In general, the bikers move fast, dominate the streets in large groups, and carry everything from babies to groceries to friends to pets. Padova even had a biking festival during which everyone with a bike took to the streets at the same time (not too different from any weekday at rush hour) on a preplanned circuit of the city on a sunny Sunday morning. It was almost impossible to cross the street on foot during this, "Yes We Bike" event.
The first thing you will notice about the bikes of Padova is that, like everything else in Italy, they are ancient. Most of them look like they have been handed down in families for generations. Apparently, any halfway decent bike will get stolen, so the less appealing your bike, the better. People ride small kids' bikes, bikes without breaks, bikes with makeshift seats, and bikes that have been spray painted or covered in stickers. Also, since people do all their errands on bikes, the bikes are outfitted to carry stuff (and people, see below). Many bikes have both a basket on the front and a rack on the back (which doubles as a seat for a friend).
|A typical Padova bike (I have more pictures of great bikes, but sadly cannot get them off my phone)|
Good Bike service. I have not tried it yet, but apparently they have over 20 bike sharing stations all around town where you can pick up and drop of a bike (with a basket, of course). It looks like a good deal, too. Maybe I will get brave enough to take to the streets on a good bike!