Appreciation: Paul "Ċincelli" Attard

Paul Attard would not ring a bell with many bicycle enthusiasts but iċ-Ċinelli would. He got his nickname from a damaged bicycle he purchased from a British armed forces person stationed here in Malta in the 1950s. He paid the owner more than the asking price.

I got to know iċ-Ċinelli quite late in life after taking up cycling. After a bike ride on Saturday or Sunday, I would pit stop at his club in Qormi for an apple and an old-fashioned loose-leaf tea in a transparent long glass. The club was, years before, an old-fashioned bar serving cycling enthusiasts and local pundits. 

Being a slow cyclist, I tended to pop over when everyone had left. He could spend hours storytelling about the various bikes he owned, how he used to ride with British military personnel, his childhood and upbringing. He particularly enjoyed going over to Sicily with a small group of cyclists a couple of times a year. Sicily was special for him because he had lived there for a short stint. I cannot but smile when, with a chuckle, he recounted how he would make a loss on the sale of ice-cream by simply giving them to visitors to his bar. Many abused his overzealous generosity but he was never upset simply because he loved being kind.

Iċ-Ċinelli’s unique character reflected in his love for cycling. Up to the age of 85 he would regularly do 40 - 50km every Sunday. He loved riding fast and was very good at repairing or adjusting the bicycles of anyone who knocked on his door. His love for the sport extended to encouraging others to practice the sport. There were many cycling events in which he would hand out fruit he had personally purchased. Paul together with Paul Abela and Antonio Borg, were the co-founders of the Qormi Cycling Club in 1961 and was very active from the early years of the Malta Cycling Federation.

Some people are remembered for their standing in society, for how much wealth they amassed and for the public offices they held or public deeds they performed. Pawlu ċ-Ċinelli would not tick any of these traditional boxes; he will be remembered for touching the lives of a few hundred cycling enthusiasts and those who were lucky enough to know him with his mild-mannered kindness. At 87 he can now speed up and down the hills and valleys on the other side without having to use iodine to treat wounds from falls.


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