When we came up with a name for the club it was thought that G.S. Avanti gave the club a continental sporty image, no one had thought that there might be any historic cycling connection in the name.But! as a bit of a collector of irrelevant facts I am always looking for new bits of trivia, and low and behold whilst reading John Foot's "Pedalare Pedalare" a history of Italian Cycling, there its was Avanti.
During the early days of cycling in Italy the cyclist became involved in the struggle between the socialist, the right wing and the church. AVANTI, became closely connected with the 'Red Cycling' movement its aim was to provided cheap bikes for the working masses. The AVANTI bike was produced along with the pneumatico Carlo Marx (Karl Marx tyre) for 'comrades and cyclists'. Every bike was sold with a red cycling shirt, so that the workers could spread the message.This conection between the early socialist and cycling was following the same route as the English Clarion Cycling Clubs with their aim of spreading the word by riding on mass to remote villages and spreading the socialist word.
Cycling had the same split that it did in England with sports cycling seen as a middle class distraction and the bicycle should be used as a means of propagandor.In 1912 another socialist condemned 'young people' for reading La Gazzetta dello Sport as opposed to Avanti ( the socialist daily newspaper )and 'only concerned with making love or racing their bikes'. Despite all this socialist idealism cycle racing soon became the sport of the people in Italy.
The bike became seen as a dangerous and subversive,the church became so concerned that priest were band from cycling and had to fight for the right to ride a bike. Cesare Lombroso said that ' the quickest vehicle on the road to criminality,because the passion for pedalling leads people to steal,to fraud, to swindle'.
The Avanti has already had a big influance on continental cycling?
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