Thursday, November 8, 2012

(sort of)Revolution of a cyclist: The secret to moving to Italy

There are hundreds of books and magazine articles written about moving to a foreign country to live. They're filled with often useful, but just as often useless ideas for how to make the transition from your home country to your host county less stressful.

I read a couple of books and numerous articles. I read blogs and talked to people. Not one of them came close to being as useful as what I learned lately. I discovered the secret to building a life in Italy. One not mentioned in any book or article. One that I would never have thought of on my own. It's practically fool-proof. All you have to do is ride a road bike.

It's like some kind of secret society. For two years I have been here, riding my little heart out on my mountain bike, and no one has shown any interest in riding with me or even doing anything with me socially. Suddenly when I get a road bike I get invitations from everyone to come and ride with them. Not complete strangers, but people I know and have done the occasional dinner or aperitivo with in the last couple of years.

So now I'm going to give you my probably 100% guaranteed way to connect with the people you need in Italy.

  • If you don't already, start riding a road bike at least a year before you make the move.
  • One of the first things you should do when you get to Italy is get on your bike and ride to the nearest bike shop and ask the person behind the counter if they know of any bike teams you could ride with or someone to show you around the area.
  • In less than 10 seconds you'll probably have at least two or three offers to ride with various individuals or groups who just happen to be in the store at the time. And the names of several others who don't happen to be there right now.
  • Ride with everyone you can and that, my friend, is how you build a life here.

In any given group of riders you are bound to find lawyers, doctors, architects, hotel and restaurant owners, electricians, plumbers and many other professions that will make your life here simpler.. And you in return can do whatever it is you do for them.

You'd think something this simple and therefore so profound would be in every book and article ever written about moving to Italy. Obviously they were written by non-cyclists. Too bad, they're missing out on one of the best ways to meet people here.

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