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gravel monsterrato cinelli race

My first UCI race

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What happens when two Milanese messengers pin on a race number for the first time at Italy’s first ever UCI-sanctioned gravel race, Monsterrato?

 

 

Several weeks ago two young Milanese messengers and friends Chloe Mazza and Pietro De Giacomo, came and visited at our HQ in Caleppio, outskirts of Milan.

Both Chloe and Pietro are fast, both ride cargo bikes for work, both are extremely active in local messenger-organized races around Milan and both ride Cinelli track bikes when not on their work bikes: Pietro an ultra-rare Cinelli x MASH CX ss that he found on subito.it last year for less than €700 (!), Chloe a 2019 Vigorelli Steel “black night” edition (her first ever “real” bike).

 

 

 

 

 

Together we discussed the possibility of them pinning on a number at Italy’s first ever UCI-sanctioned gravel race, Monsterrato and trying to achieve a “fairytale” qualification for the Gravel World Championships.

Both were more than up for the challenge.

We signed them to Circolo Ciclistico Cinelli-Iuter our “informal” team, open to anybody with same attitude as us, we gave them a team jersey, gear and bikes: Made in Italy steel Nemo Gravel for Pietro, carbon fiber Zydeco King for Chloe.

With only a few days of proper riding to get used to their new equipment Pietro and Chloe set off to the race with our team “manager” Cappe and Charlie, his vintage T3 Volkswagen van.

Of the race – their first ever “serious” race – both said much the same thing: the atmosphere was very different, the adrenaline of the mass start together with elite athletes is a kick unique to the sport of cycling but the speed, despite an enormous amount of kilometres in their legs this season, was just too much and very soon the dream of qualifying for the world championships evaporated and both were left to enjoy a different kind of challenge, with themselves and against a particularly technical course.

 

 

 

 

At the end of the race we asked Chloe what the biggest difference between this race and the Italian Cycle Messenger Championship less than a month ago and we found the answer pretty illuminating:

“The biggest difference is that the point of a messenger championship is to race but also to meet people and to learn new skills and techniques for messenger cycling, like how to strap objects to your cargo or discover strange, exotic, custom made components…”

 

Would they race another UCI race? Maybe yes, maybe not, it was a good experience, it was fun, it was intense, it was crazy!

The first few kilometres in the pack, covered in dust with only a few metres of visibility were unforgettable but when cycling becomes racing it also loses a lot of the values that they find so interesting…

 

 

 

 

Follow our instagram profile @cinelli_official for more adventures!

And if you are curious, check out the King Zydeco and the Nemo Gravel that Chloe and Pietro used for the race!

Photos: Luca Panegatti

Road to Badlands 2022

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Riders from all over the world are preparing for Badlands, one of the most famous long distance unsupported races in the Spanish desert.
We put together a team of four riders to compete, explore or just take a “sadistic holiday” in this already mythical race.
Scroll down to get to know our friends Taylor Phinney, Luisa Werner, Sophie Jail and Davide Belfiore.

 

TAYLOR PHINNEY

 

 

Since retiring as a professional cyclist in 2019 Taylor Phinney, laid-back and soft-spoken, has combined the experience of his ten very intense and varied years as a pro with his creativity and broader interest in culture to develop what we think are some of the most interesting ideas in the “industry”.

 

Hi Taylor!

Hi Lodovico!

So first question is really can you just please tell us about how the idea came about for geometry and build of the custom Cinelli Nemo Gravel we just sent out to you?

There are a couple of directions I could take answering this question…

Tell us both!

Well firstly over the last 5-6 years I have started seeing the bicycle as an explorative tool, whilst when I started riding it was a tool for success and for winning. For me the relationship with the bike as a piece of equipment now is: where can it take me AND where can I take it. I like the concept of underbiking i.e. taking a bike that is not technically really up to the terrain you’re riding on. I like to find a balance between how far I can push the bike, how deep into some weird trail I can go before either the bike explodes or I mentally explode.

Ok…

And secondly, from a technical point of view I believe that gravel cycling as we know it today is essentially a continuation of late 80s early 90s mountain bikes. Those bikes were also totally rigid and had a similar tyre profile. But one thing I think is missing or wrong about the current gravel market is that for whatever reason it seems that people just want to make road bikes with big tyres. That’s fine if you want to ride a road bike with big tyres… but when I think of doing a really long adventure or mixed terrain ride I want to be comfortable and a lot of that comfort stems from my upper body position, how straight is my back, how open are my shoulders… For open terrain and steep trails but even asphalt you need to be able to be dynamic, and I find that the strictly road position, very bent over and very far over the front wheel is very unhealthy for my back – with which I have a lot of problems because I’m a giant! – but also from a safety point of view. The further back you are, the easier it is to save the bike if you lose the front wheel. So to cut a long story short the geometry I worked on with the Cinelli technical office was less of a performance fit than your standard model and something closer to an 80s-90s MTB geometry. This is the second bike I’ve tried to develop this idea on and the first custom bike I’ve ever had in entire cycling career despite many promises from previous sponsors! All I ever wanted my whole pro career was a custom frame. It’s only taken about 3 years of not being a pro to have it…

And how does it ride?

Not perfect, but pretty close! [Laughs] I’ve been working on different setups these last few weeks. I’ve ridden it as a mullet bike, with 700c wheel at the front at 650b at the back, I’ve tried a few different handlebars…

Are you ready for Badlands?

To be honest riding Badlands was Davide’s [Cinelli’s trade marketing manager – ED] idea and I just said yeah sure. Only last week I looked at some videos and though oh f**k what have I got myself into… I’m going to take it like a kind of sadistic vacation: 4 or 5 days with no zoom calls no business to attend to. All you have to do is ride your bike and take care of your contact points. It’s total simplicity: stay alive and stay happy.

Haha sounds like a great holiday! One more question: I saw the poster you put out for your social ride with Cinelli this weekend (28/08) in Girona and I noticed that the most prominent piece of information on it (and on other posters you have made in the past for rides) was “100% ego-less ride”. When I read that myself personally as well as others in the office that saw it were really excited, to us it felt like exactly the kind of message we’d like about a ride we’d go on. Can you tell me a little bit about how you came to use this description of your rides?

I think it’s important to let people know up front when they’re coming to any kind of group ride what the vibe is going to be. The reason I write it is because there’s something about men mounting their bicycle and being around other men that makes them feel like they need prove themselves. There can often be this kind of energy where people become immediately competitive because they assume others there are being competitive with them. And it’s that kind of energy that really pushed me away from the road cycling environment. To me it felt like people weren’t connecting with each other but isolating themselves. That’s not the purpose of the bike for me. So I try to make it really clear from the start that this competitive mentality isn’t really welcome and that the people who come to the ride won’t be subject to that.

 

 

LUISA WERNER

 

 

After a brief sojourn as a semi-professional cyclist and, before that, a budding career as an elite rower, last year Luisa Werner began exploring a new kind of cycling: endurance races. This very quickly led to competitive success with victories at prestigious races such as the Italy Divide and Three Peaks. But competition is only a very small part of Luisa Werner’s interest in cycling!

 

Hi Luisa!

Hi Lodovico!

So, I wondered if you could begin by telling us how you first got involved in cycling?

Yes sure! So when I was younger I was a competitive rower, representing Germany at a U23 level. I started riding a road bike, like a lot of rowers and other athletes as a way of helping to build endurance. But soon enough the bike became about going out on long day rides, doing bikepacking trips using Airbnb in its early days… This eventually led to me stopping my rowing career and signing with a small semi-professional German cycling team.

How was your experience as a professional cyclist?

To be honest whilst I loved being with the girls and meeting other athletes I never felt comfortable, was often afraid of crashing and pretty quickly discovered that the peloton was not the side of cycling I’m interested in exploring. I rode for the team for just 1.5 years.

And after this you discovered endurance/bikepacking races?

About two years ago I discovered these kinds of races, yes and in September 2021 I rode my first one.

What attracted you about this format of cycling compared to your experiences as a professional?

Basically at an endurance race nobody goes home a loser. It’s not about position and ranking but adventure and the journey. People have a different spirit. You don’t feel competitiveness in the atmosphere, you feel people doing it for themselves and for the memories that will be created.

You’ve been very successful though, from a competitive point of view, from the very start in these races. What is your attitude towards winning and your objectives for Badlands?

The first priority for me is always to race against myself, not the others, because if do my best that will produce the best ranking. But like I said for me it’s not just a race but an opportunity to talk to the riders around me and to be pushed by them to try to do new things. In fact it’s the atmosphere created by the other riders that put me in the spirit of going fast.

Ok! Last question: you are of course going to be riding the Cinelli Zydeco King gravel bike for the race but are there any other special technical details that you have prepared for the race and that you are excited about using?

Well I am very excited about my mattress (laughs), the Thermarest Neoair X-Lite which I have used in every race over the last two years… And also a new 3 liter bladder bag made by Decathlon that can be placed under my aero-bar extensions to allow me to carry more water…

 

 

SOPHIE JAIL

 

 

Sophie Jail is a nomadic French adventurer with a passion for bikepacking and restoring vintage cars and mopeds. After a long “informal” history with bikes, as a commuter and occasional summer tourer, two years ago she bought her first serious bicycle and began properly bikepacking across the European summer.

 

Hi Sophie!

Hi Lodovico!

So, last time we spoke you told me that only last year you rode your first endurance race? How did this come about?

Well basically I had been suffering from some health problems and had been also using long-distance bikepacking as rehabilitation and “reappropriation” of my body. Signing up for an endurance race was a logical next step.

And how did it go?

I had studied the course before and prepared myself to try to finish it in about six days. I ended up finishing it in three days and a few hours. I was shocked to discover I could do this! To me it was amazing to discover what I was capable of, how the body could find ways to keep going, to handle pain, to use adrenaline. I was so proud and happy to achieve this. I didn’t care if I was the first one or last one over the line. I had discovered what I wanted to discover in a race against my body.

Had you any previous experience in competitive cycling?

No. In fact I have no previous experience in any kind of competitive sport. I never thought I was good at anything before this!

And how did you end up signing up to ride Badlands?

I actually decided during a ride, the Women’s Komoot Torino-Nice Rally, a great women’s only bikepacking ride. On one climb I started riding together with another girl, Sara, and we were really racing, going up fast, and at the top of the climb we said to each other we have to go do a race together and to us, because we both love gravel, Badlands seemed like the perfect race. At the time I actually had only ever done one endurance race so I was pretty scared by the idea. But now I have some more experience and I’m not scared!

What is your objective for Badlands?

To go as fast as I can!

So for you it’s a competition?

It’s not a competition against others, just an opportunity to do my best.

Last question: you have chosen to ride the carbon fiber Cinelli Zydeco King frame for the race… could you tell me a little bit about how you chose your exact setup for the bike?

Well, I’m a bit of a gearhead so I am very interested in lightweight solutions and I will try to go as light as possible because of the heat but at the same time I don’t want to run the risk of not being able to finish the race because my bag got ripped when I fell or I don’t have enough spare tubes… so really my build is all about striking a balance between lightweight solutions and neutralizing risk as for me my absolute first priority is finishing!

 

 

DAVIDE BELFIORE

 

 

Davide Belfiore, trade marketing manager of Cinelli, is our own endurance cycling guru. He has been riding his bike in extraordinary and unusual ways ever since we’ve known him. Last year he rode Badlands, broke his sternum and tore his rotator cuff and had to retire after 270km. This year he is going back with Taylor, Luisa and Sophie to resolve some unfinished business!

 

Davide, tell me about your history as a cyclist?

I grew up in Brianza and always rode my bike competitively, like so many other kids in the area. In 2002 I became a professional cyclist with the Sud Tirol team, I rode 3 seasons as a professional but to be honest the peloton was not a place I felt comfortable in during those years for many reasons that people now understand better!

And after that?

After that I hated the bike for quite a while and kept my distance… When I finally got back into cycling it was through Triathlon, where I found a much nicer atmosphere. There I was also able to compete at a high level and competed twice at 70.3 World Championships in Clearwater where I was the top Italian finisher. But in general, since stopping being a professional I’ve always had an approach to cycling which kept its distance from competition.

When did you start riding endurance races?

Only about three years ago, but that kind of cycling has always attracted me. Before I even knew about these kinds of races I was trying to invent them for myself. For example the last time I rode a triathlon, four years ago, the race was in Puglia so I decided to ride to the race from Cinelli. I left on Tuesday, rode 300km a day, arrived on Friday evening and raced the triathlon on Saturday…

What are you attracted to in endurance racing?

What I really enjoy is the experience of losing all the comforts of your regular life: your house, social media… Nothing is no longer in your possession other than the essentials: air, land, sky, your fatigue and your dreams. Riding these races is like a dream in which I carry most cherished memories with me. And this way of being produces visions for me, and ideas for life. It’s a kind of spiritual pursuit!

Follow our instagram profile @cinelli_official to stay updated!

Check out the King Zydeco and the Nemo Gravel that the riders will use to tame the desert!

We will hug again

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Dear friend,

how are you?

We are healthy and ready to start again, ensuring the safety of those who work with us.

Since the beginning of the lockdown, our technical, creative, commercial and administrative departments have been remote working, with meetings in virtual mode. Production has continued as long as permitted by government decrees.

Now, in view of May 4th, we are adapting the routes and processes to the needs of social distancing: we have reorganized the warehouse in order to be able to safely process orders and requests, and we are preparing to apply all the necessary procedures to ensure the safety and health of all those who enter the premises. Wherever possible, we will maintain the remote working mode to do our part for the collective well-being.

The athletes and Cinelli Ambassadors are making their personal contribution to solidarity projects, such as Paola Gianotti who has cycled for 12 hours in a row on rollers to buy devices for hospitals. Together with Marta Castronuovo of Yoga-à-Porter we created Cinelli Cares, the video yoga pills for the home training of cyclists. We organize meetups and rides on Zwift to maintain fitness and community spirit. With Becycling who quit their travel around the world after almost six years, we questioned the meaning travelling in Covid time, in an Instagram Cinelli Talk. Our athletes from Team Colpack Ballan, Energy Team, Team LVF, G.S. Stabbia, Deka Riders, Falasca MG.K Vis Luxor, Team Cinelli Smith, Army of two, Cinelli Chicks, Lovelo Squadra donne, Team Jadan, Sportcomplex Breclav, Velo ibike, Rush Cycles, Black Sox Bicycle Club are training professionaly with great commitment at home, communicating on social networks.

Now the most demanding challenge awaits us: to start again. But those who ride bikes are used to great challenges that require competence, renewal, teamwork, commitment, strength and sweat. We want to be close to our community of riders, to our dealers, to our distributors, in order to start again all together and to give our contribution to the cultural and commercial development of ourselves, of our partners and of the whole sector.

We want to promote the use of the bicycle as the main tool of the necessary social distancing to decongest urban mobility: the bicycle is an individual choice for the collective good. We want to dialogue with the other players in the sector and participate in the discussion tables, to give a strong and decisive new impetus to the bike industry. We want to promote incentives to buy a bike and use two wheels as a prevention tool. We want to support our partners and Ambassadors in road safety campaigns and for the reduction of VAT on bicycles. We want to participate in the construction of sustainable models of renewal that highlight the economic, ecological and health benefits of two wheels. We want to promote local cycling as the first engine for the rebirth of the territory.

We need to imagine new ways of living and living together. And to work. We are rethinking with new creative lymph to work models that previously worked but are no longer adequate: we must immediately transfer into daily life what we have learnt in recent months, demonstrating our resilience and intelligence in forging relationships and building new economies.

The lockdown has shown us the possibility of fully exploiting digital communication technologies, opening up space for immediate confrontation, abolishing downtime, showing ourselves to others even in our private daily lives. The invitation is to hold on to this gained closeness paradoxically dictated by the necessary distance, to work better together and dialogue in a new, empathic and effective way, creating a powerful human and professional connection.

Great stage races will be back, because bicycles have to run. And we will be there.
In the meantime, let’s get back on track together.

We are in touch

Antonio Colombo and Cinelli Team

Cinelli Cares

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This is the perfect season for cycling: days are getting longer, sun is warm but not hot, even the wind is gentler.
Unfortunately, however, the Coronavirus situation requires everybody to stay at home to safeguard the community health.
After the initial discouragement, virtual reality came to the rescue and now you can train with friends even staying at home.

To integrate and complete the indoor training Cinelli has created Cinelli Cares, a series of yoga classes specifically designed to complement the preparation of cyclists by working on strength and flexibility with the aim of improving performance on the pedals.

Marta Castronuovo will guide you into the deepest secrets of yoga for cyclists. Marta is yoga teacher and founder of Yoga à Porter, a school with the aim of offering a teacher who is not alienated from reality, closing herself in the minimalism of yoga centers, but who experiences and knows as much as possible the reality in which we live, spreading through the city, entering houses, small and large offices, co-working, such as bars or theaters and more.
In this sense, the kaleidoscopic education of Marta was fundamental. She graduated in Philosophy, Art and Anthropology, and blended them with extensive studies of Yoga, Chinese Medicine and Ayurveda.
For more information about Marta’s experiences, click here.

The first episode of Cinelli Cares will be published tomorrow, then every Tuesday and Friday, on the IGTV Cinelli Official channel.

Namasté!

Paola Gianotti against Covid-19

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Help our Ambassador Paola Gianotti to raise funds to buy thousands of masks for the Regina Margherita Children’s Hospital in Turin.

Paola auctioned her Cinelli Superstar disc from her third Guinness World Record, which saw her cross Japan in 2017 in nine days, from North to South. Place your bid!

On April 18th, the last day and boost of Paola’s campaign, donate and participate in the 12 hours on the rollers, cycling with Paola on Zwift and following the live on her Facebook page.

Or, donate now on gofundme.com/f/keepbrave-per-covid2019!

Go, Paola, go!

Cinelli x Tigran Avetisyan

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Cinelli mission has always been to look beyond the present, to reinvent the bicycle and make cyclists’ life better. Design principles are applied to all Cinelli products. Design is not just looks. Design means shape, first project, outline, technology, technique, materials, innovation, creativeness, function, quality, uniqueness, know-how, emotion. We want every product to have an Idea, since, if it is a copy, it cannot be Cinelli.
Today we express this Idea in the collaboration with Tigran Avetisyan, a Russian designer who studied at Central Saint Martins fashion school in London and had his final collection fully sponsored by LVMH.
Tigran is part of Wingedstore Cinelli Art program and his first cap will be online soon.
The designer’s stylistic and performing avant-garde has been developed in a streetwear collection with Cinelli and Columbus logos and will be sold through fashion distribution channels. The complete collection will be presented Sunday, January 12, 2020 from 6.00pm.
During the event, Tigran will do a live painting performance on a Vigorelli Shark with lenticular wheels kindly provided by Vision.

You are all invited!

Cinelli x Tigran Avetisyan
01.12.20 – h 6.00 pm
Riccardo Grassi showroom

Anima d’Acciaio opening video

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Anima d’acciaio continues until January 18th in the spaces of Antonio Colombo Gallery, in Milan.
And it continues to offer suggestions.

On Wednesday, December 4th, the famous American framebuilder Richard Sachs, stimulated by a sparkling Federico Meda, gave a speech on his fifty years of activity with Columbus tubes, together with Pietro Pietricola and Cristina Würdig, from Officina Dario Pegoretti, and our Paolo Erzegovesi from Columbus. Richard Sachs has brought with him Brian Vernor who is working on a documentary on RS that will be released in 2020.

Here a nice video of the exhibition opening evening.

A night with Richard Sachs

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Richard Sachs, world-famous American framebuilder, celebrates 100 years of Columbus at Anima d’acciaio, in a conversation with Pietro Pietricola from Officina Dario Pegoretti, led by the journalist Federico Meda.

The dialogue will explore Sachs’ experience as a rider alongside with the origins and development of his job as a framebuilder, using Columbus tubing, and his collaboration with Dario Pegoretti.
Pietro Pietricola’s experience and point of view will face the relationship between tradition and innovation.

Contributions from a qualified public of framebuilders, makers and Columbus friends will be a further enrichment of the speech.
The conversation will be held in English.
Further info here.

A night with Richard Sachs
December 4th 2019 | 7pm
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea
Via Solferino 44, Milano

“Anima d’acciaio: Columbus and bicycle design” hosts Richard Sachs’ amazingly red race lugged-steel-frame.
Here a selection of images of the contents and opening of the exhibit.
Open to the public until January 18th 2020.

Anima d’Acciaio: Columbus and the bicycle design

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Dear Friend,
we are very proud to invite you to the opening of Anima d’Acciaio: Columbus and bicycle design, the second chapter of ‘Columbus continuum: 100 years of a steel manufactory in Milan’, Wednesday, November the 20th from 6.30 pm to 9 pm at Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea gallery.

The exhibition will be open to the public from November 21st to January 18Th 2020.

Anima d’Acciaio: Columbus and bicycle design
Wednesday 20th November
from 6.30 pm to 9 pm
Antonio Colombo Arte Contemporanea
Via Solferino 44, Milan

Design as an attitude

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In December 2018 Antonio Colombo was invited in Hong Kong for the Asian most important design event, the Business of Design Week.
During the “Reinventing Brands Through Design” panel, Colombo speech “Design is an attitude” tells comething more about Cinelli Vision and Mission.

Here below the full speech.

What I have just shown you is a short film made by some young friends of Cinelli which in a quite naïve and simple way nevertheless sums up the core values behind our participation in the cycling world.

Scrolling on the screen behind me now, and during my speech, are 400 images of a life – my life – that has continuously intertwined design, art and technology for over 40 years…

Now to begin with I must be clear: I am not a designer. I am not an artist, nor am I an engineer. I am an industrialist, but a reluctant one. At the age of 23, when my father passed away, obliging me to take over his steel tubing business, my plan had been to move to Ireland and open a bed and breakfast dedicated to fly fishing!

Obliged to take over the family business I immediately began searching for an outlet for the expression of my creative impulses within the factory. I found this outlet in the bicycle. In particular in Columbus, the department of the factory dedicated to bicycle tubing and soon after, through Cinelli, a client of Columbus, which I acquired between 1977 and 1978.

I approached the world of design not as a graduate of design school or an architect or an engineer. I approached it as somebody who had grown up in a very heavy 1970s political climate of terrorism, kidnappings, strikes and so on. My aesthetic education came through rock music and the counter culture in general. The things you felt, heard and saw in music and underground cinema and literature in the late 60s and 1970s were totally disconnected to the daily life of a Milanese boy. They represented the aesthetic of the future. And it was through them that I discovered colour and more importantly the idea of design not as a project but as an ethics, a way of communicating new attitudes of living through aesthetics.

Because of this approach I was able to see in the bicycle an object which was functionally perfect but which had an unexpressed, utopian, social potential.

The bicycle, I said to myself, is already a technically perfect object of design. My job should be to intervene on the details and the uses of the bicycle rather than the object itself. I had to understand the possibilities better.

I had to create the ground for different ATTITUDES TOWARDS THE BIKE.

Of course my anxiety was that by producing bikes we were only producing bikes, producing bike tubes we were only producing tubes. A personal discovery which helped me overcome this anxiety was the “secret bauhaus” history of my father’s tubing company. In the 1930s my father’s tubing factory had purchased the license for and produced and marketed tubular furniture designed by Marcel Breuer and great designers of the period like Aalto, Terragni, Bottoni and many others. Growing up I had know nothing of this because it was believed that rationalism, because of its proximity to early fascism, it had to be hidden. But its discovery in a dusty back room of the factory was a revelation. All of a sudden I had the confidence that producing tubes didn’t mean just producing tubes, it could also mean culture! I think this is an important and exciting lesson for any industrialist!

And it was with this confidence and attitude that, for example, my Cinelli became the first company in Europe to manufacture, market and sell Mountain Bikes. MTB represented an entirely new, free-spirited, creative and experimental way to approach the bicycle and was the natural way for me to set Cinelli on its new path.

Throughout this period but still today my not being either a competitive cyclist or a designer allowed my company to embrace and to be embraced by other worlds. Not being a competitive cyclist I was able to dedicate time to other cultural pursuits. Not being a designer I was not only product-driven in my approach to design. I was open to the strong cultural ferment of Milan and in particular the “non-rigorous” “non-functionalist” approach of groups such as Alchimia and Memphis and in particular Alessandro Mendini. FROM THIS I DISCOVERED THAT THE RIGHT APPROACH FOR ME AND FOR THE NEW IS NOT TO SAY WHY BUT INSTEAD WHY NOT?

This approach led to the design of objects that had never existed before in cycling such as the world’s first EVA handlebar ribbon, Original Cork Ribbon, the Spinaci handlebar extensions as well as highly technological pieces such as the one-piece RAM carbon fiber handlebar-stem and the world’s most victorious Olympic bike model, the Laser.

My relationship with engineers and with the technological aspect of design has always taken the form of a provocation. The provocation is usually an idea for a new attitude towards the bike and this provocation acts as a stimulus to the development of new methods of construction and guarantees the technological competitiveness of the brand at the highest level.

Throughout this period of the 80s and 90s Cinelli thus became known as the only cycling company in the world to produce alternative cycling values. We collaborated with artists, with famous graphic designers, we created objects that had never previously existed etc.

But it was only in the early 2000s that my vision of what the bicycle could be became a global reality. In the early 2000s, to put it very simply, youth culture became interested in the bicycle for the second time (after MTB). This time at a global level and connecting it for the first time with nascent “street culture”. Up until that point the bicycle had remained an instrument used for sports or for transport. The adoption of the bicycle by young culture is in itself an act of design. It transformed the bicycle into a social phenomenon and in doing this transformed the very function of the bicycle. All of a sudden the racing bicycle was not just a racing bicycle, it was a urban fixed gear bike, a cargo bike, a travel bike, a gravel bike.

In particular the urban fixed gear bike, a brakeless track bike used in the city and the most forceful catalyst of youth culture’s interest in cycling, is the most perfect example of Cinelli’s design strategy. Cinelli’s continuous research into social and cultural developments around the bike allowed it to understand the trend not just first but also most comprehensively, as a cultural phenomenon, and to develop products such as the famous MASH and Vigorelli ranges which truly responded at a TECHNICAL LEVEL to new SOCIAL DEMANDS.

When we started working on developing a new generation of fixed gear bikes which unlike the original track bikes were designed specifically for urban use people would ask me, particularly in Italy, what is the point of a bike without brakes? And my answer was “to reinvent the brake”! And together with passionate riders from all over the world we did not just reinvent the way of braking when riding in the city, we also reinvented the handling characteristics and geometry of urban bicycles.

Thanks to this constant cultural research and the long work of Cinelli throughout the 1980s and 1990s to show that the bicycle could contain many more emotions than just those of sport and transport, these new young cyclists of the 2000s have adopted Cinelli as their mascot and love brand.

For example the Cinelli cycling cap became a global symbol of alternative values, selling over 100 000 pieces a year, not counting all the bootlegs.

The cycling cap is in fact a good example of what I mean when I say I haven’t invented anything. The cycling cap is nothing new. It has existed for more than 100 years. But something that Cinelli does when it presents to you the cap make it so people are particularly attracted to it. I call this “human technology”! And we don’t just apply this to our high performance technological achievements, such as the lightest steel tubes in the world, but to every part of the company. In other words: design is the company!

Design in youth culture in general but also in particular in the new cycling of youth culture means everything that lies between the product and the final consumer. It is a project that regards also perception.

In fact today for Cinelli design means we are happy to make another rider happy.

HAPPY TO MAKE ANOTHER RIDER HAPPY (repeat).

We ask ourselves how to make another rider happy. And this can mean many things. We work across the board, making riders happy through participation (on social media for example), through increasing the safety of our products, through creating a sense of community, through aesthetic refinement, through helping young people find new ways to use their bicycles…
What I just said had been visually summed up by the Pedalor, a sculpture (created by Alessandra Cusatelli) inspired by the Modulor, a modern reinterpretation of Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man made by Le Corbusier in 1955 as a study of human proportions according to new housing needs. A bicycle has been placed inside Pedalor’s hand and held vigorously above his head, like people used to do in the first critical masses in 1992. When the product becomes a symbol and goes along with a gesture, that’s where design comes true and almost becomes Art.