08 October 2010

Overwhelming Numbers of Bikes in Italy

After hearing about our recent vacation a friend sent me the link to today's New York Times article on the Eroica, a vintage, "tweed-ride" style jaunt through Tuscany. I can tell you from experience that the Eroica roads we took on our vacation were among the most beautiful we've ever seen. Someday we'll make it to the main event!

All this made me feel slightly guilty though, because I've been promising you Italian bicycle photos. I confess that the sheer number of photos have overwhelmed me, I've been paralyzed with the prospect of organizing and presenting them all. Just now I've decided to skip the former and just go with the latter.

In no particular order here's a whole lot of Italian bikes!

These bikes were cool because they were free loaners from a hotel.
Don't they look elegant there on the cobblestones?
This art bike was newly-made, there was gold paint on the street a few feet away.
This mixte was more remarkable in person than in the photos, but the blue ano rims match the decals, and even the brake pads match the frame.
This one is for you Cycler!
You might have to enlarge this photo to see the bicycle lurking in the alley.
Florentine bike racks were inevitably full.
I think this is the largest wicker front basket I've ever seen, easily as large as those super-huge Wald baskets.
I love how this lady popped into the store leaving her bike, and umbrella, unguarded.
This must have been some sort of delivery bike in its past, look at all those tubes and oversize platforms for carrying lots of bulky, heavy things.
Headtube indicates that Atala bikes were made in Milan.
I was clearly very taken with this utility bike.
Every single rack outside of the train station in Florence was filled to capacity. While we waited for our train home to Rome we watched cyclist circling for a parking space like mall-shoppers at Christmas time.
This pair of unmarked bicycles lived across the street from our apartment. They never moved, and I was just glad I didn't have to watch it rain on those beautiful new Brooks accessories.
The smaller bike (hers?) even left the Brooks saddlebag unattended for days!
What a simple urban vehicle!
Adore the shaping of the fenders on this bike, and the rod brakes.
Love these loops - a style I've only seen in Italy where the top tube swirls back up to join the seat tube.
Definitely the strangest frame we saw, though there were quite a few like this in Florence. We think Bianchi went through an experimental stage, they appeared to all be from the same era (based on paint color schemes). I'm glad they've moved on, we're generally fans of the seat stay.
Green with Ivy, patient city bike ready to go.
Electric blue bicycle looks ready to go!
Finally the Sunday before we left the Brooks couple took the bikes away for a while, when they returned his was on the outside. I'm glad they got out for a ride!


Anonymous said...

Great photos! Looks and sounds like it was a great trip, clearly the Italian flare for aesthetic doesn't exclude bicycles.

Regarding large front baskets - how about this one from Todd and Martina, who are two of the co-owners of Clever Cycles here in Portland :)



Charlotte said...

Porlandize - looks like they can fit the Brompton in that basket - how cool!

Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

What a neat collection of bikes. I just cannot figure out how the bike with the umbrella is standing up with the kickstand up. It is not leaning against the wall - too far away.

Charlotte said...

I think the far pedal is up against the wall, but I'm not sure.

Anonymous said...

I've also been intrigued with doing L'Eroica after reading about it in an earlier issue of Bike Quarterly, and I keep on hearing how D2R2 holds itself up as the closest thing you'll get to a North American equivalent. D2R2 certainly has some beautiful roads, but the terrain is intimdatingly steep. Does the same hold true for the Tuscan roads? Or is it all white gravel vineyards without 20% grades?

Charlotte said...

I'm not sure how to answer your question. The vineyards were quite steep, and we climbed for kilometer after kilometer. The grade was 15%. I guess I'll just have to ride them both in order to really compare... :)

Muse said...

Gorgeous. Beautiful bikes in a beautiful setting.

cycler said...

Thanks for sharing- makes me miss the days when I biked around Milan. Poor Robert is lying in a pile alongside the house, waiting to go be recycled, but he gave me many years of good service.

Bicycle theft IS a big problem in Milan, and I would guess in Rome too, so I'm surprised to see such nice bikes so unattended.

Lovely Bicycle! said...

I can't believe how beautiful the free hotel loners are. Did you notice the manufacturer name? And I love the pale green bike with the wicker basket in the back.

Dottie said...

What a great collection of interesting bikes! I wish I saw that many cool bikes in the US.

I feel the same way about sifting through vacation photos to post - overwhelming. Looks like you solved that problem well.

Scott said...

fantastic...been living in Italy and you post sums up 7 months of my photos! amazing collection of real used stuff. www.notesfromthepegboard.blogspot.com

Anonymous said...

Har! I see a green 'Collalti' bike (1st photo) :)


Anonymous said...

Oooops , sorry 'Collalti' is depicted in photo No.22.