by Melinda Gallo

La mia nuova bici

Many of my friends have been telling me to get a bicicletta (bicycle) because it's so efficient to get around il centro (the downtown area). I have been against it for a long time because it doesn't seem that safe and their constant bell ringing can be a bit much when you're walking around. But, these last few months I have thought it’d be a nice change.

Living in Florence :: La mia nuova bici

This last Sunday instead of taking the bus to go to Alessandro's parent's place for lunch, I rode his father's bici (bike) because Alessandro left it at my apartment the other day when we had a tempesta (storm).

It was much faster for me to go to their house than wait for the bus. And, now in August, the buses are running even less often, so it takes a long time to get anywhere.

I met up with Alessandro at a bike shop near his house, and I picked out a bici after much contemplation. The one I wanted was already sold and there wasn't another one on the showroom floor. We asked the guy if he had another one and he went in the back to check for us. He came back out rolling out one that was perfect: it had everything I wanted like a cestino (basket), wider tires, six speeds, and was silver.

Everyone has already warned me that my bici will probably get stolen, so I bought a lucchetto (lock) after the guy at the shop handed me one for free. Alessandro explained how I should to wrap a lucchetto around the frame and the tire, and then latch it on to something that can't be removed, like a post or chain. With two lucchetti, I hope my new bici will be safe.

After we paid for my bici, Alessandro adjusted the seat for me, and I rode off. Because I walk everywhere, I don't usually look at the streets that are senso unico (one way), but Alessandro told me that bicycle riders can pretty much do anything as long as they're careful.

It was easy to get back to my place because I rode along the lungarno (street along the Arno river). When I got home, I locked my bike up to the chain around the statue in my piazza. I kept checking it from my window to make sure it was still there.

I was happy when I woke up this morning to see that it was still there.

Today, I had to go to the farmacia (pharmacy) and the Posta (post office), so I took my bici. I had never riden a bike downtown, so I was a little worried that I wouldn't know what to do when I had to cross via Calzaiuoli. But, when I was riding down via della Condotta, I kept my eyes open for people walking, and rang my bell only when necessary. I don't mind stopping or slowing down as I know that most pedestrians don't look out for bicycle riders.

I enjoyed my ride so much that I went out this afternoon for another ride in centro (downtown) just to get some air. There are a few roads that are very bumpy, but all in all, I really enjoy riding my new bici. I may end up not walking around much in centro any more as it is that nice.

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