Milan: Five Cycling Hotspots
In the world of cycling Milan is perhaps best know as the starting location for one of the five Monuments, Milano-Sanremo. With the first official edition of La Classicissima held in 1907, you can expect cycling culture to be well established in the city of Milan. But where do you go to immerse yourself into the Milan cycling lifestyle? We selected five hotspots in and around the city for cycling aficionados to visit.
UPCYCLE BIKE CAFE
Upcycle has a mission. Founded by a group of cycling enthusiasts, this initiative strives to be the social and cultural cycle hub of the city. Upcycle Bike Cafe is situated in the Avanzi Social Innovation and Co-working District, a community promoting practices for a more liveable and just world. To put this ideology into practice, Upcycle hosts a series of weekly events including bike travel stories, bicycle and book presentations, reflection and convention evenings, charity auctions, documentary film projections, and more.
The stores’ construction materials, as well as the chairs and tables, are recycled. The kitchen sticks to a sustainable philosophy and everybody is welcome to dig in and enjoy the entertainment (or be the entertainer!).
Inevitably, there are plenty of vintage style bikes on display and for sale in Upcyle, plus it’s fitted with a workshop area for bike repair and maintenance.
Deus Cycleworks is the bicycle department of Australian based brand Deus Ex Machina. They are known for their motorbikes, bicycles and surf boards and the clothing they make for people who like riding motorbikes, bicycles and surfboards. An unconventional combination of lifestyles maybe, but Deus Ex Machina has been a successful formula for years. Given their buzz-worthy stores in Bali, California, Sydney and Milan they must be getting something right.
Maybe it’s the fact that they like organising rad cycle events. Like their Pedalpalooza, an open-to-everyone-as-long-as-they-dressed-up, 40-k ride including a BMX track rally and a sausage & beer lunch. Or the popular Deus Bicycle Swap, where anyone wanting to buy or sell bikes or bike parts is welcome to join in, accompanied by a DJ and good street food.
The Milan outpost of Deus Cycleworks is located in the Isola neighbourhood. The store has stacked up on menswear, accessories, surfboards and motorcycles, and they design, build and sell their own custom Deus bicycles here. The store/bar/cafe is designed around a horseshoe shaped courtyard. It spreads across a series of open spaces with high ceilings. The hangout, with its cool, industrial interior decorated with lush plants, is a hit among the locals. The kitchen/bar is open every day, from breakfast until late in the night.
BIANCHI CAFE AND CYCLES
This bicycle hotspot — intimately connected to the legendary Italian brand — is located in the heart of Milan. Bianchi Café & Cycles features a showroom and workshop where cyclists and fans can marvel at the newest Bianchi models, sit down for some espresso and get their bikes fixed at the same time. To further satisfy your Bianchi obsession, there’s a full range of premium clothing and accessories on show. Bianchi Café & Cycles also offers bike fitting services to those who have just bought a new Bianchi or any other type of frame, from commuter to race styles.
Behind the modern glass store front you’ll find an impeccable white interior with designer couches and the brand’s famous Celeste teint in many stylish details. The Bianchi store has the full package for bike lovers with a refined taste in gear and food.
The Vigorelli velodrome sits between a CO-OP supermarket, a subway construction site and the former Alfa Romeo factory. It’s easy to miss. The dismal, cream-coloured walls give little away of the glorious place that Vigorelli occupies in the history Italian cycling. It was built by Vigorelli Cycles in 1935. Seven years later Allied bombs shook its foundations, but somehow the Velodrome survived these first raids. Just a few weeks later, on the afternoon of November 7th, 1942, Fausto Coppi set his hour record in the Vigorelli velodrome.
The Vigorelli hosted the UCI Track Cycling World Championships in 1939, 1951, 1955 and 1962. The epicentre of Italian cycling held its premier position throughout the Golden Age of cycling right up to the mid 80s. With the start of the 90s, the attention turned to the road and the famous track was practically abandoned. Only the local American football teams made use of its centre field.
The Vigorelli velodrome was facing destruction when the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities stepped in and called for a renovation. In 2015 and 2016 the Vigorelli’s 397-metre wooden track underwent extensive repairs. It re-opened at the end of 2016.
Today the legendary cycling facility hosts various sporting events, but keeps struggling to finance the maintenance of the track and its facilities. Luckily there’s a committee set on organising public events to allow for the Velodrome to be used by the cities citizens and cycling enthousiasts. Check their Facebook page if you are keen to join in.
One of the great things about Milan is that even if you are in the middle of the city, you only need to pedal 10km, and you are surrounded by rice fields, cycling on roads without traffic. For truly epic rides Milanese cyclists head to the north, and find hairpins and mountain vista’s galore. About an hours’ drive (by car) from the centre of Milan, on the shores of the Malgrate lake, you’ll find Rush Cycle Store.
It’s the perfect starting point for a beautiful panoramic ride on smooth lakeside roads, challenging gravel or MTB trails. Including dramatic ascents to the many peaks the region has to offer.
Rush Store is a friendly place, run by cyclists who are fully committed to provide visitors the information and means to have an excellent cycling experience. If you’re looking for a bike, you can buy or rent one here. Rush has an extensive fleet of Cannondale bikes for the visiting cyclist, including roadbikes, gravelbikes, MTB and even E-bikes. While you are waiting for your bike, or planning your ride, you can hang out in Rush’s lounge area with videos, books and magazines. Or enjoy a coffee and snack outside, while taking in the majestic surrounding views.