Milanese pro-cycling journalist Alberto Celani answers why his countrymen and women love cycling and Cadel Evans, and offers a word of caution about cycle safety
Why do the Milanese love cycling?
Because in Milan fuel costs 2 euros/litre and 1 litre of good wine can cost the same.
Because cycling helped Milan get rid of Nazism; during WWII, many people rode their bikes to share information and food.
Because it’s part of our tradition: my grandpas only had their bikes to move around on and now we have one car-per-person.
Because Milan it’s flat and doesn’t rain as often in London.
Because Milan has been raised on bikes, by bike-users going to work in the big industries of the city from the small towns on the outskirts.
Because Milan is the city of Expo 2015 where “Feed the planet” is the main theme. How can we feed the planet if we keep on “eating” the air with our polluting cars?
Because you Aussies have huge roads and cities that are really far from each other while we have packed cities with smaller roads, which in many cases date to the era BC. The roads were used to defend against invaders, but now people invade the cities with their cars.
What is there not to like about cycling?
Because if you have a sexy bike, it can be stolen and resold in one of the huge second-hand markets on Sunday morning; and even if you don’t have a sexy bike, it can be stolen and resold in one of the huge second-hand markets on Sunday morning.
What is the Italian approach to cycle safety?
Safety is the biggest issue for cyclists, and it as always sad to read about crashes in our newspapers, especially when riders die.
Carly Hibberd was a 25-years old pro rider from Australia who died in a crash when training not far from Milan where she was living (for info on safe cycling initiatives, check out Amy Gillett Foundation online or on Twitter).
In Italy bike helmets are not compulsory, and neither is insurance. Even if you ride your bike without lights or a high-visibility jacket, the chance of getting fined is really low. This makes cyclists a danger to themselves and to drivers.
And lastly, any words on Cadel Evans?
You Aussie guys are fast on your bikes: Cadel Evans is a legend here in Europe, I hope you honour him every day you go out for training or even when just commuting. In the last two years two mighty Aussies have also won the Spring Classic Milan-San Remo race from the city to the sea: Matt Goss and Simon Gerrans from GreenEDGE.