Italian manufacturer Abici just launched their Velocino, a charming re-design of a bike first commissioned by Mussolini that is the perfect size to carry around with you. The tiny bikes made a comeback thanks to three bicycle entrepreneurs from Italy’s Alpine region of Lombardy. Abici’s first test models were inspired by classic pieces from the 30s, 40s and 50s that they found at old bike shops and nearby scrap yards — that is, until they fortunately stumbled across an old Velocino bicycle.
When they launched Abici, Cristiano, Stefano and Giuseppe were inspired to create Italian-made bikes that showcase the country’s excellence in design and manufacturing. When they found an old Velocino cycle and researched the bike’s history, they were surprised to find that it was originally commissioned by Benito Mussolini around the early 40s. He wanted to offer Italians a compact, light and handy vehicle that people could store at home — or anywhere else it might take them. Although this model seems like a very convenient option for city cycling and carrying on public transportation, it never took off in the old days. The project was cancelled around the time that Italy decided to join World War II, and the mechanic was so devastated by the amount of energy and money spent on its development that he decided to take his own life.
Touched by this sad story, Abici decided to give Velocino a second chance – as a homage to the mechanic’s design they have re-launched a bike that is based on the classic model. After a year of testing and a few presentations around various design fairs, the bike is now ready to be sold.
Photos: ©Velocino, Abici