Easy riders, easy does it, Milanese style

One of my greatest joys in adult life is doing what I did as a ten year old—ride a bike. And I do it every day. It’s the preferred mode of transportation around here, as far as I can see. Traffic is dense, parking is virtually impossible. Ergo: Drive a car? Why?

Additionally, the scale and topography of Milan are perfect for getting around on two wheels. And then there are the aesthetics of the vehicles themselves. I’m not knocking the bikes you get at the large sporting centers. I’ve had my share of transportation made in China. But there’s something deeply appealing about a velocipede that didn’t roll off the assembly line, one that adheres to a certain design sensibility, one that fits you like a well-tailored Milanese suit. Milan has its share of boutique bicycle manufacturers; in our household, we are enjoying the wares of two of them: Doniselli and Detto Pietro. It’s not my desire to crow about brands in this weblog, but these people deserve the credit they are due for their art as well as their craft.

While both makers churn out a full line of all types of biciclette, we tend to chose the “easy rider” varieties, the Dutch versions. And Doniselli does this bike beautifully. Ageless, gracefully proportioned. Just a perfect bike for cruising around town, in pants or skirts, heels or ballerina flats. Functional, fashionable. Flawless.

This Detto Pietro is a jazzier take on the same aesthetic, with fatter tubing and tires, luxurious leather and chrome appointments, and a front mounted basket rack. This bike “sits” like a Harley or an easy chair. No slumping forward over your handlebars. No dull ache between the shoulder blades. No stress. No bother. And equipped with a Shimano internal gear-shift, almost no sweat. Fashion accessory? Undoubtedly.

If you’re visiting Milan and lugging a bike back in the luggage wrack isn’t on your agenda, the Comune di Milano “rents” bikes for free. They are located around the city, near the major tourist destinations and train stations. If you see a row of light orange-yellow bikes, you’ve spotted them. Take one, and go!

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3 Responses to Easy riders, easy does it, Milanese style

  1. anna says:

    Wow… I would LOVE to have one of these in Portland! I hate the fact that you can’t really find a “girl’s” bike here any more. Everyone wants a mountain bike or a racer. These are beautiful and they look really comfy. -A

    • Yeah, it’s so funny…about biking in the US. I thought maybe it had changed. I remember getting a “mountain bike” in Portland (that one I left with you, as a matter of fact!) and of course I couldn’t just bike to work in normal clothes. I had to buy some Nike get up to make me look sportier. So funny…Here you bike in whatever you have one. Fortunately, bikes are on the increase in Italy…it was on the news yesterday…

  2. Catfish says:

    It reminds me of Amsterdam, where pretty much everyone rides a one speed. They are everywhere, cheap, easily maintained, and an efficient way to manage crowded spaces. I have seen two women on a bike, one pedaling and the other sitting sidesaddle behind her, not a care in the world. It seems so simple and so elegant. I wish American cities were built for people, not cars. Everywhere you go in Texas you need to climb into a truck and burn a gallon of fuel an hour just to keep the air conditioning going. Believe me, a car in Texas without a working air conditioner is absolutely worthless.

    That said, Charlotte you have created a really beautiful blog here based only on simple, nuanced experiences. Only you could pull this off.

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