over 1,000 euros. But I feel a bit uncomfortable with this buyer, and your enthusiasm for precisely this bike tells me that you might be a better new owner.
Let me add that the Mavic parts are splendid, but that frame is worn and has rusty spots (but it is straight AFAIK), and that the fork does not look like a Rossin fork but is probably a period-correct replacement. When the bike was still assembled, it rolled far better than any of my other bikes—smoother hubs do not exist. (Even those Mavic pedals have extremely smooth bearings, it is brilliant material.)
Best wishes, hope to hear from you soon.”
Isar’s reply gave me comfort. He seemed legit and his intentions good. The news of a buyer in Holland was strange. And his lack of comfort with said buyer was curious. I assumed he was talking about Eric. But I thought Eric lived in Belgium. Had Eric lied to him? Even more interesting was the selling price of “more than 1,000 euros.” I had agreed to pay 1,300. Was I paying too much?
I shared the new info with David and banged out a reply to Isar outlining the former team bikes I own and what I paid for them. I also included some photos of the bikes as proof that I actually own them. I wanted to use those prices, all of which were less than the 1,300 I had already paid for the Rossin, as reference and to back up my “fair” offer of 1,100 euros.
Isar replied promptly the next day. He complimented my collection and told me about his bikes. He also replied to my offer.
“Thank you too for your offer on the Rossin. I appreciate your situation, and I’m glad to read that you can appreciate mine. I’ll have to consider things, will lose some sleep over it and will contact you as soon as I have a confirmation. As it stands, the other bid wins it over yours, I’m sorry to say,” Isar wrote.
I replied, saying I understood and asked what the other offer was. “1,200 euros,” he said.
Apparently, this Eric guy was taking a cut of the sale price. Normally I’d have no problem with him getting a finder’s fee, but to do so without being upfront about it was not cool. Also, I recalled he had tried to get 1,600 euros initially.
Precious Is Mine
The next few nights I was slept fitfully. I still feared the bike might slip through my hands. And I was still unclear how the sale went down. David had shared with me more info from his perspective. But I wanted to know more. I planned to pen a confession and tell Isar the truth after the sale was complete. Friday could not come fast enough.
On Friday, Dec. 20, I received the following message: “First, the good news. HH2.”
It was, indeed, good news. David was referring to the serial number on the Rossin. We had discussed if there was a serial number and I had asked Isar, but until David had the frame in hand, we didn’t know. David’s Criquelion Rossin is stamped HH1. Mine is HH2. They are twins. One (David’s) is likely Claudy’s main bike, the other his spare.
“You have it in your hands? Deal is done?” I asked.
“Yes, here is a pic of the receipt. I paid 1,200 and 100 to Eric.”
“I’m scared what the bad news is.”
“Color looks good. Not as faded as I thought. I went to Eric’ s house. From there we went Isar’s house. Nice guy. He told his family history—what he told you in his emails. He even told me an American was interested. We drank a coffee and I told that it is most likely Claude’s spare bike. The frame has two very minor dents. If you don’t know, you won’t see them,” David reported.
“I would suggest you give it a good polish. There is a number engraved on the top tube. That’s the number Isar talked about in his email. With the brake cable you won’t see it. The rear hub has no Mavic 87, but it is a team wheel,” he added.
The bad news wasn’t so bad. David also sent a variety of photos of my frame next to his bike for comparison. They were very similar, but not identical.
“What are the chances to find his spare bike? It’s incredible,” David wrote.
“It really is incredible. And that you would find it and the two bikes would be reunited. Thank you so much for helping me get this bike. I’m super excited. A dream come true,” I wrote back.
Not long after David and I traded messages, I heard from Isar.
“A follow-up to our messages, that you may find interesting: turns out the other bike collector is David Verbeken (whom you met while in Belgium, I believe). He bought the Hitachi-Mavic team bike—and was happy as a kid in a candy store when picking it up ;-). He immediately recognized the frame as Criquielion’s second bike (he spotted a “2” stamped in the rear dropout), so it perfectly matches his other Criquielion, which has a “1”. David comes across as a likable guy. We chatted a bit over a cup of coffee. And I am happy that this “Criq2” has found a good new home,” Isar wrote.
And who knows, perhaps I’ll see some pics of this bike, restored and all, on your blog sometime in the future!” he added.
I replied and fessed up.
Thanks for the message.
David has been sending me photos and comments about the bike (the good and the bad) all morning. You are right, he is as happy as a kid in a candy store. So, I am I, as I will explain below.
I have a confession to make…
The story of this purchase is quite complicated, convoluted, odd and funny, I think. It’s a bit like a spy story. I will keep it short (ish), but I wanted you to know the back story. I hope it will not upset you and you, too, will find it amusing. Like you said in your email, “I suppose that it’s a small world of vintage bike collectors, so it is perhaps not unusual that one helps out the other.” This couldn’t be truer.
I am not 100 percent sure of what happened between David and Eric, but I can tell you what happened between David and me and what David told me.
On Dec. 15, 24 hours before you contacted me, David began sending me photos of a Hitachi frame and Mavic parts. He sent 20 or more photos, but no explanation. I asked, “What is this? Is it for sale?”
I outlined David and my conversations and told him how I eventually agreed to buy it for 1,300 euros. I shared my reaction to his first email to me and mentioned Eric.
This morning, when David began sending me photos and giving me his impressions of the bike, I felt a great relief. He said he enjoyed meeting you and that you were a good guy. He said you shared coffee. And he told me you tried to sell it to Jan Goeman, who I met with David in April. I am shocked he did not buy it, to be honest. I am also quite happy he didn’t.
David also said Eric was a little upset that he did not get the bike himself once David “confirmed” it was a Claudy bike. By the way, Eric does not know about me either.
I want to apologize for the subterfuge. I wanted to come clean to you when I replied to your first email, but I wanted to better understand your motives and do whatever I could to be sure the deal I had agreed to through David did not fall apart.
I also want to thank you for the bike. It is, without exaggeration, my holy grail of bikes. I will cherish it until my death, I am sure.
After David gets the fork and stickers for the bike, he will send it. I should have it in late-January. I can’t wait. I’ve already secured a saddle and handlebars (same type used by Claudy) and own the correct seatpost, so it should be built and ready to ride within a day or two of me receiving it. Painting the fork may have to wait.
Again, my apologies. I hope you aren’t offended or angry and find humor in the story. I think it’s a great story and I’ll definitely be writing about it on my blog once I get the bike rebuilt and back into shape.
Isar replied soon after.
First off, no, I am not upset—but, I confess, I am (more than) a tad surprised. The bottom line is that I got enough money for my bike, and that you did not pay too much to make a dream come true.
The 100-euro difference between what you paid and what I received, is not too shocking in itself, but I would have preferred coming clean about it straight away. I do hope that David will get his share: like I wrote, he seems like a likable guy, is clearly a connoisseur of eighties bikes, and—very important—did not try to bullshit me. On the other hand, if this were a film script (and it might well be!), Eric would be the fishy character—for he did try to screw me. Let me tell you my side of this sale…
One day, some two months ago, I was out for a ride, as always on my steel Merckx Arcobaleno. At the traffic light near home, an older cyclist shows up next to me and says “Ha, that’s a nice bike, good ol’ steel frame.” That was Eric. I replied, jokingly, “This Merckx is indeed a nice bike, but I’ve got a real collector’s item in my garage.”
He insisted to accompany me home, and I showed him the Rossin. He had the proverbial dollar signs in his eyes from the moment he laid eyes on the Rossin.
Soon after, Eric makes me his first offer, with much pathos—300 euros. Of course I laughed at that and more or less told him not to contact me for such ridiculous proposals, adding that, in fact, I was not planning to sell this bike anyway. But he kept calling me, kept coming over to my house, which is on his way to work, kept bothering and annoying me. So, at some point, I told Eric that the bike is for sale for 1,500 euros. I honestly thought that I would not hear from Eric again.
Except that he came ‘round once more, this time “to take pictures” because those on my website “weren’t sharp enough.” This was starting to smell fishy. What would he need pictures for, if he had the bike under his own eyes? But I am not a suspicious mind and I didn’t mull over this. One or two weeks later he calls me on a Saturday morning, says that he “has some important news” but “wants to break it to me in person.”
He comes to my house again and solemnly announces, “well, I’ve got bad news, I’ve consulted a specialist who owns Criquielion’s bike from the 87 Hitachi team, and he says yours is in a terrible state, the paint job is terrible, the fork is all wrong, it’s might not even be a team bike,” adding that “nevertheless, I offer you 750 euro.”
Needless to say that I was quite offended and I sent him walking.
But now I had in my mind to sell this Rossin, convinced as I was that, for one thing, I would never get around to fixing it up as it deserves to be, and for another, I could spend the money on my other vintage bike, a Groene Leeuw which is closer to my size (I’m 1m 82). That afternoon I started looking around on the internet, found your blog, etc. That same evening though, Eric calls me again and says, “It’s ok for 1,200. It’s for a guy I know from Holland. We can come and pick it up next Friday.”
At this point I was fed up with his bullshit, told him that I was having second thoughts, and that I would contact him to confirm. That’s when I contacted you. The rest of the story you know better than me.
There you have it, my version.
Please do me the favor of sending some pictures of the bike once it’s in your hands; it would be great to see how you put it back together again. I sincerely think that it is as complete as it gets (and David confirmed this), so I’m sure you’ll have tons of fun with this great kit!
And if I ever pass by in California, I count on you buying me a cold beer. Favor will be returned. 😉
Best wishes, enjoy the holidays,
Bike Collecting in the Time of COVID-19
As I write this, it’s more than four months since David told me about the Rossin, and the bike is still in Belgium. It took David a little longer than we anticipated to get the replacement fork cut and threaded. I have access to the tools and could have done it myself, but I had seen video of frame builder Jan Weymans threading a fork with a lathe. It looked far more professional than I (or any of my local bike shops) could do. David graciously offered to take it to Jan before he took it in for chrome plating.
The day after David let me know that he was going to pick up the fork from the chrome plater, Belgium went on lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Included in the lockdown was the temporary suspension by the Belgian postal service of shipments of packages overseas.
My bike is boxed and ready to go, but still in David’s possession. When the bike does get here, I’ll be ready to build it and ride it. I’ll probably have the fork painted to match before I build it though. It all depends on if my painter, Evan Whitener of The Bicycle Stand in Long Beach, who works with Joe Bell, is taking work at the time.
I have acquired all the parts I need—new Modolo brake lever hoods, grey Modolo brake housing and cables, a late-1980s Cinelli Criterium handlebar, a 1987-dated Selle San Marco Rolls saddle, Bike Ribbon bar tape, a full selection of Mavic and Rossin stickers and a vintage Hitachi-Marc-Rossin Team jersey. I also made the other stickers Claude had on the bike originally (based on Isar’s old photos and David’s bike), including the Citröen and Claude Criquielion stickers.
And the rest of my costume is ready. I picked up a pair of blue and red Patrick Bernard Hinault shoes similar to those used by Claude in 1987, although they are too big, and an NOS pair of Castelli socks, which won’t last long once I wear them—the elastic is on its last leg. I also made a pair of Hitachi-Rossin bibs. And, of course, I have a pair of Gammi Sport Hitachi Team gloves.
I’m still missing a correct team cap. And, as mentioned above, I still need a better fitting pair of Patrick shoes. I’d love to find a Cinelli or other brand hairnet in some combination of black and orange or black, orange and yellow as seen in the back pocket of the rider in the photo at the top of this page. But there’s about as much chance of me finding one of those in my size (57) as there is of me finding a Criquielion Hitachi bike. I think I’ve used up my Hitachi luck.
The Criquielion Hitachi Merckx bike sold on Dec. 21. A good friend and collector here in Orange County asked his friend in Belgium to bid on it. His max bid was quickly surpassed and the bike sold for 1,900 euros, according to his friend. I was told it sold for 1,600 euros. I can’t confirm either.
Sadly, I passed on the De Rosa 35th Anniversary bike. Recently, however, I put Matt together with another local collector and a deal was done the same day. (They actually know each other, but Matt didn’t know the buyer was in the market and vise versa.)
In the meantime, I acquired another longtime dream bike (aren’t they all), a 1990 Buckler Colnago Master Piu. It’s not a real team bike, but a replica frame and good enough for me. I’ve wanted a Colnago with a straight fork and I’ve wanted to build a bike with Superbe Pro since around 1990 when I lived in Japan. Building a Buckler bike seemed like the perfect solution.
The Colnago also sits unbuilt. I’ve been waiting for Ambrosio Nemesis rims to arrive from Belgium—lockdown delayed—and 3T handlebars and stem and a Suntour chain and 38T chainring to arrive from a local distributor. A silly COVID-related communication SNAFU has held up the parts delivery for four weeks. It’s been frustrating, to say the least. I can have it on the road in about 30 minutes. I just need bars, stem and chain.
As of today, May 6, I should have all the parts by week’s end. I ordered an NOS set of rims from Italy (I’ll get the ones in Belgium for a future build.) out of sheer impatience, plus the new rims will pair better with the new Superbe Pro hubs I have. The rims arrived in three days from Italy—thanks Ciclicorsa for the amazing service. And I think I worked out things with the local distributor for the bars, stem, etc. If all goes as I hope, I’ll build the wheels and glue the tires tonight and should be riding the Buckler accurately built this weekend. Finger’s crossed.
And of course, I’m ready to ride the Buckler in style. I have the jersey, two Isostar water bottles and a Buckler cap (Thanks, Jos.) and Time shoes (new and my originals from 1989). I’ve even ordered some prototype Gammi Sport Buckler gloves (should be here next week). And, for the first time, I ordered some sublimated side panels from my glove vendor that I plan to have sewn into prototype bibs. If all goes well, I will to start offering Gammi Sport bibs and matching gloves later this year.
Update Number One
As of today, July 7, I still don’t have the Criquielion bike. David shipped in June 5 via bpost, the Belgian national postal service. A few days later, the tracking number showed it was in Germany and in the hands of DHL. Both these facts seemed odd. Despite several calls, David was unable to get an explanation for either, only that it was in Germany and headed to the U.S.
There is sat for more than one month.
David continued to make numerous queries by phone and email to bpost. Unfortunately, they were unable to tell him anything new. All he and I could do was sit tight and remain positive. We knew COVID-19 was still being blamed for shipping delays all over the world.
Today, we finally saw movement when the bike entered the USPS (US Postal Service) tracking system. It’s still in Germany, but it appears it was processed out of international control. With any luck, it will hop a plane for the U.S. soon and I’ll finally have the bike, hopefully by month’s end.
Update Number Two
As of today, July 20, the bike hasn’t moved. It’s still in Germany. I’m getting tired of this.
I did get the Buckler bike built several months ago. I ride it often. It’s really quite a fantastic bike. And, I finally found a mid-1970s Gios Super Record in my size. It has yet to be shipped from Italy, but it should be here within the next few weeks. I hope.
I’ve been riding the Buckler Colnago quite a bit while I wait for the Rossin to arrive. It’s a really great bike.
Update Number Three
Today, July 29, I got word the bike had finally left Germany and had arrived in the US. As far as I know, right now it’s in New Jersey, a mere 3,200ish miles away. Based on my past experiences with bikes and other bike parts shipped from Europe, I’m guessing the Rossin is roughly five to seven days away. Of course, it could take a lot longer. I’ve seen things sit in New York for nearly a week before moving west.
At any rate, My Precious is not lost, yet, and it’s on its way to me.
Update Number Four
Today, August 12, the bike finally arrived. The box was badly beaten, but the bike survived and it appears nothing fell through the holes. More to come. Stay tuned.
Update Number Five