With the nation's unemployment at a record 10.7 percent and facing the prospect of deepening austerity cuts and rising inflation, many Italians are trading in their more costly cars for cheaper two-wheelers. Recent statistics on Italy's automobile market show that it contracted 24.7 percent in September 2012 compared to 2011, with new car sales falling below bike sales in Italy for the first time since World War II. At the same time, bike sales are higher than ever, climbing 10 percent last year to 1.75 million units sold, compared to the 1.748 million cars registered the same year. There are many reasons why biking is better than driving, but there is still room for improvement. Biking in Florence (and other Italian cities) is still a far cry from the high safety levels of pedalling in more bike-friendly cities across the Atlantic, such as Portland, Oregon. Julie Butterfield reflects on her experience biking in Florence and the trials and tribulations of getting from point A to point B on two wheels-and arriving in one piece.