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.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

We have met the enemy...

We have met the enemy and he is us.*

The more news we get from the USA the more I believe this phrase is true. Whether it's morons fighting over dwindling stocks of toilet paper or cleaning out the ammunition shelves in the gun stores, things are looking grim as Americans seem to be losing their minds while the Covid-19 virus continues to spread,

Perhaps the final realization** for Zio Lorenzo was a rather left-wing cycling-related blog he frequents. He's already either quit or been kicked out of most of the English-language cycling blog comment sections for negative comments made in reply to those who seem to delight in relating their outside cycling exploits, many of 'em going on despite nation or statewide instructions to stay-at-home to reduce the spread of Covid-19.

He thought these left-wing commenters, who delight in skewering pretty much everything the Trump Administration does including its response to the pandemic, would act in solidarity with their fellow citizens and stay home, but it seems they're just as bad as the rest of 'em!

The blog editor recently posted some critical comments and photos about his fellow citizens defying the calls for "social-distance" by clogging up local parks and hiking trails. Fair enough, but the photos didn't come from his TV news, he took them himself while out riding his bicycle! It reminded me of the old joke about people with liberal political views: Liberal=loves mankind, hates people.

The authorities in most countries are asking for a very small sacrifice from people - to take a break from outside exercise to help stop the spread of a pandemic. Nothing like this has been seen since 1918 but it's no longer a case of ignorance as that pandemic has been well publicized by now so those who are flouting the ban are shouting to their fellow citizens that for some reason they don't have to make any sacrifice and gloating about it with others who share the same selfish attitude.

Will these people ever "get it"? A few weeks ago I thought they would, but now I'm not so sure. Good luck fellow Americans!

Meanwhile, we're trying to do our part here in Sicily. We put the bikes away a couple of weeks ago in solidarity with our adopted country, even before riding around outside was specifically banned.

Today after lunch this box arrived. Yep, a set of rollers!

Zio Lorenzo detests riding a bicycle-to-nowhere but figures we gotta add something to going up and down the stairs to work up a bit of a sweat and keep our rear-ends familiar with sitting on a SMP saddle.

This thing was even Made-in-Italy which can not be said for everything with this brand name on it. We weren't the only ones with this idea as the first place we ordered this from turned out to not have any more (but at least they refunded our money) while this seemed to be the last one the other source had available.

Now Zio Lorenzo has to remember how to ride one of these things without riding off into the shop!!!

Stay safe. Stay home.

* Walt Kelly

** Update: The final realization is really the news that Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the only-adults-in-the-room when it comes to the US Administration's Covid-19 management team now needs a security detail and that gun shops in Los Angeles have been declared essential services. Good luck America, it's seeming more and more that's all you've got!

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Stay safe, Stay home.

Stay safe. Stay home.

WTF? CycleItalia/Piedmont Cycling Resort is telling you to stay home?

Yes. Yes we are, at least until the authorities have announced the Covid-19 pandemic is over and normal life can resume. Your life or the life of others is more important than riding your bike outside, even if the authorities have yet to ban it as they've done here in Italy.

We're NOT telling you to forget about joining us in 2020, especially if looking forward to a cycling vacation will help you get through this, but we'e asking you not to ride outside on the roads or trails.

Why? Some places in the USA have already put their citizens under "lockdown" though for some reason there they like to call it "shelter-in-place" and reserve the former term for other countries. 

But when they do it where you live (and perhaps before?) think about the message you send when other citizens have been asked to help "bend the curve" on infections by going out only for groceries or medicines and they see you out on your bike just having fun. We're not talking about using your bike to do the shopping or essential errands, Zio Lorenzo is doing that here in Italy a few times a week, figuring he can carry more stuff and be outside for a shorter period of time.

It's the cycling for fun or exercise we're talking about. The authorities need your help in reducing the possibility of the virus' spread and despite your idea that you need the exercise and fresh air and you're not compromising anyone's "social-distance" think about if you crashed you'd be taking up valuable healthcare resources that a soon-to-be overburdened medical system is going to need.

And you're sending a message that the rules or suggestions somehow don't apply to you, exactly the reverse of what's needed in a country where nobody under 80 years of age has ever been asked to sacrifice anything for the greater good. They asked us to "go shopping" after the September 11 attacks, remember?

All cyclists will be the victims of bad attitudes (or worse) if we're seen to be acting irresponsibly. Here in Italy pro cyclists had the legal right to be out training as it's part of their job, but that didn't stop angry motorists from yelling at them..or worse.

We ordered up a set of rollers the other day, thinking the quarantine here may last beyond the April 3rd date first announced. We never thought we'd need such a thing once we left Iowa but this is a PANDEMIC.

Stay safe. Stay home.

Note on life in Italy: US TV news reports have caused many of our friends and clients to email us with good wishes as if we're really suffering here. Other than not being able to go outside and ride our bikes or visit our friends, we're really just fine. Food and wine here is still great and readily available. So far we've seen no shortages of anything on store shelves.

Here in Sicily the pandemic's effects are (so far) being felt far less but nobody is fooling themselves that the virus will not spread down here much more widely. The authorities continually ask residents to stay home, going out only for groceries or medicine. You must carry a signed declaration stating your purpose for being outside and show it to the authorities if they ask. You face fines and/or arrest for failing to respect the rules.

The streets are mostly deserted here, a very strange situation, especially at a time when the tourist activity is usually ramping up, with shops and ristoranti that were closed during the low season gradually opening again. Everything except grocery stores, pharmacies, tobacco shops and newsstands is closed up tight. The local rail-trail bike/jogging path has been closed to drive home the Restare a casa (stay home) message.

The Italian government is introducing measures to prevent anyone being thrown out of their house or apartment or having their utilities turned off for lack of payment since almost nobody is working now except for the brave public servants - police, fire and the overworked medical workers in the ambulances and hospitals.

Each evening at 6 PM we gather outside on our balconies, greet our neighbors and sing songs, clap or just make noise in solidarity and to show support for those who are risking their own well-being to help us all.

We hope wherever you are, no matter how bad it is or it gets, that you can feel a sense of "we're all in this together" as our adopted country does every day.

Update: We've taken some criticism from folks in the USA about this opinion, some of them writing, "Of course I would stay off my bike if I was in ITALY, but I'm not. Here's a bit of perspective for those folks:

Think of the regions of Italy (Sicily, Lombardy, Veneto, etc) as the equivalent of US states. You probably don't live in the epicenter (currently) of the outbreak (New York in the USA or Lombardy in Italy) and neither do we.

We live on the island of Sicily, about as far away from the virus epicenter you can get and still be in Italy. Lombardy's on your TV news rather than Sicily or Calabria because the reporters go to where the plane crashed rather than the place they safely land every day.

In Lombardy there are around 10 million people. 20 thousand of them are infected while more than 2000 have died. Piedmont has less than 4 million inhabitants, 3 thousand infections and less than 200 deaths. Sicily has around 5 million people with less than 400 infections and 15 deaths. If you break it down into the equivalent of a county, Siracusa (where we live) has 120 thousand people, 33 infections and 4 deaths.

Stay safe. Stay home.

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Covid-19 Virus in Italy

Covid-19 Virus in Italy

Photo courtesy of the sick mind of our friend and client Marc Reynolds

Will this be us this summer? We hope not, despite Italy's current state of quarantine and airline flight bans imposed by the USA.

As this is published we have yet to receive a single cancellation of reservations made for our 2020 season. Our guests know:

Two weeks before your arrival date, if the US CDC is recommending against travel to Italy due to the Covid-19 situation, we'll refund your deposit/payments in-full**.

Who knows? You might even be able to score a great deal on airfare to Milan's Malpensa (MXP) airport if you book now! We'd suggest not buying non-refundable airfares as we doubt the airlines will be as understanding about cancelling your vacation as we are, but the current situation might work to your advantage!

Join us this summer!

We're also going to extend our special discounted price for a 2-night stay at Piedmont Cycling Resort of $299* instead of the normal $349 on bookings made before May 1, 2020.

**CDC Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel. In any other case normal cancellation policies will apply.

*Special rate for 2-night hotel stay (1 person/single room) + buffet breakfast, RideGuides and use of all PCR facilities. Bike rental, guide services, massage, lunch, dinner and other services available at extra cost.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

More bici d'epoca!

Even more bici d'epoca events!

We've just seen the announcement for La Langarola 2020. This means there are now FOUR different vintage bike events you can enjoy with a day-trip from Piedmont Cycling Resort.

First up on June 7 is La Canevesana an event Zio Lorenzo enjoyed back in 2016. Click HERE to read about that.

Next up is La Monsterrato on June 21. You'll see us on their webpage and can read more about our fun HERE.

Then there's La Mitica the following week, June 28. We've enjoyed this one plenty of times as you can see HERE, HERE and HERE.

Finally, on July 5 it's La Langarola. We've enjoyed this one a time or two as well. Read about that HERE, HERE and HERE.

These are fun, non-competitive events that will make you remember why you took up cycling in the first place. Your next question is likely, "But I don't have a vintage bike or I certainly don't want to fly mine over just for one of these events, so how can I participate?"

With us it's easy - just book your stay at Piedmont Cycling Resort so you'll be there during one (or more) of these events and let us know you'd like to ride with us. We'll get you an entry and fix you up for the day with one of our classic, all-steel rental bikes. While they don't comply with all of the epoca regulations, the organizers kindly let us bring our friends to ride in their events on these bikes as a courtesy.

$500 per person covers your entry (you'll need a letter from your doctor stating you're fit enough to enjoy non-competitive cycling events) the pasta party, transportation to/from the event, use of the special bike and more. You'll be back at Piedmont Cycling Resort in time for dinner with memories of cycling through a rolling museum full of friendly vintage cycling enthusiasts along with a little dust in your hair!

Contact us for more details.

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Corona virus in Italy

Coronavirus in Italy

News reports are everywhere about Covid-19 cases here in Italy and around the world. Keep in mind the death rate (so far) has been very low. Click HERE for more details. Watch this video debunking common myths about this virus.

CycleItalia/Piedmont Cycling Resort will refund deposits/payments in full if you decide to cancel your reservation based on US or Italian authorities travel restrictions existing two weeks before your arrival date*.

Based on past experience things like this seem to vanish almost as fast as they appear so don't worry about what might be going on in May, June or July, reserve your place now!

US CDC recommendations in effect two weeks before your arrival date will be used to determine eligibility for refund. If travel is not restricted (Warning Level 3) our normal cancellation policies will apply.

Monday, February 17, 2020

The circus comes to town!

This race starts a 5-minute walk from our house in Sicily!
Of course it's not a big race and will have few big stars but it's always fun when the "circus" comes to your town, right?

Contact us if you'd like to see the race, we're working on plans to ride and see Stage 4 on the climb of Mt. Etna.

More details HERE.