Home Stories Multimedia Blogs Contributors About Contact

The Cagli Media Project
Institute for Education
in International Media
Andrew Ciofalo, Director

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 the contest.

“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.

Video by Julia Gaspary
Photos by Alex Cirillo
Web Design by Brett Kahn