Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Bonvicini Bicycle History?

This is my 1948? M. Bonvicini bicycle, which has been a bit of a puzzle to me. I am aware of two Bonvicinis, this one and a 1950s bicycle which, from photos, appears to have been either restored or is unridden. The puzzle has been, how would a marque that is this obscure have a Bonvicini labeled crank, a "B" on the stem bolt, a brass Bonvicini headbadge and even a Bonvicini labeled seat tube clamp? Even more puzzling is that the workmanship is really quite fine, the work of a master, not that of a first-time builder.
Today I may have stumbled onto part of the answer - or put two and two together (and got five?). The newer bicycle has been attributed to Luigi Ganna, a former racer who retired to became a bicycle builder.
"Luigi Ganna was born in Induno Olana, Italy, on December 1, 1883. He died at the age of 73 years on October 2, 1957.
Ganna was an Italian professional road racing cyclist and the legendary highlight of his cycling career was his overall win in the first Giro d'Italia which was held in 1909. The 1909 Giro was a gruelling cycle race of 2448 kilometres where only 49 of the 127 competitors managed to complete the course.
In his younger days Ganna worked as a brick layer many miles from where he lived and he rode his bicycle to and from work each day. The roads were rough and this daily exercise enabled him to become a very strong and talented rider.
His enjoyment of cycling led him to entering local cycling competitions where he regularly won. After convincing wins he realized that the skills he had gained on his daily rides to work were worthy of him becoming a professional cyclist." 
Marino (Mario) Bonvicini was a bicycle racer, who in 1927 rode for a Ganna sponsored team - and later headed a company that manufactured Bonvicini and BM (Bonvicini Marino) motorcycles. In 1948 Luigi Ganna would have been 61. Now the leap; maybe Ganna received a motorcycle in trade for building a bicycle? Or maybe he just built a bicycle for his old friend Mario to ride around Bologna. Or maybe Mario DID build it. But I would bet against that.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Gunnar, I was on the verge of moving your blog from the Bikes folder to the Birds folder, when you threw this change-up! Either way, I always enjoy your posts.
Lee on Whidbey