Bianchi Celeste - Classic Colour, Classic Bikes...

Bianchi Celeste - Classic Colour, Classic Bikes...

by Pedal Pedlar July 26, 2021

Is there a more famous colour in the cycling world than Bianchi’s celeste? The name itself comes from celestial, or heavenly, often thought to be a reference to the blue skies over Milan, a colour mixed in some combination of passion and reverence. The original celeste was a slightly more grey shade than the ‘modern’ greenish hued colour, and some legends suspect this was a slightly less passionate result of having surplus military paints in the post-war period, mixing pale blue and grey resulting in a truly unique colour all of Bianchi’s own, and one that was bound to stand out at the time.

Bianchi Celeste 1981 - Frame Spray Paint - Pedal Pedlar Classic & Vintage CyclingJoin the club! Bianchi knew the pull of the colour and its place in their heritage, as this mid 80s ‘celeste club’ T shirt attests (image courtsey of

Although myths abound, there is one that seems to be oft-repeated and is perhaps the most romantic of them all; that the colour is an homage to the colour of Queen Margherita’s eyes. In 1895 Eduardo Bianchi was reportedly asked to build the Queen a bike and teach her how to ride it, and upon meeting her was so struck by her eyes that he decided that was the colour for him. Further bolstered by the appearance of the royal coat of arms in Bianchi’s logo, this is only slightly cast into doubt by the historical fact the Queen’s eyes were not blue. Still, whatever the true origin story it’s a great colour, and one that adorns many a well-loved race bike.

Bianchi L'Eroica in 2016 - Classic & Vintage Bikes - Pedal PedlarStill at it! The Bianchi L'Eroica edition circa 2016.

1951 Bianchi Celeste with Campagnolo Cambio Corsa - Pedal Pedlar Vintage Cycling
There's paint somewhere under there! An original 1950s Bianchi (image (and main photo) courtesy of

The current celeste isn’t for everyone, and it seems that even Bianchi had second thoughts as the advert below from 1983 shows. Love it or hate it? What's your vote? No ballot necessary! Just leave us a comment below...

Classic Bianchi Celeste - We Want Your Vote! 1983 Vintage Magazine Scan - Pedal Pedlar

A 1983 US advert from Bianchi giving readers the opportunity to vote for, or against keeping the legendary celeste (image courtesy of Cicli Masini)

If you enjoyed this article please don't forget to share it around 😊  


Pedal Pedlar
Pedal Pedlar


Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The Journal

Art and bicycles – The Keith Haring Cinelli Laser - Pedal Pedlar Classic & Vintage Cycling
Art & Bicycles - Keith Haring’s Cinelli Laser - A 1980s Masterpiece

by Roly Seaton December 23, 2021

There are some fantastic examples of where art and bikes combine, and in our eyes the most iconic example has to be the Cinelli Laser pursuit with disc wheels painted by Keith Haring in the 1980s...

Read More

How to measure headset stack height - Pedal Pedlar Classic & Vintage Cycling
How To Measure 1” Threaded Headsets On Vintage Bikes

by Roly Seaton December 16, 2021

There are a number of parts you’ll need to put a bike together that can be slightly complicated if you don’t have the old part to hand, and one that we are often asked about is headsets.

Read More

Remembering Tom Simpson - Master of the Classics
Remembering Tom Simpson - Master of the Classics

by Roly Seaton November 30, 2021

Were it not for his untimely death on the slopes of the Mont Ventoux aged just 29 Tom Simpson would probably have been one of Britain's most successful ever professional cyclists.

Read More