Made by Van Dessel
There are bicycles – and then there are Italian bicycles. Even people who know very little about bicycles might still be aware of the passion, heritage and craftsmanship that the Italians have brought to road racing bicycles. This passion is especially evident during the mid-to-late 20th century, when many of the bicycle industry's innovations and creative ideas came from Italy, fueled by the country’s post-WW II period of unparalleled economic and industrial growth.
The Italian bicycle industry was driven to technical perfection by the demands of its racing champions, which led to the development of materials and gearing. Italian frame builders began to create steel bicycles that were lighter and with better handling characteristics than those of the previous era. By refining the angles of the frame tubes, these Italian craftsmen were able to build bicycles that cornered better and handled with more stability, while still maintaining a lively road-feel. All these refinements gave a performance advantage to the rider. The bicycles themselves also had better finishes and more effort was made in the brazing and filing to make these frames as beautiful to look at as to ride.
The Italian bicycles in this exhibit, from the “Golden Age” of the Italian bicycle industry, are examples of why Italy held its position as the number-one producer of high-end racing bicycles – supplying from the elite professional athlete all the way down to the amateur enthusiast. In selecting the bicycles for this exhibit, the curator considered not just the object’s individual aesthetic merit, but also the story of the Italians who were behind that bicycle’s creation. The backgrounds of these people are as bright and rich in Italian tradition as the vivid colors of the objects themselves.
The Museum located at the corner of Mulberry and Grand Streets, is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from noon to 6 PM.
The Exhibit is organized by Guest Curator, Michael Haddad and will be on display at the Italian American Museum through Sunday, July 2.
This exhibit was made possible by a generous contribution from Colavita