The diminutive and affable artisan is a bundle of energy, and he needs to be. Because you’d need plenty of it to even dream of building up a successful framebuilding company in today’s over-marketed and over-outsourced bike world, let alone your second one.
The Ciöcc brand was sold many years ago and has lost much of the name’s cachet with serious cyclists. Unsurprisingly there’s little love around Curno for the current owner, whom Pelizzoli refers to as “a rich man, rich but ignorant.”
But over the last few years, Pelizzoli has returned to the fore and now ships his handmade creations to eager customers around the world. During my visit, everyone busies themselves around the large front room, but there’s a smaller back room, too, seemingly reserved for the man himself. It’s full of clamps, vices, gas tanks for the blow torch, boxes with NOS Campagnolo dropouts from cycling’s past and a myriad of different types of lugs and tubes. For most of Pelizzoli’s international customers—the ones dreaming of a customized frame handbuilt by a passionate man with a lifetime of experience—this is where the magic happens.
When I ask him how he keeps up, he offers some simple advice. “I never drank or smoked,” he says, “even when I was in the Alpini [the Italian army’s elite mountain soldiers] when they all drank grappa. I only drank Coca-Cola!
“After that, my secret is that I make love to my wife every day, I eat every day, and I go to the bathroom. They’re my commandments.
“Four years ago I was diagnosed with cancer. I wasn’t afraid of dying, because I have lived in my way and I want to die in my own way. That’s enough. The doctors told me that it was important I had never drank or smoked—and that I wasn’t afraid. Now I live my life day-by-day. All life should be enjoyed on a daily basis.”
It goes without saying that he cycles regularly. And it’s pretty clear that his work invigorates him too. There’s hardly enough time to take in the detail, never mind steal a photo, of all the different things he wants to show me. It’s a stream of “look at this … and this, and this is special” as I dart around the shop, struggling to keep up with a man more than twice my age.“I have a project in mind,” he reveals coyly, “that if I realize before I die, you’ll see it turn over the world of cycling.