Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Can I See Your ID?

Yesterday I wrote about how sneaky Leif has been (I'm going to say it is unintentional, though) about getting me on a bike. Well, today, for whatever perverse reason I might have had in my mind at 8am, I decided to go for a ride. Without Leif. In fact, while he is 60 miles away riding with a bunch of Russians on a training tour. I'll show him...what I'll show him I don't quite know. Maybe that it is MY choice to ride. I am actually starting to enjoy it, but after all the whining I have done I doubt that he's going to believe me.

So I got dressed in my biking stuff and borrowed a shirt of his that I have used in the past. I do have to say that those shirts are kinda nice. There are three pockets in the back, and you can fit quite a lot of stuff in there if you pack carefully. And so...phone: check. Keys: check. A couple of euros in case I get hungry: check. Three pockets, three things to carry. This is working out pretty sweet. People also seem to have a little respect for people wearing actual cycle clothing instead of an old t-shirt and khaki shorts. I blend as much as a blond woman on a bicycle can blend in Italy. So not much, but they at least say hello now.

I head out into the brisk morning and enjoy the fact that I have thought ahead enough to leave before rush hour really starts. It makes for a nicer ride if  you aren't fighting with everyone for a piece of road. I was pretty sure I could find my way to the park and if I couldn't it didn't really matter as there would be no witnessses. I could spend three hours wandering around Florence looking for the park and no one would be wiser.

I'm thinking I'm doing all right when I suddenly remembered something. Well, remembered something that I forgot. I have no identification on me at all. No drivers license (useless here, in case you were wondering), no passport, and no insurance card. Naturally I began to worry about sudden disasters like an accident that would give me amnesia and I would be lost in the hospital system for months before Leif found me. Suddenly every intersection became dangerous. A scooter following a van too closely nearly ran me over. A car appeared from behind a hedge and only my reflexes saved me from running into it. Little children seemed intent on running into my path. Cobblestones that I swear were there yesterday disappeared overnight leaving gaping holes that could swallow my bike whole.

All that worrying sort of sucked the joy of riding directly to the park without getting lost once. I decided to celebrate reaching the park alive with a refreshing drink of water. Humph. Where was the water I had filled and left by the door? Ah, yeah, still by the door. Maybe I should have just gone home at that point, but in Minnesota we aren't brought up to be quitters. I know there's a fountain at the other end of the park. I'll just tank up there and ride sensibly.

I decide that riding sensibly today means moving quickly enough to keep upright, but slow enough so that I won't sweat. I don't want to lose any valuable fluids that I won't be able to replenish immediately. It's still pretty cool, so I don't have to contend with heat from the sun. I've got that going for me anyway. I focus on breathing through my nose so that I won't lose precious fluids by breathing through my mouth. Yeah, I'm a little nuts, but I fugure every little bit helps. This wasn't as hard as it might seem. Riding slow enough to NOT sweat meant that I wasn't panting like a dog and I took some allergy meds before I left so my nose actually worked as a breathing apperatus instead of simply something to hold my sunglasses up.

Out and back I ride, stopping at the fountain again to rehydrate. Of course, I wasn't out of the woods yet. I still had to get back home. This was two hours later and Florence was awake now. Every slow biker in town was going my way. I think there was a baby stroller convention going on somewhere. It was exciting. I didn't relax till I was back inside my apartment with the door locked. Most car accidents happen within five miles of home (I may be wrong, but I think that's a fact the insurance companies have spent billions of our dollars to discover) and I'm sure that distance is shortened when on a bike. With my luck I would be run over at my front door by someone trying to park their car on the sidewalk. Yes, on the sidewalk. This is a common practice here and the main floor of our building is a car repair shop.  Someone is always parked on our sidewalk.

I got home and sent Leif a text assuring him that I got home safely. Of course, now that I think of it, he has absolutely no idea that I had all this mental anguish during my ride. He's probably not too impressed by the fact that I got home and is assuming that this is some American term he isn't familiar with. Maybe I'll just leave it at that.

1 comment:

  1. I was blessed with the opportunity to live in Florence for about 7 weeks when I was in college (studying on scholarship). I absolutely love the stories I came home with, and the way of life (and especially love of FOOD) there. I envy your adventure. Thanks for sharing!