In sending me off down the road to Parma, Angelo told me to find a bike shop called Del Sante first; they were the best in town.
20 odd kilometres later after battling the heavy traffic on the road to the home of Italian ham and hard cheese, I arrived, filthy, in the city centre. Del Sante was on my mind but in the first street there was a bike shop so I stopped. There was an old chap sitting outside in a plastic chair. I could see immediately he was one of the candidates for the local customer relations course. He said they didn’t do repairs although the evidence of a fully equipped workshop just metres away seemed to undermine his argument somewhat.
Undeterred I continued down the same street and there was another, similar shop. Again, customer relations were not a high priority as I was brushed off by a guy who said he was far too busy. To his credit however he did give me directions to Del Sante’s.
I found the place within minutes, walked in and was told, yes, no problem. Reggie and myself were ushered into the workshop and there was a young guy working on a very old bike. An old guy was sat in a chair watching him work. It was a bit like being at the hairdressers but without the fashion magazines to browse. I tried to make conversation with the old guy but he said he didn’t understand me (although he did, curiously manage to answer my question; the old bike wasn’t his).
After a while the old guy left (was he the big chief Del Sante himself?) and the young guy picked up Reggie. His name was Alessandro and we “chatted” to the best of my abilities while he worked. Not only did Reggie soon have a new spoke but also new brake pads back and front. An excellent job done! 28€ well-spent.
I left and cycled around Parma for a while. I would have loved to actually eat some Parma Ham while I was there but conscious of the time settled for a slice of pizza from a stall instead.
And then it was back en route for the mountains. I am writing sat in a large field full of chairs (see Twitter for the picture). I wonder what is happening tonight? I’ll probably never find out as my destination is Berceto. According to the discredited iPhone App, there is a campsite there. If I weren’t cycling uphill, I would be holding my breath…
Here is Alessandro hard at work; send him a message of thanks, perhaps in Italian if you are one of those Italian speakers out there 🙂