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Wednesday, February 13, 2013

A car-free life






No cars for us here - just like last year and also when we lived in Viterbo in 2010. Instead we get around on foot or on a bike...or when it's a big deal, rent a car from an office just on the other side of the island. Automobile traffic is (sort of) restricted on the island anyway and parking is a time-consuming hassle. Our friends who drive in from outside spend as much time looking for a place to park sometimes as long as it takes them to drive here! Larry's original "shopping bike", a gift from our friends in Viterbo, has some issues that will soon make it ready for the scrap heap so when he saw this Bianchi for sale just off the island a few weeks ago he was interested. 
Our friend Gianni, the local "mobility manager" (anti-car advocate) says with gas at $10 a gallon and the continued economic crisis here, he can sell every used bike he can get his hands on. The fellow selling this one wanted way too much so Larry passed on it..but a few days later he passed by the seller again and he was ready to bargain so it came home to be chained up on the seafront. We have no place to put these bikes inside, our Torelli's are taking up all the indoor storage space so we're hoping liberal applications of this marine anticorrosion spray will keep the bikes operational while we're here or at least until they're stolen! Some punk already has liberated the seatpost and saddle from the Bianchi, courtesy of the Q/R on the seatpost. That's been replaced with a more secure bolt arrangement so now we'll see if, as the bike shop guy said, "now they'll steal the whole thing".
They say buying a car in Italy as a foreigner is more difficult than buying a HOUSE! And on this island it's far cheaper and easier to simply rent a car (probably the same with a house) when needed. We use the bikes to visit a larger supermarket off-island that would take us almost an hour to get to on foot as well as the Illy caffe bar where we get our coffee capsules. Next time we look for lodging we'll try harder to find a place with a place we can stash these shopping bikes more securely than locked to the rails on the seafront - if we still have them of course!

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