Around twenty years ago, John found himself spending time around Como in Italy for work. Here the Norwegian cyclist struck up a rapport with Brent Copeland. At the time, Copeland, who would later manage the Lampre-Merida and Bike Exchange teams, was running a bike shop in the area. "Brent said if you want a really nice bike, you should look into Passoni," says John. "I thought ok, sure, and filed the information away somewhere in my head". It wasn't until years later, when John stumbled upon an image of a Passoni on the internet, that he started to seriously consider the idea of owning one. "It was his dream bike for years and years," says his partner Donna.
Eventually, to celebrate their joint retirement, the two planned a grand trip from their home in the US across Europe that would see Donna collect an XXTi and John his dream Nero XL. However, on the way to Milan, news arrived that their new bikes had been stolen from the factory. "Passoni couldn't have been nicer about it," says Donna. Passoni set the pair up for their trip, having called in replacement bikes from its retailers. Soon their rapidly rebuilt custom bikes were rushed to the couple in Toulouse, allowing them to continue their loop back up to Norway via Britain. "I can't imagine anyone else would have been so helpful. I feel like we're friends with the whole team," says Donna.
Since then, the pair have added opposite but matching XXTi and Nero XL bikes. More recently, the dirt roads of Chianti have also inspired them to invest in matching Cicloprato. "We'd go with our road bikes," says John. “You can ride for two weeks and not repeat the same route. At the same time, we started to notice all these gravel roads. We'd ride some on our road bikes, but with the Ciclopratos, you don't have to worry. They're so versatile, they've become our go-to travel bikes".
"In fact, we just got back from watching the Strade Bianche race and riding the Gran Fondo, and the bikes were awesome," says Donna.
Back in the USA, the pair acquired a campervan to achieve as many road trips with their bikes as possible. A keen photographer and bluegrass musician, exploring also allows Donna to pursue these interests. Having already visited Arizona, Utah, and Montana, the pair are hoping to explore California wine country later this year.
"We were always travelling and riding bikes when we could, but it's taken off since we retired," says John. "That trip to Europe to collect the Passoni bikes, that's when it really all started".