[gallery type="square" ids="233"] In Chicago for the most part, Brad and I would always try and get around the city by bike. There were times, when cars or the bus/train were necessary and we both had cars too. However, for us it both an economical and logistical way to get from place to place in a big city. So, when planning for our stay in Rome, we really wanted to buy our own bikes.
Then we arrived in Rome. Pretty much every Italian in Rome warned us that it was not a good idea! We almost went with their advice. However, a few nights later while walking around our neighborhood a huge crowd of bicyclist passed us, it was a Critical Mass event. I never thought anything like this would be going on in Rome. I was very shocked and excited! The next day, we went ahead and began our search to buy some bikes. Of course we were not about to invest much money in these purchases. However finding used bikes came across kind of tricky. We thought we would just run into some bike shops walking around. But that did not happen. So we went online and looked up some shops in the area and began making our way to these places. Most of these trips, led us to expensive bike shops or shops that no longer existed. Finally, after about a week we found some bike shops. It was actually kind of funny, Brad had looked up a bike shop and we made our way to the location. As we arrived to the location in an area in Rome known as "Portuense", we discovered not only one shop, but there were about 10-20 bike shops right next to each other along this street. It was kind of crazy to see all these business, right next to one another, selling the exact same things. To say the least, we were a bit overwhelmed which shop to enter.
For the most part, each business was selling new bikes, but most of them were selling used ones too. We tried out a few bikes at a few places along this street of businesses. Finally we found some bikes that seemed to be in the best working condition. To be honest, I was not confident that these bikes were going to work out, but we went ahead and bought them anyways. So for 100 euros we bought 2 bikes.
The phrase...Rome was built on 7 hills...is very much true. The hills in Rome are so crazy! Thinking back upon Chicago, I always feared the hill on the Damen Ave. Bridge, near Fullerton/Elston/Damen. That hill is nothing in comparison to the hills in Rome. Now that we have been in Rome for about 1 month, I am finally getting used to riding up these hills. I keep thinking to myself that this is a great exercise!
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I really did not notice when we were purchasing our bikes, but Brad's bike is quite the beater, even compared to mine. In fact, two days after we got our bikes he got a flat tire. In the last month, he has had to replace both tires, both pedals and his seat post. It has been quite laughable. I kept thinking to myself, "knock-on-wood, my bike is not going to fall apart, my bike is not going to fall apart". Finally, one of my pedals fell off! HA! HA! However, we really have not regretted this decision yet.
We have met quite few Romans that are in utter shock when we tell them how we get around by bicycle in Rome. Of any other city, Rome is apparently the hilliest. In addition to the hills, people have warned as about how fast and reckless drivers are in Rome. However, in retrospect Brad and I have discovered that is not actually the case. Although, cars may appear to be driving fast, they seem to be quite cautious in terms of watching that they stop for pedestrians,especially those in cross-walks and slowing down at intersections. Back in Chicago, I feel no body stops for anyone. And if you try and cross a street, most cars will not stop or even slow down. Here that is just not the case, I actually feel safer riding my back in Rome than in Chicago. For us, it has been a great way to go from place to place and to really learn the city and its surrounding neighborhoods. So far now, we are still having fun biking around, up and down Rome.