the comfort zone
Words: Miriam Terruzzi
Images: Miriam Terruzzi & Kristof Ramon
Alberto Bianchi - Head of Product at
La Passione - has changed his vision of freedom by giving it a new and personal meaning through cycling.
When did you start cycling?
When I was fourteen, by chance. It was just a way to let off steam when I was coming home from school. Then I competed in the Under 23 category for two years, but when I started working in the clothing industry, I started to see cycling in a completely different light.
I probably changed and so did my needs. In 2015, I stopped riding because I had forgotten the beauty of just going out on a bike. I was going through a complicated time and needed a reset, I wanted to be alone, go far away, venture to new places. Then I met Stefano and together we founded "Assault to Freedom".
What is it about exactly?
It's a group united under the same revolutionary banner of Assault to Freedom that aims to dispel stereotypes about cycling, restoring value to the authenticity of the sport.
We have created three types of challenges and each of them is based on the three measurement parameters of the classic bike ride: distance, elevation gain, time. People can therefore test themselves on the type of terrain most suited to them.
How did this idea come about?
One day we decided to take the bike and climb the Gavia and the Stelvio three times on a tour that started from Bormio and ended on the Mortirolo, passing through Foscagno and Livigno. Eighteen hours on the saddle and about thirty people who shared a stretch of road with us. When I got off the bike, I thought: wow, what have I missed so far? It was like a bolt from the blue. I realized I wanted to do exactly that, pedal to experience moments that were really worth all that effort.
For someone who is used to experiencing cycling like this every day - as a freedom conqueror - how difficult was it to experience the first lockdown?
My bike was simply parked in the garage for two months. The lockdown led me to make a radical change: I took time for me, to arrange the house with my dad and I even changed jobs, I joined
What was the significance of your move to
La Passione at that moment?
Fundamental, I'd say. I have decades of experience in the world of cycling apparel and I had reached a point where I needed a change, I needed new stimuli. As chance would have it, Giuliano called me while I was reflecting on the situation, and we immediately hit it off. He took a chance on me, giving me new responsibilities and making me part of the decision-making process. This shared trust on a daily basis and the exchange of opinions are rewarding and constructive when you are thinking and developing leaders.
How would you define your approach to creating a garment or collection in a few words?
Less is more. My connection with the bicycle is very important to understand which way to go during the development of a product, for example by directly testing the products on myself. In these months, by physically cycling with the new garments, I have understood that the process should be the same as what I have applied in my own life: eliminate the superfluous and take care of the important details. Simplicity is something very close to perfection.
What is the bicycle?
The bicycle has always been my salvation, in fatigue there is no company: you are alone, you reflect, you meditate on yourself and the flow of thoughts heals you. For me, cycling means escaping.
What makes you at peace with the world?
Getting up at six in the morning and going out on my bike for an hour or so. Then I get ready and go to the office. I wouldn't call it a workout, it's more something that makes me feel good.
And where do you feel most at peace with yourself?
On my mountains. I like the climb because it gives you satisfaction, as you climb, you feel lighter and lighter.
What is your concept of freedom?
I discovered what freedom is when I was done with technology and stopped using the cyclocomputer. Nowadays, I do everything in my head, I've learned to listen to myself and I've started to push myself further, cross the threshold. Instinct is never wrong and now I have an open-hearted relationship with cycling, I feel its beats and it feels like mine. No in-between.