Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

A photo tour of Italian city bikes

Posted by on June 18th, 2006 at 10:45 pm

[Photo credits: Joel Maus]

My brother Joel just emailed me some fantastic photos from his recent trip to Italy. No, I’m not talking about boring old churches and fountains (yawn), I’m talking of course, about bikes.

Ever since I saw Breaking Away, and reveled in the style and panache of racing greats like Gianni Bugno and Marco Pantani (RIP), Italy has held a magical place in my bikey heart. I think Joel captures some of that magic with these photos.

I invite you to take a tour of Italian city bikes as seen through the eyes of Joel Maus.

All images taken by award-winning photojournalist Joel Maus. Check out more of his work on his website.

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  • Ethan June 19, 2006 at 7:12 am

    Beautiful Shots!

    I fully expected to see bikes everywhere in Italy on my first trip . . . and was surprised to see so few. My second trip (to the north) only reinforced the impression. A few cities I have visited had a good number . . . Florence for example . . . but in most Italian cities bikes were pretty sparse, at least by Portland standards. Scooters, on the other hand, are everywhere. I actually saw a scooter in a town with fouteen residents and no road access.

    Cobblestone streets, towns built on hills for defensive reasons, VERY narrow streets, VERY VERY fast auto drivers all make cycling a rather risky proposition in most places.

    Out on the backroads in Tuscany and Umbria you do see road bikers out on rides, but even their numbers are not very high. Maybe they were all hiding, maybe I went to the wrong cities and towns . . . but the Italian Bike Nirvana has eluded me. Vienna, now there’s a bike city . . .

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  • Cate June 19, 2006 at 7:41 am

    Beautiful photos, Jonathan. Interesting that all the bikes have fenders and chain guards.

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  • joel maus June 19, 2006 at 11:16 am

    Hey guys, thanks for the compliments and thanks Jonny for posting them- glad you like them.
    Ethan is right, I didn’t see many bikes either, but the bikes I saw were so cool. The scooter is definitely the popular mode of transportation, along with the sub-sub-compact car.
    I too only saw a few roadies out training in the country- I thought I would see way more cyclists as well.
    Some of the backroads we drove on would be heaven for a multiday cycling trip for sure.
    Thanks again-

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  • Ethan June 19, 2006 at 9:03 pm

    Joel, I’m guessing you traded up to a 50mm 1.4 judging by the depth of field on some of those . . . and you can rest easy at night knowing Jonathan is doing very good things with your trusty old 1.8. Nice presents!

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  • joel June 20, 2006 at 8:57 am

    Yes, Jon gets all my old gear…. maybe a D2x (lol) soon if he is good. The 1.4 is great for walking around at night- if I don’t take all my gear that’s the lens I take… and it is the cheapest lens I have!!
    Jon says you give him hand-me-downs too- in the form of tips and tricks. I am the same way, I love sharing info and talking photo… I actually started a blog about just that- I will let you know when it gets going…
    I hope to meet you this summer!

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