Monday, September 19

the graziella

This past saturday was the well attended event in Rome "la Notte Bianca" during which millions of people stayed out all night to take advantage of the open shops and restaurants and the free museums and concerts. It was also the night of the Graziella World Champion Race
The Graziella is, in my opinion, among the worlds ugliest bicycles. Its function is limited by the gigantic hinge in the middle. It is a collapsable bicycle that nobody ever folds. I see them abandoned on the outskirts of every town, rusted permanently shut (or open, if you prefer) and after seeing them in action I am determined to bring one home.
The race consisted of two revolutions of Circus Massimus which is the historic site of the rape of the sabine women. There was a required pitstop after the first lap for two glasses of wine, after which the cyclists went pedaling madly into the dark and the cold, their little wheels splashing through the mud. Mud?!! Somehow, on this important night, nature gave us twelve hours of thunderstorms. But this did not deter the dedicated riders-spectators and racers alike-who endured the chilling midnight wetness for a love of the graziella. I got the feeling that this is the sort of thing that might not happen back inthe states.

Sunday, September 18

Sunday, September 11

talk about dumb luck.

20 feet from home and my bike is demolished. it wasn't my fault, or was it? maybe i was the one dumb enough to think you could ride a bike in the street at 1:30 on a friday night.

Tuesday, September 6

riding stairs in naples

I have just gone round southern Italy by bike and now I have a place in Rome. Yes, Rome is a dynamic environment for riding. I really love it but the wide roman boulevards and the generally polite drivers cannot compete with Naples for sheer death-wish heart-stopping nighttime riding. I have never before been is such wonderful chaos. After I took off the panniers I went out for a pizza and beer in the spanish quarter. Riding in there is like being caught in a flash flood. the streets are rough with trolly tracks and broken glass. the cars and scooters are held together with tape and some do not even have lights. They come and go oin the narrow alleyways at will--always fast. From a sidestreet may shoot a stroller or a truck but nobody stops or even slows. hey, a vespa with a 13 year old smoking and honking after his girl. Chase him if you can its like playing with wasps. in the center of a rotunda it is a no-mans land. No other biker is fast enough to to enter or exit. in fact, there are few othe cyclists. Maybe they have been afraid, or killed off. And for dessert, try riding the tricky stairs that go all the way from the fortress on the hill to the sea. You will be very happy if you survive.

by David Sanford