The Maiale Volante

I haven't spoken to my dear friend, the famous Portuguese race car driver, film editor, and performance artist, Joaquin Blanco, in nearly a year. The last I heard, he was going to meet with someone shady about a confirmed sighting of the Topanga Canyon flying pig. At the time, he entrusted me with his one-of-a-kind Maiale Volante fixed gear, pictures of which I'm submitting here.

Joaquin is the grandson of the renowned Portuguese-by-way-of-Italy Blanco family, known in their adopted home country for their eccentric bicycles. Joaquin's fixed gear pays homage to his family tradition with a conversion of one of their hand-built MV road bikes. Mind you, this is what he tells me, and Joaquin has never really played with a full deck if you know what I mean.

When he left the bike with me, he pointed with pride to the Campy crank, the titanium Ibis stem, and the hand-painted MV signature curl pattern on the top tube. The rest, he assured me, came from bits and pieces of his grandfather's bikes. I'm not so sure. I mentioned that I didn't think the fairly recent Shimano brakes and headset, as well as the MKS pedals, were available in rural Portugal in the early 60s. He got a bit cross with me and explained that they were local knockoffs that predated the real thing. I don't know what that means. But the one thing that I still find perplexing is the frame. He said it was an original Maiale Volante steel frame. I asked him why it had "Trek" stamped on the rear stays. It seemed to me to be a 1983-or-so Trek 560. He answered with another question, "Have you ever seen a Trek 560 with a chromed rear triangle and steering tube lugs? Of course you haven't. Trek is my ancestral home." He left before I could pursue this. I suspect the frame passed through several hands on the way to his shop. Possibly someone attempted some chrome work, though they hopefully haven't made a career of it.

Anyway, the MV's 44/16 setup makes for an enjoyable ride, and the twin brakes while a little out of the ordinary for a fixie, makes stopping a little easier for a grey-haired guy like me. Joaquin insisted that dual brakes are a Portuguese tradition. I don't think he realizes how stupid he sometimes sounds.

Thanks for listening, enjoy the pics. You can read more about Joaquin Blanco at Just search "Joaquin Blanco" on the site. The Garbage Cane sculpture installation is pretty weird.