Bicycles across the way. Part one

I recently spent a week and a half in the Tuscany region of central Italy. My visit began with a stay in the oldest part of Florence, the section of town most amenable to tourists on foot and residents on bicycles. I saw Michelangelo’s David in the Accademia Gallery, what travel writer Rick Steves called, accurately, a roomful of Botticellis in the Uffizi Gallery, and rowers beneath the Ponte Vecchio on the Arno River.

I also saw more than a few bicycles. 

IMG_1500 I was taken with all the examples of single-speed roadsters featuring fully-enclosed chainguards. This wasn’t the only bicycle I saw with rod brakes.


Some bikes were in better shape than others, but all seemed well-suited to the task of navigating the flat roads of the city. Locking was largely city casual, capturing the frame and whatever post, or grate, was nearby.


I took a lot of pictures. And now that I’m going through them, I realize that I should have also taken some notes. Looking at the wall and post behind this bicycle, I imagine the machine was parked on a decline. But as it came out of the camera, the bike seems so casually braced against the force of gravity that I have decided not to adjust the angle of the shot.

I’m sure this will continue to bother me. But there it is.


This may have been the first picture I took in Florence. I like the twin racks, the kickup in the top tube as it ascends to an adjacent understanding with the head tube, and the wrapped chain that gives the bike a little reassuring hug in the absence of any fixed object to secure it to.

Points too, for the pedal used as kickstand. By rights, it ought to be a precarious way to park, but I never saw a bicycle that might have been parked this way sprawled across sidewalk or street.

Let me know when you get sick of the pictures; I’m only putting a few in each post.

About 16incheswestofpeoria

Former bicycle mechanic, current peruser of books, feeder of birds.
This entry was posted in Other bicycles, Report from the road and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Bicycles across the way. Part one

  1. Lar Davis says:

    Oh, you’re just teasing us – give us a show!

  2. Pingback: Crossing the bridge. 30 days of biking, #29 | 16incheswestofpeoria

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