Project Bike: Pinarello FP Quattro and Campagnolo Centaur Gravel Bike

Pinarello FP Quattro Carbon Fibre Monocoque Gravel Bike Small 51.5cm equipped with Campagnolo Centaur 10-Speed Groupset.

The Italian bike-house of Pinarello is yet another example of a bicycle company born from the deep heart of a man with a passion for the simple art of bicycles. Born in 1922, Nani (Giovanni) Pinarello won his first esteemed road bicycle race at age 20, and four years later in 1946 turned professional, wearing the black jersey in the 34th edition of the Giro D’Italia in 1953.

What’s this black jersey you may ask? The Maglia Nera has particular symbolism, akin to the lanterne rouge in the Tour de France…

Nani was the last racer ever to be awarded the black jersey during its 6-year presence from 1946-1951, so it could be said its carriage is left upon his shoulders, the last man to finish the 34th Giro race and the last man to ever don the jersey.

The jersey’s story itself gives light to a whole other sense of character and playfulness, and you’ll soon learn why the Pinarello FP Quattro Gravel Bike is so fittingly displayed in the Mornington Peninsula’s Rye-based gin and vodka distillery, Penni Ave Distillery.

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Swim Wild Into the Eternal Gardens: Exploring the Bass Strait Coast

The eternal gardens of the Great Southern Reef coastal shelves, nooks, hidden bays and exposed beaches of Bass Strait are an escape worthy of King Neptune’s proclamation. Sunny Spring days in September in the cool waters of the Mornington Peninsula backbeaches when the swell is low and the wind favourable are like nowhere else on Earth. 

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The Joy of Nothingness: A Murky Coast Swim

Sometimes it’s about the nothingness. The no way. The no doing. Non-being.

There’s an unrealistic expectation that every time you enter the water that a bewildering spectacle of marine life is right there for you to swim through.

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Freediving the Bass Strait Coast on a Darker Winter Day

Sometimes it’s a little darker and disturbing in the water, it’s not always of our choosing.

But isn’t that what life asks of us?

To savour the light and calm, recover, energise, lift our spirits to a new plane.

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Project Bike: Open Mould Carbon Frame and Campagnolo EPS

Mercier-Badged Open Mould Carbon Fibre Road Bicycle Medium 54cm equipped with Campagnolo Athena EPS Electronic 11-Speed Groupset.

There’s something about the French way, even the simplest of simplest things has an air of elegance and traditional expertise about it. The humblest of daily items, the baguette, it signifies a touch of flair, of passion, of the qualities you’d expect from artisans making bespoke incredible things. Not like our stack of pain, *cough*, sorry ‘bread’ in aisle two that resembles a cubist influenced block of white dough from a sturdy and safe stackable hard wearing rectangular tin, presented in a colourful plastic bag with a matching white square collar around its spun neck. That’s just tip top.

Gasping? So am I.

But there it is, your daily bread in France, created by an artificer flamboyantly sifting and lifting just a few ingredients; flour, salt and water. Evoking the same expertise in its production as you have upon the allure of Baccarat Crystal dining wear as you’re encompassed in the joie de vivre imbued upon you as you lift your butter knife in the restaurant bearing the same name, Cristal Room Baccarat, Paris.

How is it that this ultimate craftsmanship for a simple daily doughy icon seems so far out of reach?

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Project Bike: Ridley Excalibur Carbon Road Bicycle

Ridley Excalibur Carbon Fibre Road Bicycle Small 53cm equipped with Shimano 105 11-Speed Groupset.

This Belgian lightweight super-responsive oversized-tubing carbon roadie is borne from the Ardennes, upon the Liege-Bastogne-Liege damn tough undulating roads winding through steep-sided valleys, punctuated by gear-grinding climbs through the Walloon region. I’ve ridden those roads, they’re at times punchy, definitely cobbled, certainly meandering with tight medieval corners perfect for defending against the steely swords of King Arthur’s mysticism.

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Project Bike: Casati Dardo Italian Scandium Carbon Road Bicycle

The Dardo scandium alloy main frame and carbon fibre rear end road bicycle, serial #3281, from the house of Casati, Italian family bicycle fabricators, looks fast standing still in its diablo red and pearl white livery. Produced by brothers Luca and Massimo, it’s far from just a mere bicycle, these are works of art emerging from 100 years of family tradition.

As confirmed by Rudi from Cicli Casati, this frame is one of only 150 Dardo frames ever produced in this way, it is a true exquisite and rare find in the world.

The very first custom road bike I ventured forward gleefully with, and by custom I mean from scrawls on paper and more than just a new set of wheels and individually selected components, was fabricated by another pair of Italian brothers, Gianni and Fabio Bonetti, who have produced bikes not since 1920, but some fifty years younger, beginning their operation in 1970. Located around 50 kilometres from Venice and some 240 kilometres from brothers Luca and Massimo, funnily enough when the Bonetti bike was commissioned via email with the assistance of long-standing Italo-Australian Cycling Club Secretary, Gino, it was in fact a Dedacciai scandium frame and carbon fibre rear, just the same as this Ferrari-fast Casati Dardo. So even though I’m valiantly trying to track down my first Bonetti (please let me know here if you see it), in a way my lucid dreams of that first Italian escapade are being willingly stolen away by the Dardo.

Casati Bicycles are not ones to produce thousand upon thousand of bicycles every year, in fact even if you spent the next three hours googling “Casati Dardo”, it’d be impressive to find more than a couple of these original frames in existence, never mind finding a beautifully finished one in diablo red and pearl white one like this, by none other than famed bicycle painter, Carlo Dossena.

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