Occasionally as the owner of a bike store you get to go on a bit of a jolly that to everyone else in the World looks like you live the life as a high roller. As one of the UK's Cinelli Flagship stores I got offered the chance to attend the launch of the 2018 Cinelli model range, rather than taking place in an industrial estate on the edge of Milton Keynes this was happening in the glamorous location of Milan, Italy. Passport packed, cycling kit in the bag (just in case) and Sunday afternoon I was in the van and on my way to the airport.
This is the point where things look less glamorous. My 7am flight meant a late evening drive to Gatwick and sleeping rough in the back of the van, the joys of living in Plymouth. 4.30am I'm waiting for a car park pick up from hotel Transporter Van and onto an Easyjet flight, next stop Milan!
I'd packed my orange trousers and sunglasses, ready to mix it up with the fashionista in downtown Milan but it quickly became apparent that business in Italy is done in a very similar way to business in the UK. Cinelli is located on an industrial estate on the outskirts of Milan. I put the orange trousers back in the bag, put on shorts and got down to business.
The 2018 range of Cinelli bikes pretty much picks up where 2017 left off. A lot of what is current sticks around it's good to see that for the most part Cinelli ignores the tiresome model year format and instead just gets a couple of new models ready whilst people are still getting used to last year's. For me the 2018 biggest stories are:
Nemo TIG Disc
If you've seen the Nemo TIG in store then you have seen 90% of this new bike, however the addition of disc brakes not only bring it bang up to what's current but also I think improve the look. Campagnolo disc brakes are a beautiful thing.
The Vigorelli is a wild looking track bike designed for fixed gear criterium racing. The next logical step is to make the ultimate fixed gear criterium racing bike into a brilliant geared crit' racer. High bottom bracket, steep angles and now some gears make a low cost steel race bike that corners like it's on rails and can be pedalled through even the sharpest bends. Sounds like fun!
So a trip into Milan on Monday night and chance to crack out the orange trousers was also a great opportunity to meet some of the other dealers. Immediately it became obvious that there's a lot of love for Cinelli, it's literally got a family feel. Antonio Columbo has created two businesses that are respected globally and loved by both customers and the team at Cinelli. The Columbus tube factory is right next door to the Cinelli factory and the steel bikes are made and assembled right there in Milan. It was great to see and meet the people building the bikes in our store.
Tuesday morning was up at stupid o'clock and time for a quick pedal up to Ghissalo, a great climb made famous in the Tour of Lombardy with stunning views over Lake Como. No time to ride back down as we boarded a bus and back into the centre of Milan and a chance to visit Antonio Columbo's art gallery. For me this was great, I love contemporary art and this gallery has seen some of the best artists in this field over the past few years.
A delayed flight home gave me time to reflect on a lovely day away, these trips are always short and sweet but gave me a taste of somewhere I need to revisit - hopefully soon.