Many of my friends think I'm a little crazy for having no other means of transportation but my feet in Florence. Simone has been on me for years about getting a bicicletta (bike), but I haven't been too keen on the idea. However, for the past few weeks, I've been realizing how convenient it would be to have one. Especially when I was looking at apartments all over town and going to the agenzia immobiliare (real estate agency) near Porta Romana, which is on the opposite side of town for me.
Last night, a friend and I planned on going to see a movie, but it was playing near lo stadio (the stadium), which is a good half hour walk from my house. My friend suggested that I ride with him on his bicicletta to the cinema (movie theatre). I've seen many people do this in Florence; parents pick up their children with one in back and one on the handlebars. I figured two adults on one bicicletta is pretty similar, so it can't be that bad.
I sat on the bar sideways, holding onto him with one hand and the handlebars with the other. I had to keep my feet up a little bit so as to keep them out of the way of his pedaling and the many cars that passed us by. I wondered about why I wasn't wearing a helmet for a split second and realized that if I thought about it too much, I'd probably get scared and cause an accident.
My friend rode rather quickly down the main streets, through lights, across the viale (large avenue), and down a small incline. Right before arriving in front of the cinema, I had to ask him to let me off for a minute because the streets were a little bumpy, and the seat wasn't that comfortable.
Luckily, the weather was still warm at 10.30PM, so it was quite enjoyable. I couldn't help but laugh to fend off my fear: cars came so close at times that I wondered if I'd make it to the cinema in one piece and with both shoes still on my feet. I couldn't stop thinking about how I went to the hospital here in 1999 when I broke my leg rollerblading. I swore I would be careful for the rest of my life so I wouldn't have to go back to the emergency room again. And here I was on the front of a bicicletta while we were coasting down a small, and luckily not steep, bridge.
We arrived safely at the cinema, and it felt pretty good to go so far away in such a short time. For the return trip, I was a little less scared, mostly because there were fewer cars at such a late hour. Crossing the viale was the scariest part since it's a six to eight lane avenue and people can be a little impatient at the light.
I am considering getting a bicicletta now. It's pretty convenient, but probably a lot safer if I ride it alone. I know that I wouldn't ride it in centro (downtown) with all the tourists like so many other people do. I'd like it to ride down the path along the Arno or up to Piazzale Michelangelo; I want to go to places that I have a harder time going to on foot. Places where I rarely go, but would love to go to more often.
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