In conjunction with the manufacturers' 75th Anniversary, Velo Press recently released the book Campagnolo: 75 Years of Cycling Passion. Whether you are a member of the Campy cult, a user of their components or a fan of cycling history, this book is worth a read.
Written by long time Italian cycling journalists Paolo Facchinetti and Guido P. Rubino, the book starts with the birth of the bicycle itself and its growing popularity in Europe, but quickly moves to the fateful Fall 1927 day on the Croce d'Aune when a young racer named Tullio Campagnolo struggled to change the gearing on his racing bike with nearly frozen hands. Out of his frustration came first the quick release axles that we all use today, and eventually, a gear changer that allowed a racer to change gears without dismounting the bike.
Tullio Campagnolo grew up poor, but was fortunate to grow up in a home where he had access to files, pliers, anvils, vise grips and hammers, as well as a small blacksmith forge. It was there that he learned the skills that would serve him in prototyping, building and improving bicycle components.
The first quick release appeared in 1930, and Campagnolo filed the first of his 185 patents for a system he called "gearing for cycling." He attended as many races as he could, showing his quick release and gearing system to racers and mechanics alike and listening, improving and promoting some more.
Along the way, Campagnolo saw his components used by such racing greats as Vito Ortelli, Toni Bevilacqua, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Fiorenzo Magni, Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault, Greg Lemond, Laurent Fignon, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Paolo Bettini and Danilo Di Luca, and the Campagnolo name became synonymous with cycling.
The early beginnings and Campagnolo's passion for cycling and for continuous improvement lead us to where we are 75 year later, with the introduction of the new 11-speed Super Record group.
Some Campagnolo cultists have said that there are some notable omissions in this book, but I still found it very entertaining and educational. The illustrations and photography are top notch as well.
If you love cycling, this book should have a place in your library.
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