A Passion For Cycling
Story by Cindy Dew
A smiling Walter Basili weaves his way through the bicycles
exhibited in his shop, Basili Sport. His grin mirrors that of the athlete
displayed in posters on the wall. Trophies of various sizes line the shelves,
and a rainbow of competition jerseys adorns a wall as a declaration of
his successful cycling career.
Basili extends a bandaged hand. After explaining that
he hurt it while repairing a bike, Basili laughs heartily, saying, “This
wound is nothing like the ones I have received from bicycle falls.”
He tells of a race where a young boy on a moped pulled out in front of
him. The collision resulted in broken ribs and a broken coccyx for Basili;
however, he climbed back on the bike and went on to win the race. He laughs
and says that both he and his bike were a misaligned mess by the end of
“I started when I was 11,” he says of his
plunge into amateur cycling competition. With a passion for cycling and
a competitive nature, Basili first mastered the mountain bike. Then, he
moved on to road-racing and later, speed cycling on a track. In addition
to riding as a primary sport and hobby, cycling eventually became the
way Basili earns a living.
“I noticed a vacuum,” he says of the absence
of cycling shops in Cagli. So, 10 years ago Basili opened his store, which
is now the nucleus of cycling activity in and around Cagli.
During his racing career, Basili, now 43, averaged at least 30 wins per
year, accumulating more than 300 gold medals and enough prosciutto hams
— a common first-place award in Italy — “that I could
open my own butcher shop,” Basili says with a chuckle.
In various categories, he has set five world speed records,
won six Italian cups, four European cups, and six Grand Fondos, or endurance
contests. Of these numerous accomplishments, Basili is most proud of his
2004 Master’s Division second-place finish at a speed track cycling
event in Manchester, England.
“It means more because I was representing Italy,”
he says, smiling broadly in reference to his participation as a member
of the national team.
In September 2006, Basili stopped cycling. The sudden
change came upon the death of his father, his very first fan and staunchest
supporter over the decades.
Basili said he just doesn’t feel the
urge, at least for now, to climb back into the saddle. His father also
had worked with him in the store, which gave the younger man time to train.
These days, he says, “All I have time for is a lunch break.”
Also, as a married man with a 15-year-old son and a 7-year-old daughter,
he relishes spending time with his family.
“I have never missed
one of my son’s basketball games,” he says. So for the time
being, Basili is taking a break from cycling.
But his passion thrives in other ways, such as the Basili Racing Team. Proudly, Basili claims that the team includes nearly
150 members, ranging in age from 13 to 65. There are no barriers to membership,
and Basili welcomes anyone interested in mountain, street, or tour bicycling.
He recounts that his mountain bike group placed third at a recent event
in Sassocorvaro against others from around central Italy. With a furrowed
brow, Basili comments that the team did not perform as well as they would
have liked, but he is still proud of them.
Walter Basili is passionate about
cycling, and his energy is palpable. In addition, his extensive history
of racing success enhances his credibility as a shop owner. Basili Sports
is a cycling hub for current and prospective cyclists in this region of
Italy and that is because of Walter Basili’s ability to share his
vibrant cycling spirit.
by Julia Gaspary
Photos by Alex Cirillo
Web Design by Brett Kahn