9.29.2014

Firenze Cycling MeetUp

Fed up of pro-cycling, still in love with my bike, I created a Meet Up:
To be honest I simply meant to join one but I found out that there was none in my area: not a single group of 'easy riders' like me. No 'cycling' MeetUp at all indead. It's weird considering that Florence hosted the Cycling World Championships last year... You can see how much it affected the daily life. 
Dont get me wrong, I'm not saying that people in Florence don't do cycling. Commuters are many - me included... when working - and you meet often cyclists on road race bikes. The point is that in Florence cycling is a solitary stuff and mostly a men's stuff. Cyclists you meet on the road are 99% men, usually aged. There are amateurs groups, usually linked to bike shops, and they are younger but all men and very competitive. Women are few and almost always riding with their men, or alone. Looking closer... they are often foreigners traveling Tuskany by bike.
Then there is Firenze in Bici, affiliated to FIAB, that organises bike trips and also supports cyclists' claims in a meritorious and frustrating debate with the public administration. They don't really like race bikes: they are more the city bikes type. They tend to be vaguely hostile toward race bikes and openly hostile toward pro-cycling, considered as a completely different thing than cycling style of life (commuting, family rides on Sunday, active holydays... you know... ).
Then there is the Critical Mass, that I contributed to found many years ago (in 2002 more or less): "We don't block the traffic: we ARE the traffic" is the motto. It's a kind of joyful bike guerrilla born together with Seattle-Davos-Porto Alegre movement. It culminated in the Florence Social Forum when tens of thousands people paralysed the city just riding their bikes. It was thrilling. And we went on for some years. But numbers decreased together with the sad agony of the anti-globalisation movement... so the 'mass' wasn't 'critical' anymore. The Florence Critical Mass is still alive though: they meet all Thursday in Piazza Santa Maria Annunziata at 6 pm. But it's a completely different thing: minority, aggressive, populated by students. It was born 'alternative' but not so extremely 'off': I still like it but I need a 'social cycling group' for my road race bike.
This morning I shared an Irfan quote: ""If opportunity doesnt knock,  build a door". Irfan is the mystic way of Shia Islam (the equivalent of Sufi in Sunni Islam) and I think it has got a point. So I created the group I was missing, I'm now waiting for 'easy riders' to join. 

Do you fancy and easy ride?

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