Saturday, April 3, 2010

Why ride your bike in Italy?

To someone who's never been to Italy, it's tough to explain/describe just how mainstream our passions are here. The photos are of pages in Italy's La Gazzetta dello Sport from yesterday. There's nothing like it in the US of course, think of a combination of the weekly Sports Illustrated magazine with a daily national newspaper like the New York Times to get an idea. The first photo shows a full-page ad for the upcoming Giro d'Italia. Now of course RCS, the parent company of La Gazzetta owns the race and probably gets the ad for nothing but think of the Tour of California running a full page ad for their race in the San Francisco Examiner!

The next photo is the daily cycling page. We'll admit one must page through a LOT of soccer news to get here but if anything is happening (and we mean anything) in the world of cycling, it's on this page.

Another photo shows a page about the thousands of folks in the Netherlands and how they're getting excited about having the Giro start there -- and using the whole idea to further promote cycling.

After the soccer news, there's the motor sport pages, here is one about the upcoming F1 race, but they show Fernando Alonso riding his Ferrari MTB around the circuit.

The next photo is a half-page ad for cycling in the Appennines, a book and DVD. That would be like running ads for cycling in Santa Barbara or the wine-country of Northern California in a big-time, mainstream newspaper.

But it's not ALL cycling, there's the wine of course! So here's an ad for a wine lesson program to help you know a Sangiovese from a Nebbiolo. All this in the daily SPORTS paper.
In the end, we try to explain to potential clients that cycling here is sort of like baseball in the US -- THE summer sport. But not only to watch on TV, but just like Little League baseball, if a kid shows interest in cycling there's a local team with coaches and equipment eager to help him or her start racing and almost every weekend there's a Grand Fondo event with thousands of eager particpants cycling anywhere from 60 to 200 kms on roads closed to traffic. You're can strike up a conversation in a bar about cycling just like you can in the US by saying "what about those Mets?" but in this case the guy making your caffe might have taken on Mario Cipollini back when they were junior racers.
Italy truly is "heaven on earth" for cyclists and cycling enthusiasts. But don't just take our word for it, come over and let us show you!

1 comment:

  1. hey Larry, Thanks for clearing up that whole "Gazzetto dello Sport" thing for me. I could never understand an entire newspaper dedicated to sports......and what's with the pink newsprint??Boh!