City Desk

What Will Happen to Adrian Fenty’s $12,000 Gift Bike?


Mayor Adrian M. Fenty has his passions, and sometimes your passions pay off.

Avid competitive cyclist Fenty is reportedly on the brink of pulling off a veritable coup by luring the Giro d'Italia, one of the three premier European grand tours, to D.C. for its initial stages in 2012.

For his efforts, Hizzoner was feted at an Italian Embassy event on Feb. 25, where he was bestowed with a new Colnago racing bicycle, given to him by famed Italian cyclemaker Ernesto Colnago himself. It came complete with his name inscribed on the top tube.

When LL saw that Fenty has been gifted an awful nice bike, he consulted Washington City Paper's resident bike expert, Operations Director Jeff Boswell. Turns out "awful nice" doesn't being to describe it—Boswell fairly swooned when informed that Fenty got himself a Colnago.

"One of the most storied brands in modern bicycle racing," Boswell tells LL. "The highest quality, made by hand in Italy."

As for Colnago the man: "He's a king," says Boswell.

LL placed a call to Colnago's American headquarters, in Chicago. There he reached Billy Kanzler, who was quite familiar with the machine gifted to Hizzoner. It was an Colnago EPS—the company's "flagship" hand-made racing frame, tricked out with top-of-the-line Campagnolo components.

"That thing was giddy-up," says Kanzler.

"Giddy-up" has its price. The frame alone retails for $5,500, Kanzler says. And with accouterments, Fenty could expect to pay at least $12,000 for the bike.

"It was a gesture of good will," he adds, "and we have a couple of dealers in Washington, D.C., so having Italian cycling come there would definitely help our brand."

But will Fenty get to keep his sweet ride? Public officials can't accept any gifts worth more than $10 from folks looking to do business with the city.

LL first asked about the fate of the bike last Wednesday. A week later, and after many phone calls and e-mails, the mayor's office still had no answer for LL as of last night.

LL also inquired with Kathy Williams, general counsel for the Office of Campaign Finance, who in turn inquired with the Office of the Secretary, which handles matters of protocol and official gifts for the mayor. Williams says she was told the bike would be accepted as part of a "gifts to government" program, but no mayoral official would tell LL that directly.

"A decision is still being worked out," says spokesperson Jack Pfeiffer.

Photo courtesy of Colnago

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