22 June 2007

Nostra bici

una bicicletta

One of my favorite Italian movies is “The Bicycle Thief”, which is a post-war story of a poor family and the loss of their bicycle and how that impacts their life. For an Italian in those times a bike was much like a horse in the old American west.

Ascoli Piceno is a relatively flat city where you will see biciclette or bicycles everywhere. Many of these bikes look like they have been in use since the war and they are fitted with baskets for groceries, seats for the kids, or both. Earlier this month there was a national bike day to promote using bicycles instead of motorized vehicles to reduce pollution.

We decided we needed to acquire a bike of our own recently and decided we would try and find a used bike. There are two stores in the centro storico that always have ten or twenty different bikes outside their little shops so we figured they had to have some for sale. I stopped by these establishments several times and each time was told they had no bici usato. We also checked the local office for students and there were no signs up for used bikes.

We watched the advertisements for a week or two and when we had no results with the used bike shops and saw a good price at one of the local iper-markets we decided we better buy a new bike while we could. The most common bikes in town are what are called Olanda (Holland) or Trekking that are used by young and old, men and women. These “city” bikes are a women’s style with wide seat, lights front and rear, carriers front and rear and of course a bell to warn pedestrians.

Our new bike was lacking a basket and bell but we easily acquired those items and now Valerie is all set to peddle around town.

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