Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Coronavirus in Italy: Update

Coronavirus in Italy: Update

The blogger who banned Zio Lorenzo recently for comments calling out his hypocrisy asked his readers to report their current situations regarding the pandemic and its effects on their lives. Since Zio is banned, he'll report here instead:

We pointed out we were not going outside to ride bikes just-for-fun even before the lockdown began here in Sicily and suggested our friends act in solidarity with their fellow cyclists. More than a few replied with comments like "Well, if I were in Italy now, I'd be doing the same, but in my state there are no cases...." and worse.

While they seemed to grasp the concept that places like NYC were overwhelmed with Covid-19 while their state, whether it was New Mexico or Iowa was seeing no effects, the idea that Sicily might be more like NM or IA than Lombardy in Italy's north was lost on them. Further, the idea of solidarity with those required to stay inside was also lost on them, some of them acted as if the infections in other areas were somehow the fault of their citizens - too old, too many smokers, etc. or their healthcare system.

We tried to point out that it was only a matter of time before they would see the same infection and death rates unless some serious social-distancing and testing measures were embraced, but it fell on deaf ears. Are they getting the hint now?

At present Sicily, with 5 million inhabitants has just over 3 thousand reported cases of Covid-19 and 250+ deaths. New Mexico, despite having just 2 million inhabitants currently has 5 thousand cases and over 200 deaths while Iowa with 3 million inhabitants has 12 thousand cases and 270+ deaths. Sicily's numbers are going down while both NM and IA's are going up, up, up.

Meanwhile, the USA currently leads the world in Covid-19 infections and deaths despite having less than 5% of the world's population but Russia and Brazil, two other countries that failed to take this pandemic seriously, are gaining quickly. So much winning!

We're now in week 2 of phase 2, the first easing of our lockdown while these US states are either easing even further or never had a stay-at-home rule of any kind. Other than going out for rides most days our lockdown routine has stayed the same: one grocery store visit per week + one visit to the outdoor fruit and vegetable market + quick trips out every other day for fresh bread and drinking water. 
Otherwise it's: Stay home. Stay safe.

So stay safe, stay home, unless going out is really necessary, no matter how well (or badly) your government is doing in the fight against the coronavirus.

We're ALL in this together!

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Who was that masked man? Covid-19

Mask 'em up!

Looks like this social-distancing stuff's gonna be with us for awhile, so why not get ready for the long haul?

100% Made-in-Italy and with the Italian tricolore, what's not to like? Some of the right-wing politicians here have begun wearing masks that look just like a flag's been strapped over your face so we didn't want that, but this seems a nice compromise.

We'll try these on our way in and out of town when cycling and of course have one on any time we venture out of the house, no matter how infrequent we're trying to keep that.

Stay safe. Stay home.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Free at Last! Phase 2 lockdown begins in Italy


Harry & Leather with Ortigia (Siracusa) in the background

They let us out! Our road bikes have not been out of the house (unless you count up on the terrace) for 2+ months!

But today Fase 2 of the Covid-19 Italian lockdown began and outdoor exercise was OK again as long as social-distance regulations were followed. Families don't have to worry about distance between family members, just the rest of the population so we're just fine riding together as we usually do.

It looks like we're dressed for cold in the photo despite the summer-like temperatures. Those buff things get pulled up over our faces when we're in the town or pop into (like we did on our return today) a store to grab something while we're out. When not over our faces they sit there around our necks, but so far the breathable material's not felt too warm.

Otherwise, we're still in "stay safe, stay home" mode but now with cycling outside added to our weekly outing for groceries and a couple ventures out of the house each week for fresh bread and drinking water.

Restaurants are free now to offer take-out food, same with coffee and pastry shops. We're hoping our favorite pizzeria might offer pizza-to-go soon*?

We still can't go anywhere (as up to Piedmont Cycling Resort) for now but there are two week gaps in the loosening of the restrictions so they can gauge how the greater freedom impacts infection rates. If all goes well most things will be open again and travel will be freed up by early in June.

Wherever you are, please follow the regulations put-in-place by your local health experts - we're all in this together!

Stay safe. Stay home.


* Anima e Core has reopened for delivery or to-go service!!!!

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Travel to Italy: Update

Travel to Italy: Update

This is a statement issued by Giorgio Palmucci, President of ENIT-Italian National Tourist Board in support of Dario Franceschini – Minister of Cultural Heritage, Activities and Tourism

“Tourism in Italy will start again, with all precautions and in maximum safety. Minister Franceschini did well to clarify that no border closure is expected. Those who love Italy must be allowed to return to enjoy it, in compliance with governmental and regional guidelines. It is a delicate phase in which it is essential to defend Italy also through correct communication. Misinformation and fake news risk creating serious damage and unjustified alarmism. It is therefore important to follow institutional sources and reliable news as much as possible, such as those provided by the Italian National Tourist Board, which provides an official bi-weekly update on the situation in Italy and in the world”.

Franceschini himself, when asked about the claims in Italy's Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday, said: "As is all too obvious, I have never spoken, nor ever thought, of closing the Italian borders to tourists for 2020,". "I am working on the exact opposite. I proposed yesterday at the meeting of Tourism Ministers of the European Union, a European uniformity of the safety rules with respect to the risk of contagion, allowing the free movement of tourists within the European Union. So we're starting bilateral talks with other countries that have a lot of tourism going to to Italy," he added.
"Unfortunately, it is clear that fake news on closed borders is being circulated, with hostile intentions towards our country."

So don't believe any fake news! Instead contact us about your plans for 2020. We're in contact with our friends in Piedmont regularly and can update you on what is going on there. 

As we post this we still have reservations for July so if you'd like to join us, that's looking like the best time at present. We are keeping our policy of 100% refund if two weeks before your arrival the US CDC or State Department warns against any non-essential travel to Italy.

If July doesn't work for you, we are considering operations during August, September and beyond if interest is there. Don't let the pandemic ruin your 2020 cycling dreams! We're here to help.

Meanwhile, our lockdown here in Italy moves to phase 2 on May 4. Bars and ristoranti will still be closed except for take-out but riding your bike outside will be OK again as long as social-distancing is observed. By July it seems (barring any increase in infections) all businesses will be re-opened under some restrictions throughout Italy and we plan to be there for our clients.

As they say here: ANDRA TUTTO BENE!

For now though: Stay safe, Stay home.

Wednesday, April 15, 2020



Stay safe. Stay home. But do something, no matter how small.

We try not to get too political here, respecting plenty of viewpoints but when the USA's president announces he'll stop the USA's contributions to the WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION because he thinks they're favorable to China, we have to make our case and condemn this short-sighted, politically motivated tantrum at a time when the world least needs another one from our "toddler-in-chief".

Beyond that, we've decided to donate a portion of the money that the US Congress (not Donald J. Trump!) authorized the US Treasury to dole out to citizens to help with this crisis to the very same WHO.

And some to buy one of the t-shirts shown in the photo.

We're fortunate in that we don't really need the $1200 so we're donating it to organizations that do: PBS, ACLU, SPLC, WHO, etc.

If you don't really need yours either, why not donate it to organizations who really do in this difficult time?

We're all in this together!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Stay safe. Stay home. Demonstrate solidarity with your fellow humans.

Stay safe. Stay home. Demonstrate solidarity with your fellow humans. We're all in this together!

Posting this is not fun. Neither is staying home. Neither is spending time riding to nowhere. But too many, despite the ghastly reports of the spread of this pandemic, insist on going outside for no other reason than to enjoy riding. They're not getting groceries or medicines, they're just getting exercise and letting everyone else know they consider themselves somehow better or above the rest of us.

If THESE GUYS can stay home, so can you!

“Everyone is tired of confinement,” Bardet said Tuesday. “If pros are going to ride, amateurs will want to do it, too. And while there is talk of a drop in respect for the rules, the message would not be positive. Now is not the time for selfishness.”

“If we stay in general confinement, I don’t see why the pro cyclists could come out in complete freedom before everyone else, whereas we don’t have any competition before July,” Calmejane told L’Equipe. “At some point, you have to lead by example. Unity is also what makes us get out of the crisis without too much damage.”

Chapeau Bardet & Calmejane!!

And for those of you who insist bike shops should be considered essential services we suggest reading THIS.

Stay safe. Stay home.

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Stay safe. Stay home. Part 2

Stay safe. Stay home. Part 2

We're remembering how to ride rollers. 

Heather's much better at it so far than Larry, who is so used to a stationary trainer and tuning out of the entire experience that his mind starts wandering...and then so does his bike! 

So far he's only managed to ride off the edge of the roller rather than taking a trip across the shop or terrace. A few more tries and he should be able to stay on and tough it out for 30 minutes. Since there's no stopping or coasting we figure that should be enough a few times a week?

Our stay-at-home order has been extended through Easter so today we hauled everything up to the terrace for some sun. That's some exercise all-by-itself!!!

Whatever you're doing to get some exercise during these challenging times we hope you're following the requests of the authorities. The folks at ELITE have a good message:

“The next weeks are really going to change the way we live our lives, our homes, the meaning of our place in the world. As these days are going by, we’ve come to the most honest understanding that containment means commitment, the immediate commitment of all citizens, all of us.”

Stay safe. Stay home.