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Aerobars for Safety


In 1993, famed Italian component manufacturer Cinelli introduced their peculiar mini-aerobar known as Spinaci to the professional peloton. In that same year from the northern end of the European continent, Sweden introduced an inexplicable fusion of reggae and Swedish pop known as Ace of Base. Coincidence? Probably not. But while both phenomena enjoyed a four-year peak of popularity, perhaps one of them deserves reconsideration. And since Ace of Base, who like an Alzheimer patient losing socks at the launderette, can't seem to hold onto a pair of female vocalists in a nation of ABBA-inspired blondes, let's narrow our focus to Cinelli's Spinaci.

Here's a brief primer on the significance of Cinelli. Cino Cinelli achieved some success as a professional racer, winning the 1938 Giro di Lombardia and the 1943 Milano-San Remo. Soon after retiring as an athlete, the Florentine moved north to Milan, the center of Italy's manufacturing industry. There he built a business around distributing high-end bicycle products such as Columbus tubing, but his name was carried to fame overseas and to lands afar by the handlebars and stems of his own manufacture. His Cinelli brand of frames were generally exported to the huge American market so that he wouldn't directly compete against his many clients in the Italian domestic scene, but A/1 stem and #64 bar were a virtual necessity on the front every race bike in the western hemisphere. Cino himself, though not formally trained as an engineer (in fact, his family's poverty effectively ended his education at age 14), was a true innovator. With his connections in the industry, he directly or indirectly wrought many advances; many of his peers, including Tullio Campagnolo, regularly so...