From Milan to Pavia, taking in farms, bridges and abbeys | Selle Italia
From Milan to Pavia, taking in farms, bridges and abbeys


From Milan to Pavia, taking in farms, bridges and abbeys


Milan San Cristoforo


Milan San Cristoforo, going through Morimondo, Bereguardo, Pavia and Binasco


100 km





Thanks to the milder winters, in the north the bike season is now longer compared to a few years ago, so in mid-February we’re launching the 2017 cycling year with a good ride on the flat to get ourselves used to being in the saddle.


New season, new saddle

Talking of saddles, last year I had a few problems with minor aches and inflammation issues … this is because I’m getting older, so it’s time for a change: new season, new saddle. After pensioning off the old, hard mega-race model, I decided to try the Max SLR Gel Flow by Selle Italia, which should guarantee a more comfortable seating position even with its extremely low weight and stylish streamlined design.


What size?

I also found out something I didn’t know: every cyclist has their own ideal size of saddle just as they do with shorts or jersey. Selle Italia offers 6 variants, differing by width and rotation of the pelvis. There’s no puzzle about choosing, because retailers are able to find the right size in seconds with a new measuring system called idmatch.

For me it’s the L3 with central hole because I have a large distance between the ischial bones that rest on the saddle and a high rotation of the pelvis.

It’ll be the road that says how it goes. The feel counts for more than a thousand technical points.


Let’s make it 100

So after lunch, with a nice spring-like sun on us, we set on what we can call a proper outing to test the new saddle.

With some old friends we’ve chosen a course we’ve done a million times and could ride blindfold. That way I can concentrate on my impressions of the saddle: 100 km round trip Milan to Pavia, on the flat, meandering around the Lombardy countryside among farms, rivers and monasteries.

We start off from the Church of San Cristoforo, along the Naviglio Grande towpath to Gaggiano, with the first 10 km on a cycle path, jammed with pedestrians and runners. Careful attention needed by the cyclists to avoid collisions!


Taking it easy

Right from the off everything seems OK – apart from the legs, which feel like planks of wood after two months of inactivity. Support in the wide part of the saddle is perfect and I don’t feel any abnormal pressure. The padding, though not excessive, transmits a pleasant cushioned feeling.

At Gaggiano, we leave the Naviglio and head southwest towards Morimondo (17 km), notable for its 12th century Cistercian Abbey.

Time for a coffee and then we continue on towards the Parco del Ticino, passing through Fallavecchia, Besate, Motta Visconti and Zelata before reaching Bereguardo (another 16 km), where our route crosses the river on a charming pontoon bridge, one of the last still operating in Lombardy.


Zero vibrations

Almost halfway done and the saddle feels great; although the road is rough and in poor condition, I don’t feel any discomfort.

The Max series uses a special suspension system with “shock absorber” inserts that provide excellent cushioning.

The itinerary continues on the other side of the Ticino, and after about twenty km we arrive at Pavia, where we re-cross the river on the historic covered bridge. Here’s a tip: for the return to Milan, don’t take the busy SP35 along the Naviglio Pavese; it’s better to head for Binasco (about 20 km) along peaceful country roads, criss-crossing the rice fields and farmland. From Binasco you cut around the Parco Agricolo Sud Milano towards Gaggiano again, and then a 15 km run back to the cycle path you started from.



A few side notes.

One: this route is always fun. If you’ve never done it (unlikely if you’re in Milan) – try it.

Two: an aesthetic-functional consideration on the Max SLR Gel Flow.

The saddle has very elegant lines and I found it extremely comfortable even after almost 4 hours of use.

Soft and supple to the right degree, it absorbs shock and vibration very efficiently and also drastically reduces compression in the pelvic area, thanks to the large centre hole.

The important thing is to find the right point of support, which shouldn’t be too forward.




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