With BMW Motorrad #SocialTestride events already completed in Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona, it was time for the e-powered travelling circus to head to Italy for the ultimate guided tour in the stylish city of Milano.
This penultimate #SocialTestride would not disappoint of course, as the Italian 'scooteristi' go crazy for anything new on two wheels, especially when it looks and performs as good as the BMW C evolution.
One of the first nations to adopt the 'maxi-scooter' in large numbers, many Italians have discarded their small-wheeled, small-engine scooters in favour of larger-wheeled, longer wheelbase maxi-scooters, with their better handling and increased comfort levels contributing to a more enjoyable ride. Importantly, their higher speed and extra weather protection allow for longer journeys, which is why you see Milan's urban peripheral roads full of machines like the BMW C 600 Sport and C 650 GS – recent newcomers to this category, but already enjoying a market share approaching 20 per cent.
Occupying a prime spot just off the busy A1 road in the city suburb of San Donato Milanese is the prestigious BMW Milan premises, where this fourth consecutive #SocialTestride began. Selected from a shortlist of more than 100 entrants were lucky riders Simone Bozzi, Laura Elia, Matteo Bozzetti and Alessandro Ferrari, who arrived at the dealership full of excitement, and eager to try the recently-launched e-scooter they had been reading so much about. There, they met their tour leader for the day – Alessandro Manzueti – who divides his time between Milan and Rome, and knows a thing or two about urban mobility.
With the sun already beating down and everyone dressed head to toe in rider equipment, it was time to get moving and 'feel the breeze', so the convoy of clean, green, electric machines slipped silently into the heavy traffic and made its way in the direction of downtown Milan – and some of tour guide Alessandro's favourite hotspots.
With 'wellness and health' the themes for the day, the stops included a selection of Alessandro's recommendations for leisure and pleasure in the city, including the beautiful parkland surrounding the magnificent Arco Della Pace – where he often goes jogging – and the swimming pools on the Ceresio 7 rooftop. In the intense heat, the Cerisio 7 is an ideal place to rise above the hustle and bustle of the streets, where you can enjoy fabulous gourmet cuisine and then dip your feet in the cool waters of the two pools that offer stunning views across the city skyline.
Healthy non-alcoholic drinks were on the menu early in the afternoon at the famous Camparino cocktail bar on the corner of the Galleria Vittorio Emanuelle, offering a commanding vista to the busy Piazza del Duomo and its awe-inspiring cathedral.
With temperatures approaching 34 degrees late in the afternoon, keeping cool by keeping moving was paramount, although this wasn't always easy due to the phenomenal amount of interest the party of C evolution riders was attracting from locals and tourists alike. Make no mistake; these e-scooters were capable of stopping traffic and causing a sensation wherever they popped up around the city. Fortunately though, our #SocialTestriders were more than happy to answer the endless questions that came their way.
Another benefit of e-power that soon became apparent in the conditions that were hot enough to melt the Milanese tarmac, was that unlike conventional motorcycles and scooters, there was no engine on the C evolution to create the extra heat and fumes that can contribute to an uncomfortable riding experience in slow moving, heavy city traffic.
Having toured the length and breath of the city centre, and received 'thumbs-ups' wherever they went, the #SocialTestriders ended their tour at the El Brellin restaurant on the banks of the Naviglio Grande canal, where the party was already in full swing with tightrope walkers performing acrobatics above the water, and surfers being towed behind speedboats.
It was a carnival atmosphere that attracted big crowds – and even more attention for the C evolution riders. Fortunately though, staff on a floating BMW Motorrad-sponsored pontoon moored on the canal side were also promoting the C evolution as well as the new R nineT custom boxer, and were able to answer many enquiries from potential customers, as well as take contact details for future test rides. This allowed our #SocialTestriders to relax and enjoy a healthy meal after a long day in the saddle.
Suitably fed and watered, they were still keen to don helmets, jackets and gloves, and experience a final ride back in the cool night air to the BMW Motorrad HQ in San Donato Milanese, where they reluctantly handed back the keys to the C evolutions before making their way home on their own motorcycles and scooters.
All in all, it was another extremely successful #SocialTestride experience, putting the C evolution right on the map in Milan and documenting every kilometre throughout the day via social media. And now the project moves on to Munich for more electrifying action as the #SocialTestride reaches its conclusion at the home of BMW Motorrad on Saturday 14 June.
Watch the latest movie and meet the participants from Milan online at www.youtube.com/bmwmotorrad