"When I see an adult on a bicycle," wrote H.G. Wells, "I no longer despair for the human race." If you're in Milan from 9 to 14 April 2013, keep your eyes on the bikes weaving in and out of the gridlocked traffic on their way to the design events accompanying the Furniture Show. There's a chance you'll be able to glimpse tomorrow's world, a green world in which transport is personal, comfortable and 2-wheeled.
First and foremost, the Cykno, a new electric bicycle that combines a vintage appearance with high technology, a pack of batteries that make life easier, and efficient disc brakes. It has a metal frame, loads of leather upholstery and glittering chrome, with an amazing cantilevered saddle that makes you look like you are floating in mid-air. During the show, Cykno bicycles will be circulating in the Fuorisalone (après-show) areas of Via Tortona, Brera, Via Ventura/Lambrate, and Porta Venezia. Possibly pedalled by a man in a kilt or an exuberant lady in a long dress. More information on this bicycle, launched for its premier presentation at the Salone del Mobile, will be available from the website www.cykno.com. Price on request.
You'll also be able to see what has become a design classic, Ciclotte, an exercise bicycle that looks so cool that you'll just long to start pedalling on it. Its large wheel recalls late 19th-century penny farthing bicycles, but it is absolutely contemporary, made in carbon fibre, steel, glass fibre, with a state-of-the-art touch screen display, and the ironically-curving handles. There are many versions, including an animalier variant by Roberto Cavalli. Another version, by Tonino Lamborghini, will be visible at the Formitalia stand at the Salone, FieraMilano (Rho Fiera showground); a new model with a redesigned pedal system can be seen at Superstudio 13, Via Forcella 13, Milan.
Wouldn't it be wonderful to have a cycle like that? In fact it exists, because Ciclotte, by designer Luca Schieppati, was based on a preceding design called Ciclò, a prototype bicycle that is now part of the Triennale Design Museum collection. You can find more information on the Ciclotte at www.ciclotte.com
Fashion designers have not wasted time in creating personalized two-wheelers. Gucci have branded a super touring bike manufactured in cooperation with historic brand Bianchi. The Gucci/Bianchi comes in two versions, an urban/off road model with a carbon-fibre frame, in matt black finish, and a single-speed city bike in white with smart leather saddle. (In the photo below, the Gucci city bike).
Trussardi launched their folding touring bike in 2010. Dolce & Gabbana created a limited-edition bicycle with leopard-print and 24-carat gilded finish. Fendi worked on a bike with loads of leather, a cooperation with specialist manufacturer Abici.
Whatever your choice, remember: cyclists unite! You have nothing to lose but your chains.
In the photo above: the Trussardi bicycle.