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The Blue Gios

From Issue 94

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This is a story about a bike. Not just any bike, but a blue Gios. It’s a story told by cinematographer Otto Nebel to Peloton editorial director Brad Roe. The story begins in La Jolla, California, 37 years ago:
Words/images: Otto Nebel

the blue gios

“The bike and the time period in my life and the person that I first saw riding the bike is what makes that particular bike so special. I first saw the Gios when I was 14. I had just started riding bikes and I decided to join the San Diego Bicycle Club in 1983. They used to categorize us as midgets, then juniors, then seniors. I was hoping to learn how to ride and eventually race; the club director was Ralph Elliott. He suggested I show up to the junior ride because they had a new coach coming in from Colombia named Norberto Cáceres. I had read about him and seen his picture in magazines. He had just retired and moved to our area. He had raced on the Pinarello-Diadora team with Alexi Grewal and others and he was a big deal, winning stage races such as the Clásico RCN and Vuelta a Costa Rica, and stages of the Coors Classic and Piccolo Giro d’Italia.

the blue gios
the blue gios

“He had a ride that started out at 3:00 p.m. on Wednesdays. I remember the first day I was going to meet this guy, I couldn’t even focus all day in school. All I could think about was the ride. So, I show up in corduroy shorts, tennis shoes, my Skid Lid helmet. Everyone else there, all the juniors, were kitted out in their team kits, and I was that guy, the new kid in the wrong clothes. I’m all ready to go and we could hear him walking through a courtyard out to the street to meet us.

“I remember when I first saw him, I couldn’t believe how tiny and thin he was. He had on a Pinarello-Diadora kit in wool, but more importantly, he had this blue bike that somehow seemed bigger than even my first impression of him. I didn’t know what Gios was but the blue paint and the Campagnolo components and his pro kit. It was everything I had imagined a pro racer to be and I instantly knew that is who I wanted to be. I continued to train with him…and over the years I tried to get a Gios, but they were either too expensive or too difficult to get. By the mid- to late 1990s, the brand seemed to almost disappear.

“I rode with Norberto all through my 20s; even after I put aside all hope of racing bikes for a living; he was still coaching me.

“Cycling led me to my film career as well. I began filming athletes, and then onto motorcycles and cars, but I always wanted to film cycling. When Peloton gave me the chance to film the 2019 Tour de France, I dropped every other project and took the chance. It had always been my dream to film the Tour and now I had my chance. I don’t know too many people who have done it and I knew it was an opportunity I didn’t want to pass up. I spent two weeks in France and created film projects for Peloton and partner brands.

“A few months passed and I moved on to other projects when I got a call from Peloton and they told me they found me a blue Gios as a thank-you for all the summer work. This frame and bike is why I fell in love with cycling, so after all these years to finally get one was pretty intense. The bike that arrived is a modern Gios, a Team Issue Aerolite Disc with a full Campagnolo build and Bora wheels. I took it to my friend Rigoberto Meza who owns Stage 2 Cyclery. He loves Italian bikes and he was blown away when I showed him the frame.

“I filmed him opening up the box, holding the frame for the first time and then was able to document the entire build process. From behind the lens I could see the blue paint, the look in Rigo’s eyes—and all the memories and emotions came flooding back to me. That bike and that bike racer from Colombia had such a huge impact on my life.

“Not only did I get to film the Tour de France, but I now somehow have the Gios I have always wanted.”

The inspiring video of the Gios and Campagnolo build is now live at Peloton.tv.

From issue 94, get your copy here.