While reading some Japanese “pottering” blogs this week, I noticed that several riders speak fondly about a particularly type of bike they have. The model is called “Antico”, and it is made by the Italian company Gios. It is a ミニベロ (mini bero, from “mini velo”) or 小径車 (shoukeisha, small wheeled bicycle). Initially, I thought it must be one of the multitudinous folding bikes so popular in the uber-urban streets of Tokyo. However, it turns out that it has a regular sized road bike frame, redesigned to work with the small tires.
This bike has 16 speeds and a frame made of クロモリ (kuromori, chromium molybdenum steel). The 20″ tires give it a much smaller profile than a typical road bike, making it easier to park or make pinpoint turns on the city sidewalk (which riders can and do use in Japan). It also means you can more easily take it on a train (something “potterers” like to do), without having to remove the wheels and bag it up.
One blogger refers affectionately to her bike as 愛車anticoちゃん (aisha antico-chan), an endearment which one might translate as “my much-loved little antico”. Her blog, ただポタ!, is really cute and a fun read (with lots of great photos), and is a good place to get a sense of how this bike can be used.
If you live in Japan and are interested in purchasing an Antico, try visiting Cycle Studio Hakusen near the JR Okachimachi station in Tokyo (TEL: 03-3831-0792), or check out their online store link here.
For any North American readers interested in the Antico, there are no distributors for Gios bicycles in the USA, Canada or Mexico, and I was unable to find any used bikes for sale online. Does anybody out there have one for sale, or know where or how one can be purchased here? (Short of traveling to Japan and bringing one home!)
That said, while searching in vain for North American shops selling the Antico, I did come across this post on mini velos. Though it doesn’t include the Antico specifically, it introduces a different Gios model, as well as some other similar types of bikes.
For readers in other parts of the world, check out the international distributors list on the Biciclette Gios site.
If you own an Antico or have experience riding one, please share your experience below!