El Diablo: A Strange and Mesmerizing Cycling Fan

June 26, 2013 | Julia Dawidowicz

Who is Diablo? Where did he come from? Why he is running in his pink jumpsuit alongside the cyclists of the Giro D’Italia?

Dieter “Didi” Senft (born February 7, 1952 in Reichenwalde, Germany) is known as the Tour de France and Giro d’Italia devil or El Diablo. Since 1993, he has been seen in the Tour and Giro’s many stages wearing his red devil costume and painting trident symbols on the road some miles before he appears. Senft attributes the inspiration for the costume to German cycling announcer Herbert Watterot who called the last lap of local criterium races, “the Red Devil’s Lap.”

He is also an inventor who has created over 100 bicycles, including the largest in the world. He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for building the largest mobile guitar (taking the form of a bicycle).

To learn more about this “living and metaphorical symbol of all cycling fans,” catch Paolo Casalis’ short film “El Diablo” on Friday, June 28th at the NY Bike Film Festival. Keep up with BFF 2013 on Facebook, check out the full schedule, and stay tuned for more festival highlights.