Sunday, 29 July 2007


when i arrived in Florence in the late afternoon after a very long and uphill day, i knew that the campsite was on a hill south of the river overlooking the city. All i had to do was find the river and then the correct bridge to cross over it. 40 minutes later, i had arrived at the campsite and was looking forward to getting off the trike and setting up the tent on a nice shady flat piece of land. What i got was mostly gravel with limited shade from a small olive tree. On the bright side the beer at the bar was cold and wet.

The next day, having woken up at about my usual time of " too damn early" i took the short stroll into Florence. It was nice to be able to bimble around without the tourist herd. By about 08:30 i found myself by the cathedral. At the same time the entrance to the dome opened and after paying my 6 euros i climbed the 463 steps to the top of the dome. The views were well worth the effort! It would not be something that i would do in the hot and stuffy going up the spiral stone staircases.

After that brief bout of exercise i took to meandering around the streets. Bumped into Dave, however he didn't say much, just stood there looking off somewhere in the distance. A few museums caught my eye and i spent a few hours walking around them. Then, brought a paper, bottle of wine and sat outside my tent relaxing.

The following day was spent at the campsite, getting the clothes clean, resting the legs and wondering if it actually possible to massage knees

My time in Florence was limited to three can only spend so much time looking at things till boredom sets in and i was wondering what the lie of the land was like over the hill....

from Venice to Florence

I left Venice after spending 4 rest full nights there. Because of the little break i had the idea of taking it easy for the 1st day and just go about 50k down the road.....that didn't happen DOH! instead i ended up going about 100ks along the coast. Well, the pizzas did need to be burnt off!

Spent a hot and sweaty night in a German friendly campsite on the Adriatic coast. At least they had some decent German beer :). The next day, i decided to go cross country. 80ks later i finally pull up outside a hotel in the little town of Brisighella, tired, hot and feeling very knackered! However, as the hotel had a/c i didn't mind that much.After a beer induced rest full night i awoke feeling alot better but still with slightly aching legs. Luckily it was only 88k to Florence and there were only two mountain passes to go over!

Back in the mountains with tired legs....not the quickest day I've had cycling. I started at 08:30 and didn't get to the campsite till 17:30. looking back....the last 28ks i could of done another day ( after a night in a hotel, with a bath!)

So in the last 3 days I've covered over 270km.....could someone tell why?

Monday, 23 July 2007

across the north to Venice

Its taken me 10 days to get to Venice from the french border. Yes, even i am surprised it was that quick! The roads in this part of Italy are as you might of guessed straight and definitely flat ( well compared to the alps anyway). I even managed to trike 95k in a day, although that was the exception rather than the rule. Most days i look at doing 70-80k which takes about 6 hours on the road. At one point i was able to 28k in one me that is fast for my trike!!!!!

The towns I've camped in have all been in campsites that are about a 30 minute walk from the town centre, so unlike France, when i get to the campsite in the mid afternoon i pretty much stay there swinging in my hammock keeping out of the hot hot sun! ( i hear its quite wet in England these days ) On the two occasions that I've "camped" in a hotel/hostel i did make good use of the fact that they were in the centre of the town.

Today, i am spending my second day walking around the city of Venice. Its a 20 minute boat trip from the campsite. It's a beautiful city with a confusing maze of streets, passageways and bridges. After about 10 minutes on the 1st day i gave up trying to use the city map and just wondered around.

So far i have managed to resist the temptation of buying tourist crap (sorry "quality gifts from Venice") and have just stuck to the traditional buying of beer and pizza. Its great when you can eat what you like knowing that the next day you'll be burning all those calories off. If you ever want to lose weight, increase muscle mass and lung capacity.......get yourself on a bike and cycle to the north east of Italy

Tomorrow I'll be having a day at the campsite and then i will be back on the road on Friday, heading down the coast for a few days before heading inland to Florence.

Saturday, 14 July 2007

my last day in France

So this is last day in France.

the road it Italy was 37kms long and the pass (itself 17km in length) went over the Col de Larche at 1991m above sea level. The highest pass so far. Talk about saving the best till last.

The day started well and after spending the last 10 days or so triking uphill i was finally getting the hang of it! After about 2 hours on the road i came to the start of the pass. It started steep and lets face it, for the next 17kms it wasn't going to start going downhill!

After just over an hour i came into the little village of Larche, just 7kms from the summit. Feeling the need to refresh and refuel i have an early lunch at a cafe. Half an hour later i was once again ready to go.

The following 6.5kms were spent mostly looking about 20 yards ahead whilst breathing in and out quite deeply and occasionally wiping the sweat from my face.

I sensed that i was getting near the top and as i turned a corner it turned out to be the last. There 400m ahead of my was the top of the pass. The nearer i got the bigger the smile on my face.

At last......after 39 days in France i had finally cycled across it!

and as for going downhill into italy...

Friday, 13 July 2007

the final push is near?

Right now I'm in the alpine town of Barcelonnette. Its 37km's from the Italian border. All of which is uphill to the pass (1991m), which I'll be cycling up tomorrow.

On Tuesday 10th i went up my 1st alpine pass. It was the col de cabre and at 1180m high not the biggest thing I've had to trike over. However it was in the alps and i was just a little bit nervous of how steep it was going to be. Have to say i was slightly disappointed with it! It only took me just over an hour to climb up the 10k's to the summit and that was me taking it easy!!!!! The views from the top were just WOW and the descent had some great "O my god brake" hairpins.

The following day it was back on the road, leaving Apres sur Buech and taking the road to Gap. It was only about 40ks but as the campsite was a 3km trike up a hill with a 12% gradient the day ended up with me panting in the heat like a dog! I was going to spend two days there but there was no way i would be walking up and down that hill.

So on the road to Barcelonnette....i took the long way round. Don't ask me why! This involved going around the lake as opposed to along it. The roads were steep but the views were worth the effort. it was, for me, a long day on the road. I left Gap at 0830 and didn't get to the campsite till 1530.

Well my time here in France is almost over. Can anyone believe that fat little me cycled across a whole country...............

Sunday, 8 July 2007

how i came to Die

....along the D93 like everyone else :)

After the fun of my 1st mountain i spent the weekend in Le pays de Saint Flour. Its an old medieval town built onto a rocky outcrop overlooking the river. The campsite was only a short walk away and i enjoyed the many bars that the town had to offer! Due to the weather i had to endure 4 days there......luckily it didn't rain inside the bar.

once i had left the town on the Tuesday i travelled towards Die via Le puy en Velay, Saint Agreve and Charnes sur Rhone. I could tell you all about the towns, the roads etc but pictures tell a thousand off you go to and have a look for yourself