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Franco Cacciatori, the climber in Graziella and flip flops

We interviewed a friend, cyclist and passionate who made of his Graziella a real passion! Class 1956, Franco Cacciatori is a veronese doc with the passion and enthusiasm of a 20 year-old who never leave his Graziella.


  • Franco, why did you choose the bike as a mean of transport for your trips?

For many years I have been a satellite anti-theft installer and various other car accessories. I never considered the bicycle as a mean of transport home - work, but I had to recapture after the robbery of my scooter. I started using the bike to go to work, mainly to avoid traffic but then also for my physical well-being. And let's say that way, I started to "train" without realizing it. My lunch break was from 13:00 to 14:30, so I was always riding fast, and especially in the summer with the heat and the little climbs it was quite tiring, so that when I was passing some cyclists with the racing bike I put myself behind and I didn’t leave anymore.


  • How was the relationship with Graziella born?

In a box near my house I found an old Gold Graziella in desperate conditions, and since one of my passions is the restoration (I like to collect "everything, transform and invent), I took it home and remounted for the only pleasure of having it, without knowing what to expect me then.


  • Why Graziella? How was this love story born?

In 2010, like every year, I went to Dobbiaco on vacation with my wife. On the way back, having another two weeks of holiday I got the idea of taking the racing bike, an idea that I abandoned shortly afterwards for various unforeseen events. From here, with the desire to ride in the mountains, was born the idea of the Quattro Passi in Graziella (for which I convinced my wife to come with me)!

So a few days before the official departure we went with the motorbike to make a test to see the climbs. The only change to my Graziella: a crown behind with only 2 more teeth, so I went from a 46-18 to a 46-20.


  • Which has been the first adventure?

 Thursday 26 August 2010 my first adventure started: Canazei , Passo Sella, Val Gardena, Passo Gardena, Col Fosco, Corvara, Passo Campolongo, Arabba, Passo Pordoi, and back to Canazei (I completely worn out the brakes).


  • Which adventures to remember?

Many Granfondo with the flip flops to challenge myself. Gran Lessinia Randonneè, Pantanissima, Cronoscalata Chesini, Monte Grappa, Sella Ronda, 3 Cime Di Lavaredo, Passo Falzarego, Valparola, Giau, Fedaia, Cimabanche, 3 Croci, Misurina, Braies, Stelvio, the Valstagna- Foza 20° stage of the 2017 Giro d’Italia. Frome june to today, 33 rides with the new Graziella Passione. The most important: Punta Veleno (Dobbiaco), Misurina, 3 Cime Di Lavaredo, Sellaronda e Cortina Falzarego.


  • What were the most difficult moments, the obstacles?

In my personal life, the most difficult time was the loss of work after 40 years at Easter 2014. And I have to say that if I did not have the steel horse that kept me afloat I would sink. The most difficult moments from the sporting point of view, on the other hand, I found them on the uphill slopes with the toughest slopes when I had to press on the pedals to not touch the ground, otherwise it would be a half-defeat!



  • Did you have the chance to meet other people and share this passion?

Yes of course, from 2010 until now the thing has become more and more enlarged. Cyclists also follow me through Facebook, where I share my adventure with my bike, and they encourage me more and more. During my rides the enthusiasts recognize me and stop me on the road to take a picture or talk about cycling. Many are incredulous and they think I have a hidden motor inside the frame! Any climb I do, I’m always followed by many amateurs who accompany me and follow me in the toughest traits, even more so now with the new Graziella Passione Racing.


  • What do you need for these demanding rides? What is your equipment? 

For similar rides you need so much tenacity, passion and iron will. The important thing is to climb the hill and put another personal victory in your luggage. Regarding the equipment, normal dress with some nice t-shirt with motivational slogans, barefoot or with my flip flops. For the rest, half a banana and some sugar and a bit of The or supplement.


  • How is vintage Graziella equipped? And the new Graziella Passion?

Let's say that some more kilos don’t make the difference, and instead of removing I add! Both are equipped with Stereo system, in the vintage a small radio I installed, in the Passion with the Sound System supplied. The 23 kg Graziella Vintage has a 46/20, a backpack with the slogan "barcollo ma non mollo", an old plate with a few trophies and a front bag. In the latest edition of the 2016 Stelviobike in my eighth Stelvio, raising a little bit of the stick I added another 4 Kilos to challenge myself, bringing the total weight to 27 Kg to reach the 2760mt of Cima Coppi.

The new Graziella Passione, on the other hand, is not more than 15 kg, but equally robust, equipped with three types of handbags (front, lateral und under the saddle) and a valid 3-speed gearbox in the rear hub, tested last August in the Dolomites. The brakes were shown at the Top.


  • What do you feel facing this challenges?

Real emotions. At 61 I still have a lot of will, physical and mental strength, and especially tenacity as I was young. The only regret is not to have noticed before this "talent". In any case sooner or later life shows you lot of things, so I'm satisfied the same because in my way with my Graziella I made something important for me. I have a lot of material from my adventures, all cataloged, lots of stories to tell who maybe will be in a nice book.


  • The most beautiful places you saw?

I live in symbiosis with the Mountain and every climb from the Dolomites to the Alps to the Alpine Arc is always a different and wonderful emotion.


  • Why do you run on flip flops or barefoot?

At my age you need to challenge yourself, so I do it to challenge my limits.


  • Your slogan?

Barcollo ma non mollo! (I reel but I do not give up)


  • What do you answer those who criticize you?

Everybody loves me, but there is always someone who does not understand my motivation! I answer you through the words of my son, Andrea: "There is nothing fitting or false, my dad likes to work hard, one pound more for him is just a stimulus.

Sometimes this causes a little bit of healthy envy in the one who spends several thousand euros to buy the latest super lightweight carbon bike to limit fatigue to the minimum and make more. For years there have been skeptics that have had to be rewritten, and even now there are subjects who believe he has a motor. My dad is not trained as a professional but is trained to withstand fatigue. I saw that with my eyes, climbing mountains without touching the ground with the foot. I've seen him with my eyes doing the Stelvio twice a day, barefoot! For my dad his Graziella with 46-20 and his music is enough. "


Thank you very much to our friend Franco, and good luck for next adventures! 

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