Architects, like any other tourists (or travellers if they will) spend a lot of time pounding the pavement looking at bricks and mortar. Architects are just more selective (or obsessive) about which bricks and mortar. It can often be a race around a beautiful city to locate that one masterpiece which you have been longing to see. If you do this on feet you inevitably weaken. Public transport takes a lot of organisation, and you miss a bit of the city (at speed), but you meet people. Cabs are expensive and you still miss a lot of the city.

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This is when you turn to mankind’s most pleasing invention, the bicycle. You get places, you see the city and you meet people. And as your longed for masterpiece appears over the horizon, it can be fully appreciated in its context.

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Furthermore, you can ride your bicycle every day!  Which is important, if not essential.

I have tried  bikeshares before, with mixed results.  I have bought a bike when I arrived in a city before, and wasted a day.

This time round, I am prepared. I have my Brompton (folding bicycle) with me. Good design- but more importantly- painstaking, loving continuous design development. . I have tried 3 other types of folding bikes, but the Brompton is the queen. Nice ride, robust, great luggage, and it folds up to the smallest dimensions. It is  steel and is one of the few things still made in the land from that brought us the Industrial Revolution.

A bike, with luggage and lighting. Shaken down and sorted out for six months before the trip. A dynamo added, glitches fixed. Lubricated, illuminated, inflated. Spares and tools.

Its been flown out, packed into a sleeper cabin, carried on a train to Venice.

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Where riding a bike is illegal…….

But are we not in Italy, home of the bicycle?

No we are in Venice, disembarking from the vaporetto

“Please do not  ride that, if you do I will have to fine you”

“Really?”

“Yes, an Englishman was fined yesterday in San Marco!”

I recovered fairly quickly.

“But if I leave it folded like so, it’s a trolley for my luggage, no?”

“ Well if you say so”

So roll my covered bike to the hotel and lug it up five floors.

Where it remained while we walked around Venice.

Because you do not need a bicycle in Venice. Its made for walking. Streets , footpaths, alleys, Callies, Rios, bridges,  ramps, stepped ramps, raised footpaths.

No bike paths, required when thre are no cars.

Also none of the street furniture and signage that come with cars

no bollards,

street furmiture,

traffic lights,

signage,

lane markings

parking meters

no kerbs or gutters

no speed cameras

no 1500 watt street lights

no bitumen and concrete

A uniform stone pavement, designed and colour coded (white marble risers) to help walking.

its not just the cars that are the problem- its the infrastructure too

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