Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cyclismo Italiano

As previously mentioned, I was away last week on business.  Specifically, I had to participate in a conference in the small, northern Italian town of Cremona.  I've been to Italy a few times before, and once had the opportunity to ride part of the Gran Fondo Nove Colli ride.  What I've come to learn about cycling in Italy are these observations:

1. Bikes rule the roads; it is acceptable for an Italian to ride alongside the left side of the car while in full motion and gently tap on the window to ask him or her to pull more to the right, to let the gruppo pass.

2. Helmets are a fashion accessory, and are not considered nearly as stylish as an Il Pirata-inspired bandana.

3. The lines painted in the road are mere suggestions for cyclists and motorists alike.

4. There is no need to carry Clif bars, GU gels, or anything of the sort.  When in need of a little energy, simply pull up to a cafe and order two espressos and torte fritte with nutella - you will be right as rain for another 4 hours.  

 Note:  Italian baristas do not like having their picture taken:

Alas - this trip was not a cycling trip, and was nowhere near the picturesque countryside I had previously enjoyed.  Instead, I was in the city center of Cremona, a town only slightly smaller than Columbia.  However, even here, the cycling community was nothing short of fascinating.  I thought today, I would share some of my cyclocentric photos with you.

Average Cremonese grocery getter equipped with front-end wicker basket.  These fendered, three speed step-throughs were all over the town and were hardly ever locked to anything.  There might be a chain passing from the frame around the rear wheel, but rarely secured to a post of any kind. 

A large bike cluster in a covered walk-way.

A beautiful Raliegh with rear wicker basket, fender with side mud flaps and Brooks Saddle.

Rain didn't deter a large number of cycling commuters.

Cycling amore abounds both both old....

and young.

Pedal on!

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