A Bicycle Whisperer

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This bike shop in Fondi, Italy, knows its stuff.

I’ve been cycling seriously for two or three years, riding up and down the Amalfi Coast from Le Sirenuse, our hotel in Positano. Recently, a serious biker friend told me about Cicli Conte, in Fondi, a two-hour drive from Rome. The incredibly passionate owner, Paolo Conte—a bio-mechanic, really—uses machines to take these arcane anatomical measurements of your body and assess your ride. Once he’s done that, he says things like “I bet when you’re going uphill, your right hip bothers you,” or “You have pain in your left ankle, don’t you?” He’s right every time. From there, he makes adjustments—some minuscule (changing the tilt of your saddle by a few degrees, say), others less so (giving you a new saddle altogether)—and, voilà, your riding experience has improved immensely. I was pedaling 20 percent to 30 percent faster after my fitting. He has a zeal that you don’t see in other shops, no matter how fancy they might otherwise be. Fittings start at $250; Via Nazario Sauro 42; 39-07/7153-7644.