Sicily is the ultima destinazione for cyclists. From the coastal drags of the west to the challenging mountain helixes of the east, Sicily’s topography and exquisite cuisine have driven riders to the island since the 19th century.
Monocle is always on the lookout for a fancy new frame, and while in Palermo our eyes were drawn to a rather handsome Italian bicycle chained to a bollard. So we decided to track down the maker.
Calogero Montante, a Sicilian engineer, began building his own bikes in the early 1920s. By the 1930s Montante was selling his bespoke Kalos two-wheelers to wealthy families in southern Italy and the Arma dei Carabinieri police force. Four generations later and the Montante family are a leading manufacturer of shock absorbers for industrial vehicles, buses and trains, but still produce a range of smart cycles including this model – a reinterpretation of Calogero’s original Kalos design. Each Kalos is handmade and receives a numbered and signed certificate of manufacture.
Unique details include hand-stitched leather grips and brake levers and a clip-grip on the handlebar to transport your newspaper from gelateria to gelateria.
Bike essentials: We’re never keen on over-accessorising anything, but a few handy add-ons make storing and maintaining your two-wheeler a breeze. Our friends at Bikefix in Bloomsbury helped us fill our Inujirushi pannier with some cycling essentials:
- Storage support by Cycloc, cycloc.com
- Canvas pannier by Inujirushi
- Map bag by Inujirushi
- Leather saddle care kit by Brooks, brookssaddles.com
- Canvas cycling cap by Inujirushi
- Rescue tool kit by Park Tool, parktool.com
- Bike clips by Push, fisheroutdoor.co.uk
- Eco-friendly chain lube by Green Oil, green-oil.net
- Hub dynamo by Wilfried Schmidt Maschinenbau, nabendynamo.de