In September, following a Fargo rebuild with s Rohloff Speedhub I have went to ride it in Italy. This time, though, I haven’t ridden my bike from A to B. Instead, I cheated and went my wife on a car. The revelation that had followed I have succinctly nicknamed “car-a-bike”.
In a very concrete sense this is a huge departure from self sufficiency that I strive to achieve. However, it’s a fantastic motivation for traveling. Usually I don’t like visiting cities that much. I consider most kinds of conventional travel unsatisfying. Yet after a difficult day in the saddle it is a joy to take a hot shower, take a nap on a comfy bed and then proceed for an evening stroll in the area followed by a nice dinner.
The car lets you focus on the most difficult and challenging roads. A cycling tour, however, requires careful planning to ensure the route is not too exhausting. Also, to get to the truly exciting parts one needs to cycle through relatively long stretches of uninspiring roads.
The full cycling itinerary
Most of the route planning was undertaken by my wife. There’s an excellent resource Italy Cycling Guide which offers loads of routes and suggestions.
Day 1 (aka Speedhub in Italy)
I had zero problems with the bike. Test riding and debugging beforehand helped immensely. The gearing on Speedhub along with a 36t felt sufficient for the steepest climbs.
To fit everything into a rented Volvo V60 station wagon I had to disassemble pretty much everything. Having a bike with Rohloff makes it much easier: there’s no derailleur sticking out and there’s no cable adjustments necessary.
Summary: 77.1km, 1630m vertical ascent, GPS track
Day 2 (aka Riders on the storm)
Raining cats and dogs for about 2-3 hours. I got completely soaked. Still, getting soaked in summer in Italy is way better than getting soaked along the Rhine river in early spring.
Summary: 86.4km, 1822m vertical ascent, GPS track
Day 3 (aka The easiest ride in life)
What was anticipated as another 1800m+ climb day turned out to be a blazing fast descent. The route went from the hills all the way down to the beach. I averaged 26kmh on my Fargo which is a lot more than my usual touring speed of 13-18.
Summary: 67.1km, 26.4kmh average speed (on a Fargo!), GPS track
Day 4 (aka The best 60km of my life)
Hills and mountains make cycling challenging and painful but so rewarding and addictive. Though I started cycling up mountain passes less than a year ago I can’t get enough of it.
Summary: 59.7km, 1954m vertical ascent, GPS track
Day 5 (aka The final day of biking)
Summary: 60.6km, 1864m vertical ascent, GPS track
I’m looking forward to more of these rides.