Tuesday, May 3, 2011

My New Old Bike

Well, I knew it would happen sooner or later. My pretty little blue bike, (photo left) which was probably stolen many times before it became mine, was stolen a few days ago. I was fortunate to have kept it for so long, almost a year, beating the average by 6 months. I knew that my days were numbered, but it was my fault. I always attach my bike to a pole in my piazza, which is lit up at night. But this time I locked it up outside my apartment, neglecting to wrap the chain around a pole. I live in a pedestrian zone where cars are not permitted on the streets, so someone actually carried the bike away, chain lock and all. When I woke up it was gone.

It reminded me of the brand new beautiful three-speed Raleigh English racer that I received for my 12th birthday. It was stolen in front of my school in Brooklyn where I left it unattended for less than a few minutes. Since then I have been overly protective of my bikes to the point that I have a tent large enough to fit me and my bike when I go on bike/camping tours. I guess I have become lax. I like to think that's because I am more relaxed, as I become more and more Italian.

Turning over bikes is quite a business racket in Florence. I wonder how much money changes hands. You need a chain that weighs several pounds and a gigantic lock. Thieves are all over the place at this time of year because every tourist wants a bike, even if for just a few days, and there are swarms of tourists everywhere in the past few weeks, it is like a gallactic invasion. Unfortunately it is the tourists who ride their bikes wrecklessly through the streets, rudely ringing their bells to warn people to get out of their way, disrespecting the peace and tranquility of those who live here.

When I realized my bike was gone, I hurried down the block to see Franco, the neighborhood bike mechanic who buys and sells used (ahem..stolen?) bikes. He "put his order in" so to speak, and I had another old bike, (photo left) within 3 days. It's not as cute as my old blue one, but it serves the purpose. No matter how careful I am to lock it up, it too, will disappear. I wonder how long this one will last.