Athos Guizzardi was the barbecue king of Italy. His company sells high-end barbies, runs courses in barbecueing (is that a word?) and organises festivals for barbecue connoisseurs. It also does a fine line in garden furniture and even swimming pools. What on earth is he, and his eponymous company, doing on this web site?

Well, you just have to work backwards from barbies (who can resist a Broil King?), to tubular aluminium garden furniture, to tubular aluminium bicycle handlebars, to bicycle components in general. At the very end of the chain is Athos Guizzardi himself, inevitably, yet another entrepreneurial retired professional cyclist.

Athos was born in 1921 in Bologna. Before the Second World War he was a young and promising amateur cyclist. In the years immediately after the Second World War he was a professional cyclist, racing against the likes of Alfredo Binda, Gino Bartali and Fausto Coppi. But, say it quietly, he didn't win that much.

In 1952, he seems to have retired from cycling and established a workshop in Casalecchio, a rather natty and historic suburb of Bologna. He started by making cycle components, particularly handlebars. Gradually his workshop transitioned, via garden furniture, into the famous (at least in Italy) Athos Guizzardi barbecue business.

Athos died in 2016, but his children continue to run the business.

It's a fine story, but should derailleur afficionados care? Well, yes, because:

  • At some point someone produced some derailleurs with a very distinctive and undeniably crazy design. These derailleurs are branded 'Guizzardi Bologna'.
  • In 1971 someone referred to as 'M Guizzardi' applied for an Italian Patent for a derailleur. Unfortunately this patent is not online and we can't find out it's details without going to Italy in person and listlessly queueing in unbearable heat for several millenia. That, apparently, is the way the Italian Patent Office likes to work - why bother with this new fangled world-wide-whatever-it-is - it's just a flash in the pan.
  • In 1974 one 'Mauro Guizzardi' applied for another Italian Patent relating to handlebars. This patent is also not online.
  • And, last but not least, one of Athos Guizzardi's sons is called Mauro.
  • The, unproven, story is that the Athos Guizzardi company produced the weird derailleurs.