Sunday, December 1, 2019

Another Sortino Sunday

Another Sortino Sunday

You can sing that to the tune of The Eagles "Tequila Sunrise" if you want. This time Heather was out there with Zio Lorenzo.

Hard to believe this was the 1st of December but it was sunny, clear and warm enough for very enjoyable cycling.....


...though we DID encounter a sort of "traffic jam" along the way, but otherwise these roads are almost traffic-free.


Heather did don a windvest and arm warmers for the ride down from Sortino but those were ditched as soon as we finished the descent.

Post-ride it was time for Sunday pranzo - bruschetta al pomodoro (with bread grilled outside on the gas grill) followed by some wonderful Ribollita Heather made awhile back and stashed in our freezer with a second plate of grilled sausage, onions and peppers washed down with a Nero d'Avola from Tasca da Almerita.

Buona Domenica!!!

Friday, November 22, 2019

CycleItalia's HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2019

CycleItalia's HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2019

If you've landed here via a link from La Gazzetta dello CycleItalia, BENVENUTO! Have fun checking out other posts on the blog as well as this gift guide for the cyclist on your holiday list.


FAVALORO made-to-measure 100% carbon fiber frame and fork. For that really special cyclist on your list. The one pictured was created for one of our clients. Click HERE.
CAMPAGNOLO logo espresso cups will make any day seem like a cycling holiday in Italy for fans of the world's best bicycle components. A set of these is on Zio Lorenzo's list. Click HERE


We know you can buy this type of Italian holiday cake in many places in the USA, but these are REALLY good!!! We send one to the in-laws every holiday season. Get 'em a bottle of Asti to go with it! Click HERE


NALINI wool cycling shorts? Surely we jest you say? We bought these for our epoca (vintage) rides but find them so comfortable they end up being worn even when we ride our "modern" bikes. Click HERE.


DEFEET Woolie Boolie wool socks. These are the best winter socks. So good we ordered a special logo'd batch of 'em to share with our customers. Sadly, those are long-gone but you can find these black ones pretty much everywhere. Zio Lorenzo pretty much lives in these!


PIEDMONT CYCLING RESORT vacation. Delight the cycling enthusiast on your list with a two-day package at our Piedmont Cycling Resort. Order as a gift before the end of 2019 and we'll discount the normal $349* package price to just $299. Contact us for details.


* two-day lodging package for one person. Includes lodging, buffet breakfast, RideGuides and use of all facilities including bike shop/storage, laundry, swimming pools.




Friday, November 15, 2019

New Shop

A tiny bike workshop at home.


And we mean tiny! 14 X 14 feet is all the floor space we have on the ground floor here. This limited us to a 1-meter workbench and a folding workstand from our friends at Bicisupport/Albabici (Grazie Gianluca & Co!) as we needed to keep a way through from the doors to the outside you can see in the photos across to the doorway that enters the stairwell leading up to the rest of the house.


The entire footprint of this house is small - Zio Lorenzo paced it off as roughly 20 X 25. That's it! Bikes on one wall, workbench and tool chest on the other with storage in the loft above.



The builders back in 1900 went UP instead of out with a bedroom on the first floor and a living room on the second. Our guess is animals probably lived on the ground floor where the bikes are now? Further up another loft has the kitchen and a final climb to the tiny terrace with view of the sea. 62 steps from the ground to the terrace will keep us in shape without ever leaving the house!!!

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Raymond Poulidor

RIP Pou-Pou


Excellent obituary HERE

The stars of what might be the most recent "golden age of cycling" are leaving us. Is there another golden era after this?

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

This is....November?

This is...November?


Yep, this is one of those "I hate you!" posts for anyone watching it snow outside while they grind away on a trainer in their basement, even if they have the newest-latest training gizmos advertised pretty much everywhere these days.

Back when Zio Lorenzo would be forced to do this the question always was "Which is worse? Going outside and freezing/crashing on ice or being bored to death for an hour inside?"

Being a wimp from California too often it was inside, watching an old cycling video while sweating like a pig. Perhaps these new online schemes make it less boring, but they will never equal riding a bicycle outside, where you not only pedal, but brake and turn as well as see the sights, smell the smells and all the rest.

Riding inside will never be FUN, I don't care how much you spend on video screens, training plans and online exercise schemes.


Today's ride was from Ortigia to Sortino, basically from sea level to around 1500 feet (438 meters) but with lots of ups and downs along the way.

Once on the other side of Solarino the road is almost "yours" unless you mind sharing it with a sleeping dog who was laying in the center of the road, only lifting its head up as it heard me coming before going back to sleep or a herd of sheep being moved by their tender.

35 kilometers out and pretty much the same back, again with plenty of ups and downs along the way. This road up to Sortino is relatively new, I was tempted to take the old way up, but wasn't so sure about enjoying the full length of this ride to start with, so chickened out on the really steep stuff. The new road is the only way to go down as far as I'm concerned.

They run an automotive hillclimb event on this road every year. One time we went up on a Sunday (via a different route) and found the road closed, but this time there was just a few skid marks and one or two cars along with a couple of trucks over 30+ kilometers.

For Zio Lorenzo the going back down is the fun part! Good pavement, not-too-steep grades and some interesting curves make a good "pay back" for the effort to get up there.

These days Zio's pretty slow on anything but a descent, so 70+ kms took 3 hours with a brief stop to fill bottles in Sortino, but it's not how fast you go - it's HOW MUCH FUN YOU HAVE!

Today was lots of fun.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

PISTA CICLABILE (bike path)

Pista Ciclabile (pee-stah chee-kla-bee-lay)

It's a mouthful for non-Italian speakers but some of 'em here are pretty nice. We spent a lot of time on the one in Rome along the Tiber but we don't get out here too much.

This direction goes away from Siracusa

This one's an old railroad line with lights now strung up along the way, some of which is cut into the rocks to keep things more-or-less level as trains tend to like.


This is the way back into Siracusa with Ortigia in the background

The trail is unpaved in most places, kind of a sandy, crushed gravel type of surface. Yours truly rode out of Ortigia along a route we call "Dead-dog" because (honest to goodness) the first time we rode it we passed by a dead dog in the road about 10 kilometers out, but then turned towards the coast.

After a few kilometers of less-than-great riding you can access the end of this rail-trail, though with a road bike you're probably gonna have to walk a bit up a rutted incline, as I did today.

But from there you don't need a "gravel bike" as a normal road bike (even one from near the turn-of-the-century like mine) will do just fine.

On a Tuesday midday, there was nobody out here, so my little handlebar bell didn't get much use. The trail ends at the edge of Siracusa, just a short distance away from Ortigia. 

Heather likes to take her study-abroad students out here on rental bikes, which they always enjoy.

Friday, October 25, 2019

La Corsa Rosa 2020

See La Corsa Rosa 2020 with us!

The route for next year's Corsa Rosa was presented last night on Italian TV.

We think the Hungarian start is little more than a money-grab by organizer RCS, but the rest of the route is a hit, especially when it comes to viewing stages with day-trips from Piedmont Cycling Resort.


 You could join us for stage 19 a route that passes very close to PCR and finishes at Asti on May 29 (you could even ride there) and/or the following day's epic stage finish in Sestriere after the pros tackle Colle dell' Agnello, Col d'Izoard and the Montgenevre climbs. We may even go into Milano for the final time-trial if there's interest.



Since the route has just been announced we're working on how best to see these stages and share them with you.


We're happy they're going over the Passo Stelvio from the "proper" side for a change as well. The entire route seems to be a classic though we're not sure why so many think Peter Sagan will be there - he said nothing of the sort on the presentation broadcast. 

While we're working on the details, it's better to reserve your place for this final week of il Giro sooner rather than later.


PS-we're also working on ideas for the stages in Sicily May 12-15 so contact us for a separate itinerary.