Balorda: How to Party on Bikes in Italy

Once upon a time (1992) four easy going guys were drinking as usual at their favorite bar. By dawn, they were thinking about “crappy projects” for their future.

In Carpi, a little town in Emilia Romagna, Italy, where the four friends lived, there was a semi-pro bicycle race called “Popolarissima delle Palme.” The guys thought, “Why can’t we leave our mark in the history of our town and organize the most extravagant bicycle race for our friends?” They envisioned a race where the first doesn’t win, where it’s compulsory to drink wine and eat pork, where energy drinks are strictly forbidden, where you can’t use professional bikes, you can only use wrecked and old ones. “And finally,” they continued in their planning, “the most important thing is that instead of a saint, we are going to worship a trash character from our Italian culture… iiiiiau!! [yahooooo!]”

And so Balorda was born. It grew into an entire weekend of wild revelry around a bicycle ride.

A movie documenting a day in the life of this ride, produced by Luca Bedini, is showing at Filmed by Bike.  Though the course is only about two miles, Balorda is about so much more than just completing the course.  Dancing, eating, drinking and merrymaking are key elements. “Scuciol is a traditional dance we perform between the first and the second lap.” organizer Lucailmatto explains. “During this dance, people have to dance when the music is fast and rhythmical, and then they have to roll on the ground when the music slows down (we are not deranged: this symbolizes a foundation of earth made by human beings and then their happiness).”

There were about 900 registered participants in 2007, the year the documentary was shot, but there will be 1,500 participants this year.

“Every single moment during the Balorda weekend is something that should deserve to be mentioned and tell,” says Lucailmatto.  “But here I think we don’t have enough space to narrate them. For example last year the Pentagon was looking for Osama Bin Laden all around the world, but it didn’t consider Sozzigali, where Osama was running our race, drinking, having party and women and received a prize for “doping” (the most important award!)”

Lucailmatto explains the magnitude of the weekend in a nutshell:
“970 liters of wine, 800 liters of beer, 80 kg of pork, 170 kg of tonno-fagioli-cipolla (tuna, beans and onion), 1,000 disguised guys, our funny president, our special and re-arranged live set and strange set we prepare… all this things make this event unique, stunning and amazing.”

So what does the Balorda crew think about having their movie show at Filmed by Bike? “For us, and for Balorda, it’s a great opportunity to show to the American people our beautiful girls, our sunny land, our President, our madness, our love for wine and food and finally how we love to party here in Italy,” says Lucailmatto.


Balorda shows as a part of our Ruckus in the Street program [ PROGRAM >> ]
Friday 7p, 9p, 11p – Saturday 7p – Sunday 5p, 9p – Tuesday 7p