Welcome to Ciclosfuso

Combining two of Italy’s national treasures, bicycles and wine, Ciclosfuso might be the world’s first bicycle wine bar.

Text: Silje Strømmen
Photos: Mari Oshaug

With bicycle bars and cafés popping up at every corner, is was only time before a bicycle wine bar would create an Instagram profile and invite thirsty cyclists in. We are in Milan, after all. Not to mention in Italy, where cycling and wine is the cultural backbone.

“We may be the first one in the world to combine wine and bikes”, Matteo Riva one of two founders of Ciclosfuso says while pouring a small glass of crystal clear white wine. It is Thursday morning at Ciclosfuso, a combined wine bar and cycling shop in the heart on Milan. Naturally a wine tasting is mandatory during interviews. Here you can taste wine sourced from small Italian wineries, and get your biked fixed at the same time. Or walk away with a new one. Looking at their own range of “Ciclosfuso bikes”, consisting of a range of city, mountain and custom bikes, it is hard not to.

“We searched for a similar place, but we didn’t find any. Sure there are bike cafes and bars, but no one specializes in wine and bike”.

The original idea of combining wine and bicycles (aka what Ciclosfuso is all about) comes from Matteo’s partner, Gianluca Casella. The two of them met in 2013 on holiday in Greece, and in between the bottles of wine they talked about changing their life: to do something different than what they both had been doing for the past 40 years. Two years later they met again and decided to bring the project to life. They travelled around Europe, to Germany, France and the Netherlands –trying to see what was hip in the world of bicycles these days. After that, they travelled by bike around in Milano in search of the perfect place.

The “perfect place” turned out to a yellow building in the narrow alley of Via Sartirana. With high ceiling and a beautiful backyard it is easy to understand why they fell in love with it. At the day of our visit the “Thursday Bikers Group” is occupying the backyard, eating salami and cheese and having a glass of wine to celebrate the end of their weekly cycling trip. The group perfectly defines what kind of place Ciclosfuso is: a place for good conversations and good wine. And bikes, naturally.

“The reason why we thought this project would be worth pursuing was the increasing interest in Milano for wine and cycling. These days’ people are increasingly concerned about what they are drinking. There is a growing culture around sourcing out good wine and following particular wines and wineries”.

At Ciclosfuso growing that interest is easy. Matteo and Gianluca buy wine in large bulks directly from a carefully selected range of small wineries. The wine that is not already bottled is stored in special tanks displayed in the shop. While they do sell pre-bottled wine as well, costumers can bring their own bottles and get it filled up. That way you pay for the wine only, not for the packaging.

“While the rules for cycling and alcohol in Milan are not really clear, the general understating is that if you are drunk, you should not cycle. Therefore we say that you can come to Ciclosfuso by bike, drink some wine and then leave your bike till the next day. You can even get it fixed in the meantime!”