Not Chaotic, But Like Jazz

“We are all building on what Dario left us.”

On August 23rd, 2018 Italian framebuilder, artist, music aficionado, cancer survivor and living legend Dario Pegoretti unexpectedly passed away. At only 62 years old he had made an indelible mark on the cycling industry. After building uncredited high-end custom frames for names such as Induráin, Cipollini and Pantani he started his own company, Pegoretti Cicli.

Both a traditionalist and iconoclast, Dario never wavered from his love of steel while also constantly playing with innovations in technique, frame design and painting. In all of these he was a renowned master. 

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

While Dario’s outsized personality and skill captured the world’s imagination there was a small, tight group of highly skilled people that worked with him to make it all come together. Pietro Pietricola, Cristina Würdig, Gianmaria Citron, and Andrea Meggiorini are all parts of the Pegoretti success story. Not only did they work with and for Dario, they were also all influenced by him. He was a friend, mentor, and collaborator. And then one day he was simply… gone.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

When someone who is larger than life passes, what is left behind? They leave people, the skills they’ve taught, insights they’ve given and art they’ve created. Memories. Love. Loss. Friendship.


While many would point to Dario’s bicycle frames as his enduring legacy, the reality is that it’s the people he left behind that are his true legacy. I was fortunate enough to have spent a day in Pegoretti Cicli. It’s a massive space in which a handful of people create beautiful works of functional art. Dario’s influence is everywhere. From the music that’s playing all day to the art on the walls to the mementos and most importantly the people who work there. I asked Cristina, Pietro, Giancarlo and Andrea about Dario… When they met him, what is was like to work with him, the mark he left and what the future looks like for them and Pegoretti Cicli itself.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

Cristina Würdig: Friend & General Manager

Pegoretti Cristina Würdig

Dario was like the Father I never had. He was balanced, able to give advice and was the first person to call me after I got off a flight.

The day he passed we spoke for an hour. Dario was in a great mood! When they called to tell me he was gone I didn’t think it was real.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

The 23rd was a nightmare. The funeral was 3-4 days after. We went to have lunch that day. Pietro and I were both washing our hands. Pietro looks up and asks if I had a new job. He then asks me to come by and help out for a few weeks. Weeks became months. The lawyers and Dario’s son told Pietro he needed a business partner. Pietro said, “I know who I want. It is Cristina!” And here I am.

The first phone call I had made when I was fired from Brooks after 20 years was to Dario. It was a strange joke of life because he had made me promise to leave the bike business!

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

“There is something marketing cannot teach. Patience.” He told me that, too, when I left Brooks.

We lived a moment in this workshop that nobody will live again. We came here the day after the funeral and we opened the door. People came here, crying. But we knew the work had to go on. The soul of Dario is here.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

For those of us who knew the man he left something with us. What he gave me was that getting to know him made me a better person. Much more balanced, mature, reflective. I am lucky. He left me a better person inside. People come here talking about the framebuilder. I lost a friend, a mentor. He could enrich you. Dario would sit in that chair for two hours, listening to you talk about your problems, not saying a word, looking at you with his deep eyes. Then he’d say one sentence and you were done. 

Gianmaria Citron: Mentee, Fabricator, Framebuilder

Pegoretti Gianmaria Citron

The first time I heard of him was eight years ago. I started getting into bike collecting, was into design and started to get passionate about it. Then one day someone told me about Dario. Then six years ago he did a workshop in Verona. It was a moment in my life when I wanted to change something. I applied to the workshop, was accepted.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

Dario showed us that you just needed a file, a torch, a hammer and something to measure tubes. In the end we were talking. He thought I did a good job, and said I could be a framebuilder. I left and went to make bikes for two years with some friends.

I called Dario every two days for suggestions. After two years we (business partners) split. Just then Dario was moving to Verona and needed two guys. I asked and he said “Yes” so I started to work here. That was four years ago.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

But I like it here (at Pegoretti). I want to be here as long as possible. There is a new challenge every day! I am never bored. When you go home tired and happy I think it’s the right place.

We are thinking about it (changes to Pegoretti Cicli). The path is good, it’s solid. The painting has changed a bit without Dario. About the frames we understand the way we have to think about them. In the future we may want to change the things we do. If you look at what Dario did for the last 40 years you’ll see he tried everything. So to do something new or different is not that easy.

The world doesn’t need to have everything. You can just do one thing and be the best at it. Do we really need disc brake frames? We don’t know yet. Do we have enough experience in them yet? How does the steel react to the forces? We want to be sure.

Even if you know the job, and how it has to be done, ask yourself why it has to be like this, and look for a new way, your way. Dario was one of the first to ask me why do I do it like this? This is the most important thing he taught me.

Pietro Pietricola: Friend, Fabricator, Framebuilder, Painter, Partner. 

Pegoretti Pietro Pietricola

I met Dario in January ‘96, in a bar. The story is incredible! I got off the train in Trentino, went into the station bar and ask the bar man if he knew the local company that worked in metal. I was looking for a job. Dario was drinking coffee, overheard, knew where it was and offered me a ride. But he asked, “What are you doing here?!?!” Dario couldn’t believe I’d want to move there!

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

I worked for the metal company for three years, but it was close to Dario’s workshop. He and I became friends because every day I’d have lunch with him during my break from 1-3. After a bit Dario asked me to weld frames part time at night. I’d weld 2-3 frames a day. Eventually he asked me to come, to work for him for more than I was making at the metal company, but he only ended up paying me $5 (Euro) per frame!! Dario was, how do you say it in America? Yes! He was a cheap ass!! *laughs*

Everyone has their own way to be crazy. This is and always has been a fun place to work. We always have fun here. The team is great, but I miss that part with Dario gone. It is unbalanced now.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

But from Dario I also learned to be rigorous and serious at work.  He was a fun guy but he knew how to grow the company! It’s hard for me to do something different than what I’ve done for the last 20 years. We don’t have Dario any more, something must change. Now, for example, we have a clean office! *laughs*

It is natural that now, without Dario, it is our decision where the company goes. It’s not that we have to do something different just because. But whatever we do will be different without Dario. We are building the future here, now. I don’t know what it holds, but we are building it now.

The thing, for sure, is to show the company is the product that we do, made by a team of passionate people. We don’t have Dario any more, so the product must talk instead.

Andrea Meggiorini: Painter

Pegoretti Andrea Meggiorini

I met Dario here, in Verona, looking for a job. Dario’s son was showing me the workshop. I first talked to Pietro and then Dario. I was racing in the U-23 category then. I was tired of racing and needed something else to do. The day after I stopped racing I started working as a bicycle mechanic in my town. After 1.5 years I there I went to a bike shop in Verona. I worked there for a year. Through my former race director I found that Dario needed a painter. Dario liked to take guys with no experience and teach them.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

Dario had alot of qualities but he couldn’t teach you anything. He was bad at explaining! He would just do it and expect you to know from watching. Pietro taught me. From 0 to 1 was Dario. From 1 to 10 it was Pietro. Pietro was the only one who could do every step of building a frame from start to finish.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti

But Dario showed me alot of times how to create something that is unique, that is created in the moment. A sense, not chaotic, but like jazz. 

I want to use that style that Dario taught me and go forward without copying what he did. We are all building on what Dario left us.

Pegoretti Cicli Italy Dario Pegoretti
About the images

All the story images were shot with black and white film, either medium format or 35mm. The medium format photographs were captured with a Pentax 645 and a 105mm f/4.5 camera lens made by hand using four $1 bills, some lightproof foam, and two achromat lens elements. The close portraits and fine detail photos were taken with a 35mm Yashica Dental Eye III camera. Made specifically for dentists it can only shoot at a distance of 4” – 6’ and has a built-in ring flash on its 100mm fixed f/4 lens. This makes it a superb camera for portraits and fine details such as Pietro’s jaw dropping welds. 

Relive InterBike


Welcome to InterBike 2016! Photo: Stephen Lam/




Everyone seems to be making their own cycling computers these days but one thing that caught my attention about this Stages Dash computer is its claim of 30-hour battery life. Hey, you can now record your entire 24 hr bike race in one charge! Photo: Stephen Lam/


Shouldn't this fall under the e-motorcycle category? Photo: Stephen Lam/


Otso Voytek got a good buzz throughout the show. Carbon frame that can take 27.5+ or 29+ AND up to 26 x 4.6” tires on 70 mm rims? Sign me up. Photo: Stephen Lam/


Lightweight's amazingly light Meilenstein has finally gone disc. The Meilenstein C Disc is a thing of beauty but was a bit disappointed to find out the rim width is still 20mm external and 17.8mm internal. photo: Stephen Lam/


Giro's Factor Techlace sure looked different but it made a lot of sense after checking it out at the booth. Photo: Stephen Lam/


I have to admit I was drawn to the Orbea booth by the dazzle paint job on this prototype Terra gravel bike. Looks even better in person. photo: Stephen Lam/


A 3D-printed Syntace FlatForce stem and a real Syntace FlatForce stem photo: Stephen Lam/


Let's admit it, skinsuit is a pain to put on. But Giordana might have an answer with their Quick On zippered suit system. More aero than a bib/jersey combo but easier and more versatile than a traditional skinsuit. photo: Stephen Lam/


Dario Pergoretti's paint work never ceases to impress and this Responsorium in Ravenna finish is just so fresh. photo: Stephen Lam/


Just can't get enough of this 3T Exploro. photo: Stephen Lam/


Slovenia-based Unior tools might not be a household brand here in the States, but they've been around since 1919 and chances are you will see the tools a lot more in the States this coming year. photo: Stephen Lam/


Australia-based Knog brought their newest Oi bell to Interbike. It's dramatically different than one's image of a bell, but it's an interesting take just like their line of LED blinker lights. photo: Stephen Lam/


Old-school-esque e-bike, anyone? photo: Stephen Lam/


Poor tire, its one and only job is just to be poked. Photo: Stephen Lam/

We had a glitch on the site in the days after InterBike, so this post is way past due but the unplanned slow down also meant more time to relive this year’s InterBike

While the gallery above is going to highlight all the fun stuff… Below are the observations from the show floor.

– First, the appointments. I got smart this year and did a bunch of appointments in advance to check out offerings from various brands. So my InterBike was more structured, with shots of adrenaline from random drive-bys to booths I didn’t know much about.

– The buzz I kept hearing was “it’s pretty quiet this year.” Well, that was true. The show was smaller than last year’s. I honestly could have just spent a day there. One industry veteran commented on how he/she was checking out people’s badges and noticed there weren’t as many buyers at the show as there used to be, and he/she would be pretty pissed if they got a booth… All about the ROI, guys.

– On the outskirts of the show floor was arguably where the fun was… I got a pitch about a solar USB charger stating “looks like you can use one of those” during day one. At the other end of the hall was also a booth that sells handheld electric massage devices. The massage device booth definitely saw an uptake in traffic on Thursday, possibly due to the walking from day one on the floor + CrossVegas hangover collab.

It's true. Someone tried to sell me this solar usb charger during the show. Photo:Stephen Lam/

Really thought the days of scantily-clad booth women were a thing of past. But I was wrong. I mean, okay, sex (allegedly) sells. But wouldn’t money be better spent on making a better product instead of having models promoting shitty products (and offending the female attendees while at it)?

Amount of broken arms/legs: It dawned on me during day two that there were quite a few people in slings/braces. Guess adventure shows must have a few of those around. As one rep put it “they’re getting after it”.

Reception of e-Bike: Last year was all about e-bike bashing and all of a sudden e-bikes are the future this year.

Photo: Stephen Lam/

The international aisle. Probably the quieter, less buzz sections but everyone there was pretty cool to talk to (knowing Mandarin and Cantonese definitely helped) and they really deserve more recognition for their efforts of travelling across the globe to Las Vegas to showcase their products, whether it’s the gazillion lights, matte carbon fiber parts, or aluminum parts in all the imaginable anodized colors one can possibly dream of.

Three spokes, five spokes, no spoke, the international isle have got you covered. photo: Stephen Lam/

Best snack from the show: Vanilla Ice Cream at the Skratch booth made with their new recovery drink mix. Not only was the line 4,000 times shorter than the Starbucks line outside but it was also freaking delicious. Way different than the typical “come by our booth for free booze” hook too.

Last thing I did at the show: tried an e-bike at the rep’s prudent suggestion, only to make it 30 plus feet before a security guard rolled up and warned “no biking on the show floor”. Returned the bike to the booth, walked down the aisle, and was greeted by two bros zipping past on motorized scooters.