- Of Transalps and Pizzas -

After a tour a while ago I rode through Zeist, Netherlands where, in front of a Pizzeria, I spotted a Transalp in an odd colour scheme. It looked like a pizza courier so I hit the brakes and went in. After dismounting first. "Bummer, the boss wasn't in. He's the one to talk to. Yes it is used for pizza delivery. You best give him a call when he's in". So I did and after some phone calls I talked to the boss.

This is about Al Capone's pizza delivery and take-out. Everybody is familiar with it. Call, order, wait and .... eat ! The owner is Eric Overdijk. He took over the bussiness from the previous owner end of 1996. Eric started his career as a cook in his own restaurant. But it was too time consuming and so he quit and started the pizza bussiness. Al Capone's has better opening hours so there's more time left for the pleasant things in life, like touring.

The Transalp is a genuine dutch '88-model, that Eric bought in 1994 from a guy from Amsterdam. Who sold because of a lack of parking space. How bad can it be in Amsterdam that you can't park a bike ? The original colours are white/blue/red and it had ran about 33.000km. Sometime after the 80.000th km Eric went down so some parts have been replaced. Like the plastics, the screen and the dashboard incl. clocks. I read 40.000km on the speedometer but Eric said it must be over 100.000km now. 'Used' is the best description for it because of some scratches, different exhaust, replaced parts and a CDI that refuses to work when riding with a duo.

The wish to travel by bike was the most important reason for going Transalp. A travel report in a motor magazine and a certain 'Honda feeling' were the things that did it. Eric has been to England, has conquered the Jura/Alps and Dolomites, has plans for Toscane and uses it frequently for commuting. Satisfaction shows and during the interview I spotted the Transalp-look in his eyes. Apart from issues like The Seat, The Brakes and Speed wobbling, Eric is a happy camper. His Transalp runs about 20km to the liter gas and about half a liter oil every 1500km.

There are some thoughts about replaceming the bike. Maybe a Transalp again, or a BMW GS1100 Enduro. But that's a different thing all together and so there's doubt. Before the Transalp there were a Honda CB750 and a Suzuki GT750.

Acesoiries include (MDI) crashbars, a high screen and a 'Giant'-pizza case. Al Capone's serves three sizes of pizza: Medium, Large and Giant. A Giant pizza measures 50cm/20inch and does not fit a standard pizza case. So there are two choices: fold it (not everyone like Calzone) or get a special british case. He choose for the latter, putting 'top case' in a completely different perspective.

The yellow/grey/green colours are applied by using stickers. Background is yellow, with little grey 'thingies' on it and the green text blocks. The high screen holds the logo and the phone number is printed on the side panels.

Al Capone's has 17 outlets in Holland. They use one phone number and a call center to take orders. An order is sent by modem to the nearest outlet. Eric serves in and around Zeist (De Bilt, Bilthoven, Bosch en Duin, Driebergen, Bunnik), normally within 45 min. He uses the Transalp, a mountainbike with a second Giant-case, three Fiats, two full time and thirty part time employees.

Especially for pizza loving TCN-members Eric mad us the following offer: