Signora Motta

At the vulnerable age of nineteen Harry Binns founded an obsession which would expand his horizons from the Dales to the Dolomites. Visiting his local bike shop, he purchased a July copy of Cycling and Mopeds, and entered the wake of a legend - Fausto Coppi. 'Il Campionissimo' as he was later to become known as, had just won his first Tour de France, more critically, he did it with style.

Binns instantly abandoned his British Hetchins bike frame for an Italian import - a Bianchi. And through a variety of expensive european magazines consumed all that he could about his idol. Of  particular interest was Coppi's scandalous dalliance with Giulia Occhini, aka 'La Dama in bianco' or 'The Lady in White'.

Eager to appropriate the identity of his new mentor, it is likely a sporadic correspondence with a certain Signora Francesca Motta, from Cassolnovo, in the Province of Pavia, Italy, allowed Binns to construct a crash course in La Dolce Vita.
She may have accompanied him on a trip to Castellania, as one of the thousands who paid their respects to Coppi as he was laid to rest on the afternoon of January 4th 1960. Perhaps it was Sig.ra Motta, a farmacista by occupation, who coaxed Binns into the shady practice of competing under the influence of what Coppi referred to as "La Bomba". The length of their relationship is unknown. As was the period when Binns would eschew his regular pint of ale for a 'doppio espresso'.
© Sixteen Ninety-three 2014