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Novembre 2006

I want to ride my bicycle

bici+trenoIf you plan to live and study in Florence for a long period it may be useful to know that a cheap and convenient mean of transportation is the bike. Yes, I know what you are thinking: “but where can I get a bike in Florence?”. You can either rent it or buy it, of course. The first option is only recommendable for a couple of days or maximum a week, because otherwise it can be rather expensive. offers for example a city bike for 14 Euro a day or for just 2.70 Euro an hour. Buying a bike is the other and best alternative, as long as you buy a second hand bike. There are just a few little bike shops (I can recommend you two: one in via del Corno and one in via della Vigna Vecchia) in the centre, where if you are lucky you may find some good bargains. Anyway, consider that a used standard bike should not cost more than 70 Euro, and do not forget that you can sell the bike back when you leave.
So, once you have a bike enjoy the city, but beware of the erratic driving of the locals especially along the main roads around the city centre! Also use bike tracks where you find them (marked lanes or shared footways, here is a map of them). Bike parking facilities cannot always be within reach, but in the centre they are scattered in the main streets and squares. Always remember to padlock your bike securely and during the night never leave it outside in the nearby of the station.
After just few days with your bike you will realize that Florence is a small city and that you can cross the centre in less than 20 minutes or go wherever you like. incerataYou can also use your bike for outings, such as the little town of Fiesole (a bit hilly!) or the Medici’s villas or the Stibbert museum with its beautiful park. For real tough people here is also a list of itineraries out of town (in Italian, sigh!), which are quite long and difficult. Moreover, in most of the regional trains you are allowed to take your bike with you by paying an extra-ticket of just 3.50 Euro, so that you may have the opportunity to ride your bicycle throughout other Tuscan towns.
Finally, do you want to ride your bike even if it rains cats and dogs? Buy a rainsuit (in Italian “incerata” or “tuta impermeabile” see the picture, approximate cost: 10 Euro) and you will never get soaked!.

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