Seeking out the Style, Craftsmanship, Tastes & Experience of a Good Life

Seeking out the Style, Craftsmanship, Tastes & Experience of a Good Life

Museo Storico della Bicicletta Hebbonair Magazine

Museo Storico della Bicicletta

The Bicycle Museum of Cesiomaggiore, Italy

Museo Storico della Bicicletta is a glorious collection of bicycles celebrating the ingenuity, history and pure joy of cycling.

Words and images by Sam Clark

The young children at the Cesiomaggiore primary school enjoy an education that has, what must be, a unique connection to cycling. Their school, in the north of Italy, is home to the wonderful museum: Museo Storico della Bicicletta, Toni Bevilaqua. Tucked under the rafters of the roof above their school building is a treasure trove of bicycle engineering and design.

Historical Bicycle Museum of Cesiomaggiore
Bartali bike (orange)1950 used by the Bartali pro racing team
A Bartali bike used by the Bartali pro racing team, 1950

Amore per la Bicicletta, Love for Cycling

Museo Storico della Bicicletta founder, Sergio Sanvido enjoyed a brief career racing bikes in the late 1940s, but didn’t gain the results he dreamed of so focused his attention from the podium to the machine. His bike shop quickly became a highly respected workshop and loyal customers travelled from the local Triveneto area of northern Italy and surrounding countries, Austria, Switzerland and Slovenia. His shop, Cicil Sanvido, opened in 1946 and still serves customers from the premises in Cesiomaggiore.

Sergio Sanvido Museo Storico della Bicicletta
Museum founder, Sergio Sanvido.
Sergio Sanvido in his workshop
Sergio Sanvido in his workshop. He was twice awarded a master craftsman by BICI SPORT magazine.

When does your garage full of bikes become a museum?

Sergio’s love of bicycles filled his life and overflowed from his garage. While working in his shop he amassed an extraordinary collection of two-wheeled history from all over the world. In the 1970’s his first museum was opened on the ground floor of his house. Sergio donated his collection to the Municipality of Cesiomaggiore in 2007 and the museum was moved down the road to the top floor of the town’s primary school.

bike brake design
Wonderfully engineered breaks, but questionable stopping power.
Vintage Military Bikes
A chain built like tank tracks, Left.
Right Q. What essentials did military officers in the 1950s carry before multitools were invented?
A. A trumpet and a sword!

The Cycle of Life

Around 170 bicycles are on display charting the development from two-wheeled wooden contraptions from the late eighteenth century to sleek designs, beautifully engineered for pure speed. 

Sergio was particularly interested in the versatility of bicycle design and collected examples of working bikes. Adaptions on display include Italian essentials like a coffee roasting and an ice cream-making bike. There is also a section dedicated to children’s bicycles and tricycles. 

vintage Campagnolo rear derailleur
An epic sized chainring on a 1978 track bike which belonged to the Dutch cyclist, Nico Been, Left. Right, A Campagnolo derailleur hanging on a 1987 time trial Battaglin donated by Renato Giusti, an Italian cyclist who won stages 12 and 18 of the 1961 Giro d’Italia. (Also shown in title image)
Vintage Colnago Timetrial bike
1 of 8 Colnago Ferrari prototype bicycles build for road time trial races. This one belonged to Luca Colombo, an cyclist who won the silver medal in the team time trial at the 1992 Summer Olympics in Barcelona. The bikes were specially created by Colnago in collaboration with Ferrari and tested in their wind tunnel at Maranello.

The Evolution of Function

Moving through the rooms you can see the ingenious development of bicycle engineering. There are bikes grouped to show advances in gearing and breaks. We were told a couple of German visitors spent a couple of days meticulously studying just two bikes. Before leaving they offered a substantial amount in exchange for a derailour and a light. The offer was turned down by the museum. 

limited edition Campagnolo Super Record group
A stunning racing Colnago, 1985. The frame has aluminum alloy welding points and carbon fiber tubes. It’s pimped up with a super bling, gold, limited edition Campagnolo Super Record groupset produced to celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the Vicenza company.

Pirate Treasure

For me, the diamond in this hoard of oily treasure is a bike ridden by the infamous Italian racer, Marco Pantarni. Sergio travelled to Pantarni’s home town, Cesena, to find his mother, Tonina Pantani. He explained the story of his museum and she was so impressed she donated a Yellow Juresys worn by Pantarni. Sergio later acquired an actual bike ridden by, arguably, the sport’s greatest climbers. It’s hard to begin to imagine the sweat and pain (and possibly other substances) that have been forced through the pedals to propel this bike up and over historic mountain stages.

marco pantarni bike
A cheeky touch of greatness. The bike Marco Pantani rode to victory on the Alpe d’Huez and Morzine stages of the 1997 Tour de France. This was the tour Pantani first donned his infamous bandana and began the legend of the ‘Pirate’. The bike is a Wilier light alloy frame with nine-speed Shimano Dura-Ace group, Left. Right, One of Marco’s Yellow Jerseys from the Tour de France.

Museo Storico della Bicicletta, Toni Bevilaqua

Museo Storico della Bicicletta is named in honour of Toni Bevilaqua, a local cycling legend who was the world champion on track and in the individual pursuit in 1950 and 1951. Affectionately known as Labròn, for his characteristic protruding lip, Toni was born in Santa Maria di Sala, just inland from Venice, 22 October 1918. He was a professional cyclist from 1940 to 1955 and achieved around thirty victories. Among his many successes on the bike was the 1951 Paris-Roubaix and eleven stages of the Giro d’Italia, won in consecutive years from 1946 to 1952. Toni sadly died on March 29, 1972, at just 53 years old following a tragically trivial accident during a training session in Martellago. A plaque commemorates his life by the roadside.

Museo Storico della Bicicletta Toni Bevilacqua
Museo Storico della Bicicletta Toni Bevilacqua
La Comenica del Corriere covers
Spectacular covers of the “Domenica del Corriere” designed by Achille Beltrame between 1900 and 1945, part of the collection hanging on the walls of Museo Storico della Bicicletta

Where to stop on your Giro

Museo Storico della Bicicletta is about an hour and a half drive north of Venice in the foothills of the mountains that have been the setting for many historic cycling battles. Sanvido had a seemingly unstoppable energy. Alongside his sporting and charitable work, he cared for the local political and social life. He was the deputy mayor of Cesiomaggiore and a municipal councillor. But cycling was never far from his heart and he persuaded the council to give all the streets and squares in Cesiomaggiore a second name after cycling heroes and revered manufacturers. As you ride around stop for a coffee in the main square, Contrada Bottecchia, then take a Giro of Cesiomaggiore along Via Coppi, Anquetil, Bartali, Olmo, Casartelli, Bevilacqua, Bobet…

For opening times and more information about Museo Storico della Bicicletta, Toni Bevilaqua check out their website here.

What should you wear when you take your bike for a coffee? Here is our chic test of Café du Cycliste with founder, Rémi Clermont.

Cafe du Cycliste Heidi jacket
Cafe du Cycliste Heidi jacket


Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on linkedin
dijon france

Dijon, France

Dijon, France. A cut above the hospitality, the culinary delights, the outstanding wine and, of course, the mustard.

debonair: adjective: confident, stylish, & charming

Typically used as a male trait.

Hebbonair seeks out these qualities for everyone.

Join us here :

Say hello here :

All Rights Reserved © 2021