Bongiorno bleary eyes! Yes, there sure will be a few of those around town now that the Giro d’Italia begins, and the annual Fight for Pink fever is unleashed.
We can’t get enough of this time of year. Not only is it a mighty fine way to justify more visits to the local pizzeria, it’s also a good opportunity to give your cycling kit and gear a bit of a freshen-up, Italiano style.
And in celebration of this great event, and the remarkable contribution of Italy to world cycling, here are just some of the brands on our site that proudly wave the Italian flag.
Now we just love the supposed history behind this brand and its iconic ‘celeste green’, even if it is just a passionate tale. It goes something like this – Edoardo Bianchi, the founder of Bianchi Bikes, made the former Queen of Italy a bike, and was inspired by the colour of her eyes when creating it. Less romantic, but equally appealing, is another hypothesis; that it was created from surplus World War I military paint and was altered with white in order to veer away from Army connotations. Whatever the legacy, Bianchi Bikes remains one of Italy’s greatest cycling success stories, and we all love a quality yarn.
Alcide Basso began life as a mechanic and ended up working for some of the greatest professional cycling teams in his time. Whilst Basso was working he also underwent formal training at a metal work school, thus developing an excellent knowledge of the materials used in his craft. By 1974 Basso had turned his garage into a workshop. As is the case with so many of these wonderful Italian cycling businesses, a retail store soon followed and then by 1981, a factory had commenced operation. Care, precision and love formed the cornerstone of all Basso products developed, then and now.
Yes, Brooks is most definitely a British company, not Italian. However, some of their cycling accessories bare the distinguished stamp of ‘MADE IN ITALY’. Not that you probably need the heads up – the fine leather workmanship of some of these accessories bares all the hallmarks of Italian quality, craftsmanship and style. Che bello!
Cinelli is part of Italian cycling’s DNA. Although it was founded by champion cyclist Cino Cinelli, it is perhaps equally well-known for its string of firsts. First aluminium handlebars, first seat with a plastic core, first pedal straps, first quick-release pedals. Three decades into his reign and Cino handed the steering wheel over to a young Antonio Colombo, an Industrialist with a love of cycling. The changing of guards saw Cinelli take a visionary leap into the future, and in doing so carve a reputation for designing and developing cult-like cycling products.
In 1964 talented Italian cyclocross rider Italo Guerciotti and his brother Paolo decided to open a small bike shop in Milan, Italy. It was not long before Paolo became equally smitten (and talented) by the sport, and rode in the1979 World Championships in Saccolongo. At about the same time, the Guerciotti’s bike shop started to get too small for its many customers, and so the brothers opened another, and another… By the mid 1970s Guerciotti had established a presence on the pro cycling tour, sponsoring teams such as Fiorella Mocassini, Fiorella Citroen, Magniflex Fam Cucine, Santini Selle Italia, Alfa Lum and Dromedarios Sidermec. By the 1980s Guerciotti had become one of the leading bike brands in the US and the rest, as they say, is (impressive) history.
Kask helmets are made in Italy and are known for their exceptional quality, design and exacting safety standards. A relative new-comer to the industry, Kask started life in 2004. Its team of expert engineers and partnerships with market-leading factories have played a pivotal role in skyrocketing the success of this brand.
Once upon a time, circa 1965, two Italian sisters owned a knitwear factory. Their brother, Pietro, took over the factory and founded Santini Maglificio Sportivo and – fired by a personal passion for cycling and racing – the factory went from developing products for third parties to specialising in quality cycling clothing. Pietro’s day-one commitment to design and produce all Santini products in Italy has, remarkably, endured to this very day. His two daughters now lead the charge and remain every bit as committed to investing and sustaining the local industry, which produces 3,000 items a day for worldwide export.
And when it comes to the Giro d’Italia, Santini Maglificio Sportivo has a revered role to play as producer of the famous race jerseys, including the legendary Pink Jersey, or maglia rosa. Viva l’Italia!
A name inspired by its founder Dino Signori’s initials, Sidi began in 1960 as a mountain sports footwear atelier. A decade later and the business had found its niche in cycling footwear as well as off-road/on-road motorcycling boots. But it was Dino’s passion for cycling that led the brand to focus equally on cycling footwear, and today it is synonymous with durable, innovative and style-conscious designs.
The innovation, passion and talent in world cycling is intrinsically linked to Italy, and there is no better stage on which to showcase this than the great Giro d’Italia. Bring on the 2014 Fight for Pink; may it be yet another legendary battle that keeps us Aussies gripped to late night viewing!