My precious (1)

Today i made a statement :  I want to live in a city where i can regularly ride a bicycle.

And to think that a little more than a year ago, i had no idea what i was missing …

Everybody was doing it –  some of my friends had just purchased new shiny professional bikes, some had old dusty ones…

 So yes, it was time.

At the beginning, it wasn’t as much fun as i thought it would be ;) I got on, but after the first 2 minutes i was already on the sidewalk, whining about how sports and bicycles and everything are not for me.  So yes, by getting back on and actually managing to keep my balance while going down a small hill, i think that i overcame a barrier….  just like the 6 year old girl that was learning how to ride her roller-blades in the same open area. Yey for us :)

It all went  pretty well from there:  actually using the pedals to go up the hill without touching the ground was nothing. And then came the circles, from left to right….   Right to left though – took me a longer time. I eventually nailed it, of course, and, in no time, i was riding a bicycle. I couldn’t believe how much i was missing – cycling  is soooo much fun. Going towards the sunset, or the forest, down a steep hill, feeling the wind in your hair …  and the bugs in your eyes and all the  holes in the asphalt :)

And thus, one of the first things that i did when i got back to Milan was to go to the used market and buy a stolen bicycle. And those have been the best spent 65 euro of my life.

Me and my bike have a special relationship. I take care of it, i inflate her wheels, i keep her clean ….  i did break the basket, the light and some of the metal connections –  but we got over it and we are ok now.   I keep her safe, by not letting her outside unattended  at night… or during the day, for that matter. I wouldn’t want her to return to the used market ;)

I do not really use it for transportation, but more for fun, for exploring, for getting away.  So yes, i hope that I and my precious will be together for a while. Because in order to keep my balance –  and my sanity –  i need to keep moving.

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Azi itsi cumparam bicicleta ! Partea 1

Voiam eu demult bicicleta, insa niciodata nu parea momentul potrivit. Pai, nici acuma in septembrie nu era : financiar eram in minus, profesional : in cautare, personal : in uitare. Plus la asta, era inceputul ultimului meu semestru in Italia. Multi s-au mirat , “Acuma te-ai trezit sa iti cumperi bicicleta?? ” Bine ca m-am trezit acuma, mi-am zis. Si anume din cauza ca e ultimul meu semestru in Italia, as vrea sa fie memorabil, diferit, interesant. Iar astazi, in 20 decembrie 2011, cu o zi inainte de plecare, pot sa zic ca mi-a reusit. Au fost 4 luni destul de pline.

Prima data ne-am pornit noi cu TS dupa bicicleta intr-o joi, cred ca era 22 septembrie 2011, dupa cum am dedus din cele ce au urmat. Vorbisem cu niste lume, ma uitasem pe internet in momente cind luam mici/mari pauze de la lucru, si … uitasem harta acasa. Eram destul de entuziasmata – prima mea bicicleta ! Voiam sa fie rosie si voiam sa fie frumoasa si mai voiam sa nu cad de pe ea :)

Ne-am pornit voioshi spre Porta Genova, am facut vreo 2 cercuri, pe urma am decis sa mergem in directia opusa, am mai facut 2 cercuri, si  pe urma am decis ca ne trebuie niste inspiratie. Trecusem deja cel putin o data pe linga un mic carrefour – ce idee buna.  Inspiratia era insa calda, asa ca noi, dupa o metoda ingenioasa, am plasat berea intr-un congelator, sub niste legume.  Intre timp, am analizat toate produsele din magazin –  am citit etichete de nucushoare, de dulcetsuri, de bomboane, am analizat carnurile si legumele.  Magazinul era insa mic si  noi cam dadeam de banuit vinzatorilor, care inca incepusera sa caute nu mai stiu ce in exact acel congelator cu legume unde se odihnea berea noastra. Nu prea se racise ea, insa berea e bere, mai ales intr-o zi calda.

in drum mai vazusem si un parc destul de placut, asa ca ne-am refugiat acolo, pe un scaun in apropierea unui loc de joaca pentru copii. Minori pe acolo nu erau, asa ca am savurat pe indelete cite un Moretti. Ma mai uitam eu cu jind la cei ce treceau cu bicicletele pe linga noi, insa chiar daca nu avea sa cumparam in acea zi, stiam ca avea sa fie in alta zi, cu siguranta.

Plimbarea a devenit dupa aia si mai placuta. Iarasi am facut vreo 2 cercuri, am ajuns la statia urmatoare de metro, pe urma ne-am intors si am luat-o de la capat. Am fost in gara, am trecut peste un pod, am schimbat directia de vreo 5 ori, pina am ajuns la o Esselunga. Ora era deja tirzie, o a 2-a bere era riscanta, asa ca ne-am aciuat pe bordura linga niste flori cu doar niste cremvushti, 2 kindere si o sticla mare de Nestea. Foarte comod, cit eram acolo, s-a parcat o bicicleta roz – insa planul nostru uragan de a o sustrage a fost intrerupt de catre paznicul Esselunga, care tot tragea cu ochiul la noi. Plus ca nu o voiam, era roz :)

Iarasi plini de energie, am facut drumul inapoi, care deja ne-a parut mult mai scurt. Insa, de data asta, am decis sa intrebam pe cineva daca stie ceva de piata. Si, cum era si de asteptat, piata se face doar simbata –  o informatie care ar fi fost utila cu vreo 2 ore in urma, insa, altfel, nu am mai fi avut o plimbare atit de placuta si nici nu ar mai fi avut povestea mea 2 parti.

How it all began – My precious (2)

This semester is kinda me doing all the stuff that previously i had either no time or no courage or no partner for. And i can truly say that  outdoor experiences are amazing, but sharing them makes them extraordinary.

It took me a while to get to learning how to ride a bicycle –  about 26 years –  but i did it. But it was not easy. It started with sitting on the sidewalk whining that “riding that thing is not for me”, but ended with “Weheeeeeeeeeeee  ” down a hill in Durlesti – near Chisinau, Moldova.

I had no idea what i was missing out on. Aside from the actual ride, it is all about where a bicycle can get you :  and in my case, the destination was out and away.

I can truly say that i have seen more of Milan in 3 months than in 4 years. And all due to a red shiny bicycle. Well, it not so shiny anymore, as it has seen more than one muddy park, but underneath it all, it is still red.

I vouched to keep it safe –  and thus it sleeps in my room, as the thought of leaving it outside for ambiguous emigrants to steal is too unsettling. It takes a bit of effort to take it upstairs and back –  but having it there reminds me that there are so many places that i have seen and yet so many places left to see. The Map of Milan is no longer the same to me – it used to be just streets and green patches every here and there. Now it has become memories.

I used to take it out more often, but now i just dream of the warm , sunny autumn days when leaves, cold or rain were not an issue. Not all is lost though, as now i  too understand why they say that he who knows how to ride a bicycle never forgets it.

How it all began – My precious

It is never too late to learn, and it is never too late to buy your first bicycle.

We first went out to seek the market for used bicycles on a sunny September Wednesday. I knew i only had one semester left in Milan, but i had already decided that it did not matter –  i would invest in a bicycle and would enjoy those last months in the city. And enjoy them I did.

The first attempt to buy me a bike was not fruitful in the direct sense –  after wondering around the area for a couple of hours, we decided to ask a bored policeman about the market and found out that it was only held on Saturday. Oh well, no harm done –  it was a really beautiful  morning and we had enjoyed it by having Kinder Surprise in a parking lot near Esselunga where we were suspected of planning a grand theft ( we were kinda pointing at the bicycles and discussing a particular pink one), by discovering 2 parks, by discussing existential issues at length and by planning extensively all the wonderful things i would do once i had IT. Once i had the BICYCLE. 

Officially, the used Market of Sinigalia is for people to sell their own belongings, but that is the official version. In reality,  more than half of the stuff there is stolen. Especially the bicycles. That is why there is police patrolling the perimeter in order to oversee the sale/purchase of items –  an activity through which they to diminish the cases of theft around the city. But more about how WE got to sit into a police car for about 30 min in another post.

So there we were, at the gates of the market. Full of ambiguous characters, the area reeked of illegality –  but we knew what we came for. i knew that my future baby was someone else’s baby once – but i was gonna take good care of it, and, most importantly, i was gonna keep it away from ending up at that market again.

We first tried the bicycle that some Romanians were selling –  but firstly, it was suspiciously cheap and secondly, i NEVER EVER do business with my own kind because i know what people are capable of. So, we moved on.

Ever since we entered , there was one gal that kept winking at us with its big wheels. it was shiny red, pretty clean, smooth and restless to be taken out for a spin. It was the prettiest one there –  reaching out for me, with the sporty handles and the comfy basket, the cool seat and the pro gears…  I had to make it mine. My precious. 

(To be continued)