Show #608 – August 11, 2022

Guests: Heather Dowd; Josh Poertner

Want to tour Italy?  Want to tour Italy and learn about the culture, the food, the wine, and some of the areas many tour companies don’t visit?

Heather Dowd, who along with her husband Beppe Salerno, own and operate Tourissimo – an “Italy Only” tour company that is both innovative and culture-rich, was recently featured in Forbes Magazine in an article that delved into women who own companies such as hers.

We’ll explore Tourissimo’s tour options, how Heather thinks about women and cycling, and a lot more when she joins me in a moment.

Then, we’ll speak with Josh Poertner.  Josh is the owner of Silca – yep that iconic company that makes the Silca pumps and now, a whole lot more.

Cycling Tips did an interview with Josh about what is becoming a nightmare to small businesses like his – counterfeit goods, fraud, and theft – and the new rules he had to implement in regard to returns – thousands of dollars of often fraudulent returns!

In a conversation that runs the gamut from what Silca has had to do to cope with fraud, counterfeit product, and outright theft to the future of the independent bike shop and how brands like Silca will fare as the industry continues to consolidate, Josh Poertner has some deep understanding and an ability to make it clear to anyone listening.

At mid-show, I mention two interesting events that are coming up.

First,  Classic Bicycles Auburn is a celebration of vintage lightweight bicycles that will be held at the Auburn Cord Duesenberg Museum August 26th to the 28th.  You can register for all three days or a-la-carte for any of the many options including the exhibits, the swap-meet, and the rides that are being offered each day.  For more information, log on to

And if you can’t get to Indiana for the Classic Bicycles Auburn event, how about going to Pittsburgh for what is one of the oldest and most respected rides in the U.S.?  Pedal Pittsburgh started way back in 1994 and is the largest ride in Pennsylvania. This year, the date is August 28th and you can register for the event at

Show #267 – October 10, 2015

Guests: Josh Poertner (Silca); Reid Miller (Reid Miller Apparel)

When we think of the greats of our industry – especially mountain biking – Charlie Cunningham doesn’t immediately go to top of the mind. BUT, he was the genius behind the welded aluminum frames (and a whole lot more) and the mountain bike hall-of-famer needs our help.

Here is the back-story: (From an online article in Bicycling this week)

A mountain biking accident in August left Cunningham physically crawling out of the woods for two miles with a major head injury, broken ribs, a broken clavicle, and shattered pelvis. He was only in the hospital for a few days before heading home to custom-build a cane for himself, but six weeks after the accident, his head injury manifested as a subdural hematoma. Today, he’s in the hospital recovering—but his prognosis is questionable.

His wife, single-speed-loving mountain bike devotee Jacquie Phelan**, talked with us about Cunningham, how their love of biking changed both of their lives, and what they’re facing now. Read the interview, and if you’re as touched as we were, consider donating to the GoFundMe site raising money to help with Cunningham’s hospital expenses, rehabilitation, and retrofitting of his home to make it wheelchair-accessible. The cycling community has always taken great pride in taking care of our own, and Cunningham is certainly deserving of a helping hand.

(**click the link to hear my interview with Jacquie back in 2010)

Since that article, Charlie has made some progress – but, he still needs our help. If you are so inclined, go to his GoFundMe page and offer some assistance – even some kind words will help with his healing.

So – this week? We have two great guests.

Josh Poertner was the Technical Director of Zipp Speed Weaponry for 14 years. During that time, he had occasion to meet Claudio Sacchi, the grandson of Felice Sacchi, the founder of Silca – the Italian pump manufacturer. I don’t know of a bike shop that has been in existence more than 10 years that doesn’t have a Silca “pista” (track) pump somewhere – and most are using theirs – 10, 15, 20, even 40 years after manufacture.

So… fast forward to a time that Claudio contracted cancer and as his health declined, so did the company.

In a fortuitous conversation, Josh and Claudio came to an agreement and now Silca is here in the U.S. and is once again heading for the top of the charts with renewed energy, excitement, and innovation.

Josh will take us through that journey up to present day in the first half of the show.

After our break and some news, we head on down to North Carolina to meet up with a most interesting lady. From dreaming about fashion design as a child to a stint in Africa with the Peace Corps and then a short career in Public Health, Reid Miller has come full circle back to her dreams of fashion bringing a classic look to the women who ride their bikes for transportation and recreation.

Hope you enjoy this episode of The Outspoken Cyclist.