After what seems like ages, beloved Patrizia has finally returned to me. This is my personal Bella Ciao bicycle that has undergone many customisations and served as the "Superba" prototype guineapig. Having spent months in various states of disassembly, she then endured a long stay at the rack-maker's workshop - all without a word of complaint. And now she is back, her slender curves enticing me with promises of a romantic Indian summer.
I am also reunited with the wonderful Ideale saddle I'd acquired in a trade some time ago. I had installed it on a vintage mixte I owned at the time, but after that bicycle was sold the saddle lived in my closet for over a year, waiting for the right moment to re-emerge. It looks and feels quite at home here.
Finding a vintage Ideale in good condition is not all that common. After years of use, these saddles tend to suffer from the type of distortion where a painful center ridge forms that is resistant even to the "blocking" (wet reshaping) remedy. It is an amazing stroke of luck that mine does not suffer from this defect. Truthfully, I am somewhat torn between wanting to use it because it is comfortable and wanting to preserve it because it is rare.
Finally, I am reunited with the wooden grips I began to experiment with a few months back. I've decided to keep them on this bike, and they have been surprisingly comfortable. I thought that I might get blisters on my hands, but it hasn't happened. I am also happy to report that they haven't cracked or distorted despite plenty of humidity and temperature changes over the summer. I am not going to finish them with any kind of sealant, because I'd like to see what happens to them in the winter. Vintage collectors who are experienced with wooden grips have told me that if the grips are made "in the right way" they should not need any sealant and will be fine as they are. We'll see. While I'd be reluctant to recommend these for mainstream use, personally I love them.