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Brands who have strong stories to tell will often attract “superfans”, and we came across a man who might take the cake when it comes to evangelists for Colnago. Resident photographer Veeral Patel tells the story of Colnago superfan Mario Gooch and showcases a sample of his massive collection.
It’s amusing how you can connect with other people who share the same passion as you. In this instance, I came across Mario Gooch via Instagram while I was at Tour de France last year.
Little did I know that he and I frequented to the same bike local bike shop in Melbourne and have the same passion for Italian brand Colnago. The difference being he is a true Italian while I am just a lost cause like Dave Stoller from Breaking Away, pretending to be Italian.
When I met Mario after the Tour, I was in awe with his collection of Colnago and all related paraphernalia. He is a true “superfan” of the brand. I asked Mario to share his story on how he got started with his addiction.
How long have you been collecting Colnago gear?
I started riding seriously in 2008 but have always admired Colnago since I can remember. My first bike I purchased in 2008 was obviously Colnago and I have been collecting since then.
Why do you have such a strong connection with the brand?
I am passionate about all things Italian but I also appreciate the romantic side of Ernesto’s story and the fact that he still works in the business rather than ‘selling out’. His passion is the reason he has so many loyal followers. From a product perspective it is simply first-rate and a dream to ride or use. The single-minded focus of creating what I like to call ‘art in motion’ saw me fall in love with Colnago very quickly.
How much money have you spent on collecting Colnago gear?
Like any good Italian man I never kiss and tell (and if my wife read this and saw the amount, I’d probably be divorced). But let’s just say I lost count in about 2008 and I never looked back!
What’s your most prized Colnago item?
This one is really difficult because I genuinely love anything that dons the famous three-leaf clover (club). But now that you’ve asked I guess I hold a special place in my collection for my 50th Anniversary C50 Colnago and equally my Saronni Tribute Colnago found in a bicycle store in Italy which had closed down.
When I found it, it had never been ridden and the chain had not even been mounted or air put into the tyres and it still had plastic protection on some parts. To this day it has never been ridden and I guess it is a very prized possession. In a way it’s like a piece of art as I never plan to ride it.
Next comes a rare Colnago Director’s Briefcase. When I have business to conduct this little baby always ensures the deal gets done!
Is there anything you don’t have than you want to get your hands on?
Yes! I’m always on the hunt for Colnago gear. Currently I am searching for a Colnago C35 frameset and although not specifically Colnago I am also searching for a Campagnolo 50th Anniversary group set – the other Italian ‘passion brand’ that I have a fancy for.
Which item was the most difficult to acquire?
The Director’s Briefcase was difficult to find. I had become aware that they had been manufactured during the ’90s, but finding one for sale was really hard. It wasn’t my most expensive purchase but it was certainly the hardest to find.
Given that there were only 200 50th Anniversary C50s made I’d hate to think how hard that might be to find again … especially in a size 52. From what I know, the C50 50th Anniversary is the only one of its kind in Australia.
Have you ever met Ernesto Colnago?
Unfortunately I have not. But I am attending the Giro this year and very much plan to visit the Great Man in Milano. If I get to meet him it will certainly take the position of my most ‘prized Colnago possession’… well the photo will at least!
Do you have a connection with any other Colnago superfans? Is there a community of people like yourself?
Through Instagram and other social media platforms I have connected with other fans, but I’m not aware of any Colnago clubs as such. I do think there is a very strong and passionate community out there and I welcome discussion on anything Colnago. Just get me started and I am hard to stop. I’m always talking to the boys I ride with about Colnago (especially those riding other brands).
Well I have recently purchased the last remaining frames of the C59 which I will be building with Campagnolo 80th Anniversary groupset. Just between you and me I have my eye on one of the new C60 frames as well.