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Monday, October 13, 2014

A New Bauletto: the Curious Charms of Porta Portese


Porta Portese is best known for its enormous Sunday flea market, and perhaps to motorists for the rather harrowing twist into and through the porta from the Lungotevere.  But it has still another attraction: as the site of the biggest collection of shops devoted to scooters and motorcycles--and bicycles.  You need it, it's there: helmets, gloves, jackets, pants--and yes, bauletti, the lockable storage boxes for helmets and clothes and the like that sit on the back of the machines.  And we needed one.  Ours was old, and the hard rubber pieces that anchored the bauletto to the metal frame above the rear fender were cracked and warped, to the point that we were worried about it falling off.

Our Malaguti at box 40
The entrance to the narrow back alley of shack-like shops at Porta Portese can be intimidating; you feel like the white guy in the ghetto.  Still, we summoned our courage and drove the Malaguti 250 into the center of things, asked a few questions, and in less than two minutes had found the right shop--box 40--and the right bauletto.  Although Porta Portese is known as a discount place, the bauletto is not cheap: Euro 110 [about 150 bucks] with or without installation.

Price includes installation
Installation is important.  The connections are tricky, require parts and tools most people don't have, and more than a little experience at the curiously intricate task.

Crowd gathers

The job took about 20 minutes and, as it turned out, attracted the attention, and the assistance, of other shopkeepers.  It was a slow day.  We fretted that somehow our machine wouldn't accomodate the new bauletto.

But then it was done, and off we went, pleased.


Bicycles, too

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