CINELLI QUADERNI: GRAVEL BIKES 2023
Meet Marco, 37 years old, graphic designer, founder – with childhood friends Fausto Giliberti and Guido Daminelli – of Studio Temp, the cult design agency nestled in the hills of Bergamo most famous for its extraordinary creative collaboration with Virgil Abloh, who between 2014 and his untimely passing in 2021 entrusted the studio with perhaps his most important, visually radical graphic projects.
Marco started cycling late, in 2017.
But quickly entered deep into the smallest manias and passions the sport offers, from the obsessive fine-tuning of equipment and position, to the ins-and-outs of racing (in particular cyclocross), to organizing local group rides for the Milan creative scene, to articulating his aesthetic vision through his micro cycling clothing project and team Velo Temp, kit of choice for subversive Milanese performance cycling fiends…
We met up with Marco outside his flat on a typically cold and humid Milanese December morning long before the sun would rise to ride along on his favourite local gravel heavy route.
“This is the ride I usually do in the summer to ride up to the studio in Bergamo or back as a kind of hardcore commuter training ride.”
He told us, over a first coffee.
“It’s not the fastest way up to Bergamo but I like riding it because it follows more or less the same course as the character Renzo in Alessandro Manzoni’s legendary 1827 novel, when he escapes from Milan after being accused of being an agitator, and makes his way up to Bergamo. So I’m very attached to this ride… also because of sites you pass on it. For example the hydraulic wheel designed by Leonardo Da Vinci at Groppello or the “canyon” that inspired Leonardo’s The Virgin of the Rocks painting… In summer when the days are longer I even stop and swim in the canal and it’s the perfect ride home from the studio.”
In Cassano d’Adda, 25km out of Milan, the sky a bleak and steaming pink hue, we meet up with Marco’s racing buddy and dynamite legs Alessio. Another quick coffee and from there long the canal up to Trezzo mixing dirt roads with cycling paths and some single trail, taking in the extraordinary sights as the mist begins to lift and the tries to force its way through… and from there to Bergamo and to the office…
“When I start a new graphic project,” Marco says, explaining the relationship between cycling and his creative process, “I begin with an image in my head; a cartoon I watched as a child, an image in a book bought some time ago.
From there I try to amplify my feelings through research and tests.
I continue to reflect while riding, in fact I started riding my bike because I needed time alone to think, to get away from the pollution of the city and to be in nature.”
“Above all,” he concludes “I like working with limits, limits of technology or medium, circling around them, making so that the limit itself generates the beauty of the final result.”
Marco rides the 2023 Cinelli Nemo Gravel Copper
Alessio rides the 2023 Cinelli King Zydeco Gumbo