Scattante Stories – Joseph

There’s no way to read Joseph’s Scattante Story entry without having the utmost respect for the obstacles he has overcome to ride his bike.  But ride he does, for himself and for others who cannot.  You can read more about Joseph’s adventures by bike at www.happyheart.org, and find out how to sponsor his latest adventure.

Imagine winning the silver skates then wearing them on crystal ice as you skate effortlessly across the frozen canal. Look closer, see the smile, see the glint of wonder in the eyes, feel the joy of new freedom. That’s about as close as I can express what happened when I climbed on my new Scattante outside Fort Collins Performance Bicycle and pedaled across the parking lot heading west up Drake Avenue.

For 21 years I have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Three years ago, I could not even get on a bike. My personal trainer and I worked for months trying to improve walking and trying to jog. Progress was slow because the MS caused numbness in my left leg. This was complicated by being 100 pounds overweight along with balance and coordination issues because of the MS. We tried various machines to stimulate cardio exercise. The treadmills and gliders made me dizzy. Bicycling was a dangerous thought because of balance, numbness and coordination complications.

When I was 12 years old, we lived in Aurora and I was a newspaper boy for the Denver Post. For 2 years, every day I delivered the paper. Every other day, I would pedal across town to the newspaper shack where Mr. Colton would count out the papers for each route. Each boy would take his stack over to the wooden bench, fold and rubber band each newspaper. Once wrapped, the newspapers were loaded into canvas bags clamped to the extra wide handlebars. On a busy news day the bags would come close to dragging on the ground. My first newspaper bike was a hand me down from a previous carrier. I saved for a year to get a new Schwinn Wasp. Today, 50 years later, I remember that first ride.

In 2008, determined to at least try, remembering effortlessly riding as a youth, I found a $3 dollar bicycle at Habitat for Humanity. The tires still held air. My wife, Debra and I went to the neighborhood city park. Debra held her breath while I went 10 feet and fell. I kept trying. A few weeks later, I rode around the block, Debra and Joanna, my daughter, cheering as I circled into the driveway. Something special happened that day. I found the confidence to ride again. Later that summer, I found a old big red 15 speed 27in Citroen at a yard sale for $7. Recycle Cycles helped me clean it up, replacing the tires and brakes. By the end of the summer, I biked 15 miles on Big Red.

During the winter I decided to enter the Colorado MS 150 bike ride. While I had no aspirations to actually ride 150 miles, just the idea of riding in the event drove me to train. After visiting many local bike shops, I chose a Giant FCR because of its upright riding position. I rode this bike to the finish of the Colorado MS 150 in June 29, 2009. By early 2010, my riding techniques, endurance and body positioning prompted me to look for a new class of bike.

I knew I wanted a carbon frame, mostly because of ride vibration absorption. I knew I would be making many changes in equipment to fit the mechanics to my physical particularities. When I saw the Scattante CFR, I knew I found my new bike. It was almost as exciting as that new Schwinn Wasp. I felt comfortable in the Performance Bicycle store and with the staff.

We made a few changes, seat, pedals, adjustments, to the factory configuration. I knew I had my silver skates.  I began to train for the Texas BP MS 150.  I was little nervous about taking the bike apart to put in a case for the flight from Denver to Houston.

With the help and inspiration of Team Geokinetics and my Scattante I rode my first century and finished the 150. Once back in Colorado, I had to start training for the Colorado MS 150.

The Colorado MS150 has lots of rolling hills, and 3 good climbs. This ride is one of the main reasons I choose the Scattante. I am not a strong rider, my cadence is slow. The store bike came with a compact chain ring and a 12-25 cassette. The first change was to replace the cassette with an 11-28. With this change I could ride a 6% grade. Some parts of the hills were 8% or better. The next change was to put on a Shimano Ultegra Triple Crankset. This change meant new shifters, derailleurs and cables. The mechanics at the Performance shop made the changes.

As another new ride begins, the skates have a new edge. I can climb the hills on my Scattante. Oh, wow, it sure rides smooth downhill!

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Scattante Stories – Lee

We enjoyed reading Lee’s Scattante Story entry because of his commitment to riding and just for his ability to turn a good phrase.  Here’s a picture of Lee back in racing shape, tearing up his local crit, but read on below to learn about Club RAW and the cold winter rides that got him motivated to race once again:

Like many who have come to own a Scattante, my story began online as I tried to find a frame for less than it costs to stuff myself with Sushi and booze.

I was once a cyclist and a bicycle mechanic. But as I looked through craigslist, I was just someone years apart from any athletic accomplishment, looking for a way to get downtown without paying for parking or fighting the bus schedules.

A friend of mine from the college rowing team was the first I knew to own a Scattante. He liked the bike a lot. He was 6-foot-7 and it fit him and held up to all the thrashing – from the sprints between the boathouse to the engineering campus, to the bar scene of Madison, Wis.

His Scattante was black – all black, because he’d gotten some stripper from the boathouse to take off the decals and make it solid and maybe somewhat mysterious.

When I found my Scattante, a cyclocross frame, I kept the decals. “Scattante” was a mystery to me. People here in Wisconsin generally didn’t recognize the word as Italian. I didn’t recognize it as Italian; it’s not one of the words I came across while watching “Breaking Away” or reading “A Farewell to Arms.” And it had some of the same rhythm and feel to it as names around here: Pewaukee, Wauwatosa, Muskego.

My rides on it started in September a few years ago; I’d cover the three miles from my house to the Capitol Square twice each day. That seems like trivial distance to me now, but I recall feeling stronger as the days went on. I got fenders and put on a hat and gloves. My job required me to dress formally, so I typically rode this bike in worsted wool and leather soles.

In November, I had an idea with a friend who was also riding each day to the Square. We called it Club RAW – or Ride All Winter. I learned that studded tires help with ice and hard-pack, but things still got squirrely in the grey, tire-rutted stuff that I called churn. The Scattante cut through the nighttime snow that was fresh, bright and sharp and also bounded over the refrozen treads. I saw how a night I’d assumed to be cold and dark and dismal can be the opposite when passing through it on a bicycle.

After the lakes opened up and the bike was clean of all its briny grit and grime, I started to do longer tours. I raced the bike path hotshots when someone would throw down a sprint. I started to think about the last crit I raced, almost 10 years ago, where I was behind the leader on the final lap and struck my pedal to slide out in the second corner.

So I gave it a go. The Scattante that I rode under those glowing winter nights was the ticket that got me where I am now: riding strong again, racing, reaching for something.

And bicycle racing is the most exhilarating sport I’ve ever known. The feelings from it pour into my mind, unpredictably, in full clarity. All of a sudden, I’ll be back in a corner that turns into the blazing sun, up a climb when the burn doesn’t mean I’ll be dropped, under the spray of a water bottle, feeling the sting of salt.

Bicycling and racing is a permanent experience: I have all the corners, descents, breakaways and crashes here with me, and they got there because of a good deal on a Scattante.

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