Milan was a great rest stop after a bonkers trip through the French Alps, and I had three days off the bike as once again there were things to fix. The bearings had worn down and the cassette had a noticeable wobble, and internally it was squealing so badly I had music turned up loud and was just hoping to get to the city before seizure or total failure. 🤣
I set my route for the very nearest bike shop in the south west, and he no parla inglesi, but he did phone a mate and send me a few blocks down the road. Baco Bici took the bike and said they’d order things in, asked how long I was in town, laughed when I said “I’m only here for the bearings.”
I’m not going to write a city guide, but Milan is great. Lots of bike shops and bike cafes, nobody cared the only Italian I know is cappuccino per favore, and there was a lot of good food and drink.
When the bearings were installed I picked it up, and went off to find all the things that had been shipped to my ClevverMail mailbox:
- 2x WTB Exposure 32c Tubeless Tyres
- Pedros Chain Pig II
- cinq The Plug5 Plus Dynamo USB (comically no dynamo wheel yet due to holdups)
- A replacement credit card after I lost them all back in May 🤦🏻♂️
I’d been wanting to sort out my tyres for a while so getting these through was awesome. Larger volume means they wont heavy-burp quite so easily, and their almost file-tread profile means I should not struggle quite so with offroad turning.
The chain pig will help me get the shit out of my chain, because riding a gross chain sucks and my previous half-assed cleaning attempts with old rags were making it look clean but leaving plenty of gumph inside the chain - the bit that matters.
The dynamo situation is a pain in the butt, I was hoping to have found somebody to build me up a wheelset and get it delivered to Milan, but I got there ahead of schedule and didn’t find somebody in time. Still, having half of the solution is a good step, even if it is pointless weight for now.
Rossignoli Bicycles Milan = Best Bike Shop in Milan
Some of the bike shops were tiny neighborhood things which are great for their audience, but I needed somebody who could set up some tubeless tyres and not bodge it up. Been there.
Riding around to a few places with my bag of goodies, I stopped at the Bianchi bike shop and it was full of suits eating three course meals. I searched around for the bike shop part and it seemed like there was just a few cycling hats and water bottles, and nothing else… confused I ran away, and tried a few more, but eventually settled on Rossignoli Bicycles.
There are a few reasons I love this bike shop, but the first was the Cinelli Zydeco in the window.
I am really sorry for the terrible photo here, but it was really sunny and nothing I could do to take a better one.
It’s incredibly rare to find good backpacking or touring stuff in bike shops, at least in my experience, but this bike shop had everything, with friendly, knowledgeable staff.
They had a lot of questions and jokes about my trip, and got the tyres set up pretty quick for a busy bike shop. I took it in at 6:30pm, they closed at 7:30pm, they had things ready by about 1pm the next day.
When I walked in at 11am hoping things would be done, there was a mechanic covered in sealant, still working away on the first wheel, swearing a whole lot about “tubalessi”, but he eventually got it all sorted out.
There’s a great coffee shop next door called the Moleskin Cafe. They have a whole upstairs laptop friendly area and don’t care how long you’re there or whats going on, the coffee is great, loads of food: perfect.
The final reason I love them, is that they did a tool swap with me. I’m always trying to get rid of weight, and seeing as this trip was unplanned there are a lot of silly things going on in my bag. The only lock ring remover I had was a home mechanic style full-handle bastard, and it was adding a lot of pointless weight to my toolkit. He did a straight swap for the little fella that needs a wrench, which I already have.
Bartering tools at bike shops is a new thing I’m going to try more. I saved €10 and 1lb!
Riding back from the bike shop I spotted the coolest thing in Milan, “Vertical Woods”.
More people plant trees all over your buildings please.
That’s it, Switzerland next!