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Biking outside the mura

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I love riding my bicicletta (bicycle) around town even though at times it can be stressful. If it's not the cars, buses, and motorini (scooters) whizzing by, it's the people who walk in the street that I try to avoid. They sometimes turn around and stare at me when I ring my campanello (bell) while they slowly get out of my way. I do give fair warning and ride rather slowly because I too am a pedestrian on the same streets. I hate it when people ride their bicicletta so fast that they come up behind me and ring their campanello so many times that I have to practically jump out of the way to avoid an incidente (accident).

Today I decided to ride my bicicletta to a computer shop in Gavinana. I usually walk to most places, but to me anything outside of the mura (walls) of Florence is too far to walk. I probably would've taken the bus to go to Gavinana, but I couldn't imagine myself on a bus full of people with the heat that we're having. On the map, the place I needed to go seemed quite close and fairly straightforward to get to. I tend to only like to ride my bicicletta to places that I know how to get to.

I rode along the lungarno (street along the Arno) and past the first two ponti. I went up the marciapiede (sidewalk) to reach the pista ciclabile (bicycle path). At the Ponte da Verrazzano, I got down from the marciapiede and rode in the street to cross over the ponte. Cars zoomed past me at close range, and I suddenly felt a bit insecure about my choice to take my bicicletta to Gavinana.

I went around the rotonda (roundabout) ducking behind a macchina (car) for protection. I continued down the main road along with all the cars while I looked for the name of the street to make sure that I was going the right way. I noticed a man riding his bicicletta on the marciapiede and thought that maybe I should do the same. I looked back to turn left on one street and went around another rotonda to the street where the negozio (shop) was.

I hopped off my bicicletta and parked it. I didn't now how nervous I was until I got off and felt myself shaking slightly.

After I went to the negozio, I walked my bicicletta to the lungarno because I didn't know how to get there with all the one way streets and the corsia preferenziale (bus and taxi lane). I took the pista ciclabile that was painted on the marciapiede and stuck to it. I didn't want to drive in traffic like I did on the way there.

When I got home, I parked my bicicletta in my piazza and locked it up to the pole. I do enjoy riding my bicicletta, but I think from now on I will stick to the centro (downtown area) and areas that I am familiar with.

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