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Published: October 13th 2016
We are back home now (Oct 13), safe and mostly sound after two and a half weeks in Italy. We keep reminding ourselves that is a long vacation by many standards even though it wasn’t the five-week tour that we had planned. Biking was wonderful, the scenery spectacular, people friendly, and food and wine were superb. We loved it.
The memories of a bike trip that we treasure are the warm days with just enough sun, a slight tail wind, and effortless pedaling along scenic back roads. However, we have heard from many of you reading this that you love the stories of the tough times when we pitted ourselves against the weather and bike gods, surviving in a sodden heap at the end of the day. Some of the classic tales from previous tours include Kit breaking three spokes in his rear wheel descending a remote pass in Portugal, limping to the next town by unclipping the rear brake and riding on a very wobbly rear wheel, only to find no bike repair shop. We spent the following day wobbling to two more towns before finding a very helpful mechanic at a café on his lunch siesta who took
us in his van to his bike shop and had us back on the road in an hour. And who could forget Scotland with its sideways sleet and snow that felt like it drew blood from our cheeks or the headwinds that sucked our breath and nearly stopped us in our tracks. The bike gods on the Erie Canal towpath managed to salt the trail with more ways to get flats than we thought possible in addition to putting the bikes of two of our friends out of commission. The C&O canal towpath entertained us with days of pushing and slipping through epic, biblical, technical mud.
On this trip to Italy, the third day of biking brought us Kit’s frame break followed by the loudest and most spectacular tire blowout that I could ever imagine. We were lucky to find a welding shop that could fix the frame and we had spare tires and tubes for the repair. We foolishly thought this misfortune would satisfy the bike gods and give us the karma necessary to enjoy the rest of the trip. Our luck held for nearly two weeks until I twisted my knee and couldn’t bend it enough to
walk down stairs, making biking impossible. We finished the trip with several days in Rome, saw some of the sights, and were able to get seats on a good flight home. While we were in Rome, Kit took the high-speed train all the way to Lecce, deep in the heel of the Italian boot, to pick up the bike suitcases where we had shipped them to our expected endpoint. This was quite a round trip -- 5 1/2 hours each way in one day, with a few hours to tour the old town of Lecce.
And Italy had another parting gift for each of us. The first flight from Rome to Newark was easy and uneventful. We even had comfortable bulkhead seats and early boarding due to my knee problem. However, on the connecting flight from Newark to Seattle, Kit had the onset of flu and was sick to his stomach for most of the trip. Meanwhile, the many “mosquito bites” that I thought I got on my last night in Rome were itching and not too comfortable. Remember that Dante died of malaria in Ravenna and we saw mosquitos around in October. By the time we arrived in
Seattle the “mosquito bites” turned out to be hives from an allergic reaction. We are happily at home now, Kit is over the flu, and I am on meds for a reaction to something in my last meal in Rome.
Will we do more bike trips? We certainly expect so. The great times always remain with us and we can (usually) laugh at the not so great times. Will we return to Italy and finish this trip? Yes. Probably. Maybe. We don’t really know. Wherever our paths lead, may the wind be always at your back and the sun shine warm upon your face.
Tot: 2.714s; Tpl: 0.057s; cc: 19; qc: 88; dbt: 0.0559s; 2; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.5mb