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Gallery: Ernesto Colnago's golden 87th birthday bike

Joe Robinson
11 Feb 2019

To celebrate the Italian maestro's 87th birthday, a gold-plated Colnago worth €50,000

'Happy birthday dear Ernesto, happy birthday to you' rang out the tune in Greenwich's Old Royal Naval College as a guestlist only rivalled by this weekend's BAFTAs got together to celebrate the 87th birthday of cycling's great craftsman, Ernesto Colnago. 

Every birthday, Colnago's employees have an office whip-round to get their boss a gift. While last year only managed enough to get the Octogenarian a new set of lenses for his reading glasses and socks that tell you the day of the week, this year his Italian peers left no expense spared.

Unveiled last Thursday was the Colnago 87 Arabesque, a one-off 24-carat plated bike fitted with a Campagnolo Super Record Heritage groupset - because anything else would just be wrong.

The steel-tubed, gold-plated bike is connected by bespoke-designed lugs.

Although the 87 technically is a one-off, it also kind of isn't as it is very similar to the bike Ernesto himself crafted from hand exactly 40 years ago.

That bike was for then-leader of the Roman Catholic church, Pope John Paul II, ender of Communism in Poland, improver of relations with Judaism and Islam and avid cyclist in his youth.

A middle-aged Ernesto handed the bike personally to the Pope at St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City in 1979.

On that occasion, Colnago only used 18-carat gold, so I guess you could say the 87 is more valuable.

Either way, it could be yours as Ernesto has generously decided to put the bike up for sale. It'll cost you €50,000 (approx £43,000).

All you need to do is contact Windwave, UK distributors of Colnago.

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