LEAVE THE LAMBORGHINI IN THE GARAGE. FORGET ABOUT THE FERRARI. IN ITALY, THE BICYCLE IS NOW KING OF THE ROAD.

(NATS IN ITALIAN)

65-YEAR-OLD SISTER ROSELLA SAYS BIKING BEATS ROME'S NOTORIOUS TRAFFIC.

BUT IT'S NOT JUST A MATTER OF CONVENIENCE. IN RECESSION-PLAGUED ITALY, PEOPLE have FIGURED OUT THAT IT COSTS A LOT LESS TO OWN A BIKE THAN A CAR.

THE GOVERNMENT SAYS LAST YEAR BIKE SALES HIT ONE-MILLION-650-THOUSAND. A QUARTER-MILLION MORE BIKES WERE SOLD THAN CARS.

THIS BIKE SHOP HAS BEEN OPERATING IN ROME'S CITY CENTER SINCE 1899.

(NATS IN ITALIAN)

BUT OWNER DANILO SAYS THERE'S been A LOT MORE INTEREST IN BIKES IN THE LAST YEAR OR SO.

(NATS IN ITALIAN)

STUDENT DIANA SAYS PEOPLE who RIDE BIKES TO SAVE MONEY-- END UP HAVING REAL CONTACT WITH THE CITY.

BUT SOME SAY THERE'S TOO MUCH CONTACT.

(NATS IN ITALIAN)

CRISTINA SAYS THE DENSE TRAFFIC AND LACK OF DEDICATED BIKE LANES CAN MAKE TAKING TO TWO WHEELS DANGEROUS.

BUT OTHERS SAY THERE'S POWER IN NUMBERS--AND EXPECT THE USE OF BIKES TO CONTINUE TO SPEED PAST CARS.

MATT FRIEDMAN. ASSOCIATED PRESS.

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