As Italy prepares to be the setting for some of the next Tour de France stages, the demand for bicycles is increasing not only among cycling fans but also among those looking for a green alternative to the car. This is the right time for promotional companies to launch or renew their offer of customisable cycling gadgets
(Photo Credits: official Tour de France website)
The event was made official at the end of October: the next edition of the Tour de France 2024 will start in Florence on the centennial anniversary of Ottavio Bottecchia's victory. Bottecchia was the first Italian to conquer the "Grande Boucle" podium in 1924. This is the first time Italy has been designated to host the first three stages (Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Piedmont) of the famous French cycling competition, scheduled from 29 June to 21 July. This is an outstanding international showcase not only for the world of cycling, which boasts a following of millions of fans worldwide but also for the tourism and merchandising sectors related to the sporting event.
For promotional companies, this is an exceptional opportunity to launch, re-launch or renew the proposal of customisable gadgets dedicated to the cycling world and the numerous fans who will be present at the Italian stages of the tour. Various items - from technical clothing to sunglasses, backpacks to water bottles, caps to saddle covers - have long since claimed a prominent place in the catalogues of leading players, thanks in part to the growing interest in green mobility. Data from Ancma, the Association of Bicycle Professionals, show that after the two-year boom in bicycle sales during the pandemic, Italians are still buying lots of bicycles, particularly pedal-assisted bikes (e-city and e-mtb in particular), with sales in 2022 up 14% from the previous year and 72% from 2019.
Particular items that deserve special mention and can be customised for biking are bags, which can be easily attached to the frame thanks to Velcro fasteners and used to carry the essentials for the ride - and something extra - without disturbing the pedalling. Like the triangular and aerodynamic bags from Benjamins made of waterproof nylon to protect the contents from all weather conditions. Or the “Bike race” backpack by Inspirion, which can be customised with transfer and transfer-reflective printing, perfect to meet the needs of urban commuters. The backpack also has a padded compartment to carry a laptop or other office devices.
For an unexpected quick repair Pf Concept offers a multi-tool made of beech wood (from responsibly managed forests) and stainless steel that has 8 functions, including an Allen key and screwdriver, which can be customised with laser engraving. In case of bad weather, on the other hand, Pelco offers a keychain ball that, in a small sphere, contains a useful rain poncho available in 6 colours. Silicon also has products designed for cycling fans, including whistles and hand clappers that can be branded by pad printing.
In terms of customisation, Lv Decors in Legnano (MI) has four direct screen printing production lines, ideal for shoppers, t-shirts and other marketing items related to major events such as the Giro d'Italia. It uses multicolour Mhm Screenprinting S-type Xtreme screen printing machines. The complete control of the amount of ink released is the great advantage of screen printing, which translates into garments that are highly breathable, while technical clothing belongs to sublimation. With this technology, colour vapour dyes the fibres, without superimposing films on them like ink does, making them thicker. Lv Decors has also recently launched a customisation line with embroidery: among the most popular are the writings and logos made on caps with a Zsk Racer Classic machine and Madeira Polyneon polyester yarns. This has not prevented the Legnano-based company from also trying its hand at pad printing logos on bicycle handlebars.
Brake knobs, headlight rims, spare parts, alloy, steel and aluminium wheels are the daily bread, or almost the everyday job, of Worklinestore, a company in Villanova Mondovì (Cn) specialising in laser marking. On today's bicycles and motorbikes, engravings are in fact more favoured than stickers, which are less resistant to washing and time. To personalise metal, the choice obviously falls to fibre laser, capable of engraving names and logos on odometers and speedometers without having to remove the protective glass and plastics, through which the beam passes without ruining them. For the processing of fibres, the Piedmont-based company uses either Workline Splua machines or Epilog, an American brand for which the company is the distributor in Italy. Instead, Co2 lasers are used for organic materials; in the cycling field, Worklinestore has tried its hand at cutting and engraving leatherette saddles and is even able to create scenic effects when the headlights of bicycles (and of course cars and motorbikes) are switched on. This is done by combining laser engraving with the application of blackout paint, with the effect of displaying logos or lettering only when the headlight or light is switched on.