One of the smartest things I have ever done was to take a bike with me when I moved to Italy. I virtually rode the wheels off it touring around southeastern Tuscany during the time I lived there from 1994 to 2000. The black Bianchi was a fantastic touring bike which let me ride the ubiquitous strade bianche and some moderate single track. Had heavy wheels, lots of braking, and three rings up front to deal with the monstrous climbs scattered all over the area. A lot of my students brought mountain bikes over and I would occasionally borrow one to ride with them up in the hills, but mostly I rode out to distant churches or hilltowns on the Bianchi. As is all too typical, I eventually got new bike lust and traded up to the Bianchi reparto corso I still ride. I still feel like I betrayed my first Bianchi upon which I really learned my corner of Tuscany. So I post this photo in homage to the best bike I ever had. My guess is that it's still being ridden by the guy who bought it from me.
Maybe the second smartest thing I did in those years was to buy a motorcycle at a shop over in Arezzo so I could get out further from where I lived in Castiglion Fiorentino and Montepulciano. The Honda 400 touring bike was big enough to ride the Autostrade, but not big enough to get me killed. And I can tell you that riding a motorcycle through Tuscany and Umbria is one of life's most wonderful experiences. When I moved to Paris in 2000 I considered taking the Honda with me but the thought of riding around a crazy city where it rains all the time just seemed like a bummer, so I sold it. So double homage.