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Nov 4, 2014

Italians Seem To Like It Low, Low, Low.

We had the incredible opportunity to enjoy the 2014 edition of L'Eroica and afterwards hung around Italy for a couple weeks of sightseeing and holidaying.

We visted Florence, Venice (Mira), La Spezia/Portovenere/Cinque Terre, and of course, Tuscany, including Siena and Gaiole.

Straight way we noticed what people were riding and quite often, maybe most often, we watched people cycling slowly on low quality bikes, with obviously low tire pressure, and saddles that were far too low for efficient cycling.


It's just a bicycle being used the way bikes are meant to be used.

So many "beater" bikes in Florence. Really, everyone had a rough looking bike.

Low tire pressure, seat way to low for such a tall gal. None of that mattered as she cruised through the square.

His blue blazer caught my eye, then noticed his low rear tire pressure. Double bags of goods on the handlebars gets +2.

I heard his spokes vibrate as his rim hit the edges of the paving stones. And he should raise his seat up a foot or so too, or stop riding his younger siblings bike.

Classic. My rear tire is flat and I don't give a shit.

I mean, really bud, how low do you need to go? On the flipside, those are some sweet sneaks.

Double flat tires, rattling fender, handlebars laden with bags...normal sight in Florence.

Missing fender parts, low quality lock, creaking everything, low air pressure, and far to small for the rider.
Watching people riding bikes for utility in Italy was really interesting. Most often, the bikes were rough looking, cheap even, often comparable to mass-market bikes you'd see at Canadian Tire or Sport Chek. Often equipped with a very inexpensive chain or cable lock, singlespeed, rattling fenders and racks - they just rolled about their cities, getting things done.

Many people had kids seats mounted to their rides as well. What was interesting was (again) the low quality nature of these kids seats. They were very simple designs but did the trick - transporting the little ones to school or daycare.

Remembering back to our visits of Paris and Amsterdam in the summer of 2013 I recall seeing many rough looking, aka low quality bikes everywhere - which begs the question: can we determine whether a city has an established bicycle culture by the quality, and numbers, of bikes we see?