On March 31st, Radio Station “GR Radio RAI 2” dedicated some time to me, because, like other important sports museums in Italy, and abroad, I remained virtually open!
If you click on the link, you can hear the presentation (we are the first museum to be used as an example …): GR Radio RAI 2
Now, let me tell you how it’s been going.
These past two months have been trying! I felt like a social lion in a COVID cage. I was at the starting line, ready, very ready to shoot (and pedal) … and instead, from March 9th, lockout! And then re-opening to some random target date. Do you know what it’s like when an invisible pin on the road punctures the Champion’s tire and makes him lose a precious 2 minutes and 11 seconds?! A fateful delay that throws a wrench in his time. I feel the same way, facing the crisis caused by a microscopic virus and the COVID-19 health emergency.
Sport and culture have been asked to help people feel engaged even while they are trapped at home and remain uninvolved.
OH! What a tough task! And how do you turn social distancing into getting closer together?? (not to mention that …keeping a safe distance is in the DNA of our sport!)
Immediately I thought of you, Fiorenzo. I remembered what you said to Ms. Liliana in 1955, “The Giro d’Italia is not finished. I don’t know what will happen, I have to come up with something”. And you invented a solution, recklessly racing along a dirt road with a gravelly and sharp descent, that resulted your win.
To invent. This was the key word. To invent. It has been said that in your vision, I, your museum, was not just about being a collection and memories. It also had to be an incubator of ideas and feelings. I started to look carefully at the memorabilia that I keep inside me. It tells the extraordinary stories of talent, sweat, courage and tears of the Great Cycling Champions. It was these artifacts, that led me rediscover the heart and soul of this great building.
You won’t believe what’s happening! An unintended consequence is that I am becoming more and more a Social Museum! Facebook, Instagram, Newsletters, Youtube … and do you know, dear Fiorenzo, that you inspire me with this too? Whenever you used to call your loved ones, you would say, “it’s been a long time since we talked”, but it was probably less than a couple of days! You were truly social even before the social network boom !! Because the real secret of being social is not posting beautiful photos, but meaningful dialogue. Being social is being genuinely curious about how people are, listening to their issues and being interested in how to share things with them. And further, it’s how to entertain them with quality content, thus becoming their constant point of reference. My understanding is that people want me to make them dream by recalling the Beautiful Stories that great cycling has given to Sport.
So, I made it my routine to publish one of these many beautiful stories every day (or at least every two days). I hoped it would bring people closer together and feel some affection for each other. For example, I posted the shirt of Bergamo’s Felice Gimondi at the time when that city was most impacted by the pandemic. See #distantimauniti.
On Facebook we have more than 11 thousand followers (and I’m proud to say, unpaid), on Instagram there are 594 (growing in numbers with over 25% active likes). Our traditional Newsletter has been integrated into the Store’s advertising. As well as producing our Youtube channel, I am creating “my” page on Wikipedia, by participating in their Writing Quarantine 2020 initiative. In short, I am pedaling on the computer keyboard … while waiting to pedal my bicycle!
This doesn’t mean we’re replacing the real museum with an online one, but it is a kind of preparation on a virtual road. As you once noted in your agenda, “I renamed the dreaded Magnine as ‘kilometers of training’.” I now publish stories to enrich our followers’ passion for cycling as we await the “Start”. Because before I leave the start gate, dear Fiorenzo, I will invent a way to keep our followers connected.