Biking in Milano

Milan’s Amazelab is celebrating bike riding at the FuoriSalone 2013 this week

There is nothing like roaming the streets of a city to really get the feel of the place. Walking, of course, is one option. But on the metropolitan scale, cycling is the way to go. With that and cycling’s green benefits in mind, Milan’s Amazelab is celebrating bike riding at the FuoriSalone 2013 this week. For over 10 years now this non- profit cultural lab, through its Green Island events during Milan Design Week, has been making strong statements on the environment, from basic sustainability to the relevance of the actual presence of green in that city. For this year’s edition they are highlighting the importance of eco-friendly mobility. Claudia Zanfi, the director and curator of the event, has organized “GREEN BIKE: The Dutch Way.” She teamed up with the Embassy and Consulate General of the Netherlands to inspire a more environmentally sound way of getting around cities. The Dutch being models of the urban bike commute and of excellence in design, are an appropriate partner. The main venues for the event are three state-of-the-art bike shops, scattered through different parts of Milan: Equilibrio Urbano (in the Isola neighborhood), Rossignoli (at Corso Garibaldi), and Olmo La Biciclissima (Piazza Vetra, Zona Navigli). In addition to the latest on cutting edge cycling design, bicycle-culture-inspired objects are on display as well. "Searching for efficiency and speed, bicycle design has become an important design item, as iconic as chair design has been," says Andrea Locci, art director and founder of the chair-cataloging project,  "PLEASE, HAVE A SEAT." Indeed, experimenting with the two-wheel design has become quite popular. From Phillipe Stark to Marc Newson, every designer wants a go at it.

Light-weight bike at Equilibrio Urbano bike shop

1-Jan Gunneweg wood bicycle at Olmo la Biciclissima bike shop

Jan Gunneweg wood bicycle at Olmo La Biciclissima bike shop.  Photo courtesy Amazelab

The mostly flat Milan’s streets offer ideal conditions for biking as a major way of getting around the city and help reduce its critical carbon footprint. But for biking to happen at more significant levels, the city would also have to be more prepared. “Unfortunately we still don’t have enough bike lanes and parking spots, ”Locci tells me. To draw attention to this agenda is one of the goals of GreenBike.

2-Flat wide vias, like Via Vitor Pisani, ideal for biking.
Flat, wide vias, like Via Vitor Pisani, ideal for biking

3-Bike sharing rack in Milan
Bike sharing rack in Milan

Beyond low environmental impact and cool design, GreenBike is also promoting awareness of the fact that biking allows users to interact with, and discover the city. With this in mind, bike tours are offered to encourage residents and visitors alike to explore and learn more about off the beaten path treasures in Milan.

5-Courtyard by Corso Como

Courtyard by Corso Como

6-Fountain by Milan's Central Station

Fountain by Milan's Central Station

7-Hidden passage, Milan
Hidden Passage, Milan

8-Giuseeppe Terragni building in Isola neighborhood
Giuseppe Terragni building in Isola neighborhood

The tours (with the Rossignolli shop as starting point) are organized by Citta Nascota Milano and Inner Design with art historians and designers serving as guides, leading the way to their favorite, lesser known spots in the city. A proud Milanese, Locci says,  "Head in the clouds, feet on the pedals – that’s the  best way to move and get inspired around Milan!” 

Photographs by Paul Clemence.

Paul Clemence is an award-winning photographer whose work is part of many collections, including the Mies van der Rohe Archives and housed by MoMA, New York.  He exhibits both in the U.S. and on the international fine art circuit, from classic B & W prints to large scale photo installations. A published author, his work can also be seen in major design and lifestyle publications. His “Architecture Photography” Facebook page receives over half a million hits monthly.

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