Riding in Tuscany

Discussion in 'Ride Reports - Epic Rides' started by tagesk, Dec 9, 2007.

  1. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    [​IMG]

    I don't know about the rest of you, but when I read the awsome reports from the Australian bushland, or see pictures of bears taken from the bike in Alaska, or salt plains in Death Valley, I am always struck by the vastness and the emptiness. Many places, maybe Australia, Canada and the US in particular, are so huge it is hard to phantom. Now, by an Incuria I was born in an empty country (barely 10 people per sq km!), so the emptiness Per Se doesn't strike me as strange. It is the scale of things; I mean: Those guys ride for six days and snap a picture of every car they meet (three). Life here on the Old Continent isn't like that at all.

    Showing you a tree and say "From this exact point you actually don't see a single house (yeah!) - pretend the fields and wines are wilderness and you can believe you are in, well, Australia" doesn't make much sense. So my reports from Tuscany must show you something else. I'll show you what I can show you.

    I start with breakfast, reading in Volume 7 (Toscana) of the indispensible Guida d'Italia and planning todays theme. The thing is: In a few weeks I'll be 45. In another thread I have asked for advice on what to buy; thank you for all suggestions. But an even more important decision needs to be made: What to drink (with the Bistecca Fiorentina)? There are basically three choices: Barolo, Brunello and Vino Nobile di Montepulciano. The problem with Barolo (the wine) is that Barolo (the place) isn't in Tuscany. So, sory Barolo, some other time.
    This leaves to Tuscan contenders - I need to go there to get an impression. Let us start with Brunello; I have included a picture of a Brunello I found in my cellar. My God, I am looking forward to taste that one!

    The panettone is a gift from San Miniato; there is a pasticceria there where the panettone is made the traditional way (with eggs), and it is very, very good.

    Up here where you find Casa dei Norvegesi it has not been frost during the night, but I can see that is has been very cold down on the plain. I can see it is well below freezing in both Firenze and Siena, As it is only 07:30 and the sun isn't really up yet, and I plan to ride all th way to Siena on the highway (the name is Fi-Pi-Li), I better dress properly.

    Usually I ride inthe mountains, but there is a lot of snow up there, so I'll have to stay down here for the time being. After all: I have Tourance tyres on the GS, and snow is simply out of the question.

    [​IMG]

    To aviod draft on the legs I take on gamasje - a Norwegian thing to wear to aviod getting snow underneath your trouses when skiing. Perfect!
    Speaking of perfect: Yes I know, those boots aren't ATGATT. But I use 49 or 50, and finding boots isn't simple.

    In some detail - todays plan is to rush on the highway that connects Firenze - Pisa - Livorno (called Fi-Pi-Li) from Pisa Eastwards to to Firenze. Then on the Firenze - Siena highway South to Siena. That will take me about one and a half hour.
    Then I will take a loop that will bring me through much of the land where Brunello can be made. In particular, to the hill-top village of Montalcino. My red book (Guida d'Italia) claims that Montalcino probably is the most beautiful place in Tuscany. And that, Ladies and Gentlemen, is a bold claim!
    There is a map all the way at the end; or click here and then come back to contiune.


    [​IMG]

    But back for a moment to the vastness of unspoiled nature some Ride Reports show us. Nature is beautiful. But man-made artifacts can also be beautiful. Look for example at Dantes Tower. It might not be as impressive as having a "Roo" (kangeroo) jumping out in front of your bike, but it is a thousand years old. And the village below (Caprona) was a about a thousand years old when the tower was built. I don;t know about you, but for some reason, things that old impresses me. Not becuase they are old (the hill itself considerable older!) but when something has been around for a milennum (or two), how many poeple has looked at it? And, more importantly: How many have decided that it looks so nice that it will remain in place for the coming generations?
    Sorry that the picture is crappy, but the sun wasn't up yet.

    [​IMG]

    As I ride the sun rises. When the first rays hits the is cold grass a thin mist forms on the plain. As I am riding East (directly into the sun), I hide behind a tree and try to capture the colours. I fail, but the picture is still nice.

    The 70 (or so) kilometers East to Firenze is boring, but I am very alert. Everywhere the sun hasn't got to yet is icey and very dangerous. The Italians don't know that danger and cars are connected - this makes it even more dengerous. Young men pass me on the icey parts, while they smoke and talk in their mobiles, while listning to music and studying the haircut, all at the same time. I don't like it, but I am on my way to check out Brunello so I'll just have to endure.

    [​IMG]

    I get to Firenze, and I turn onto the Autostrada della Sole (that is Milano - Napoli) and follow until the first exit (that wil be 50 cent, per favore). Then I am at the start of the 40 km Firenze - Siena higheway that runs South.

    The area between Firenze and Siena is world famous for a wine that is made in this area, the Cianti Classico. Just for the fun if it, I turn off the highway to capture Bamsefar with a wine yard, in Chianti Classico. That is also a nice wine.

    Notice the sign - All Roads Lead to Rome, and this is no exception (this road is named via Cassia) and the distance from here to Rome is 283 km.


    [​IMG]


    But in addition to the sign, you can also see the frost on the grass. Where the sun hasn't reached, it is still winter. In fact, I notice that there is quite some ice just in front of the bike! Better take is easy. And remember: Don't tell Capa della Famiglia. She doesn't like me riding in conditions like these. I turn back onto the highway - more traffic and less change of ice.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    But it is time for some more man-made things. Just north of Siena I turn off at Monteriggioni. Below the wounderful city walls (built 1219) I know of a very nice bar. They have a wide selection of cheeses and ham. And fresh bread, of cource. Having a merenda (small meal, between the "real" meals) isn't a habit one should establish unless putting on weight is the goal. But I am cold and the panettone from breakfast is all but consumed. And then a proper caffe' so fresh there is proper crema on top. How much I love proper espresso.
    Consider a mug of American coffee. It is found everywhere. It can be made by anyone. It is cheap - and refills are free. Being largely without flavor it can be diluted to taste. What it lacks in allure it makes up in size. It is the most democratic method ever devised for introducing caffeine into human beings.
    Now take a cup of Italian espresso. It requires expensive equipment. Price-to-volume ratio is outrageous, suggesting indifference to the consumer and ignorance of the market. The aesthetic satisfaction accessory to the beverage far outweighs its metabolic impact. It is not a drink; it is an artifact.
    Quoted from here. Oh well, let's get on with it.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    After having enjoyed my coffe at Monteriggioni and done ten more minutes on the highway, I have arrived, and I can slow slow down. I will now slowly wind my way through Chianti Colle Senesi towards Montalcino.

    The last two pictures in this installment are pure bike-porn. Naked bike poses for the photographer with a 12th centry castle in the background. Both pictures show the same caste. The castle, when you are done looking at the bike, is Castello di Poggio ai Frati. In the second picture, on the right hand side, you can see the 12th centry sky-line of Siena.

    I'll be back tomorrow morning with the second half; thank you for your attention!

    [TaSK]
    #41
  2. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    31,954
    Location:
    WNY
    Nice report.
    Thanks for bringing me back.....
    October '06:clap
    (I like the photos of the espresso and cappuccino)
    #42
  3. clydesdale66

    clydesdale66 green mountain adventurer

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2005
    Oddometer:
    281
    Location:
    the west coast...of vermont
    We spend as much time as we can each year in Bargecchia (nr Viareggio, Massarosa) but I haven't had access to a motorcycle there yet. Done plenty of biking and wished for a few extra hp on some climbs, though! At some point I'd like to buy a used m-cycle and leave it there, which is what I do with the bike.

    If you're a bridge fan you're probably already familiar with this one, but if not it's on the road between Lucca and Castelnuovo di Garfagnana near Borgo a Mozzano.

    Take care, and keep the great pics coming!:freaky
    John
    #43
  4. Radioman

    Radioman Moto rider

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2005
    Oddometer:
    5,374
    Location:
    HOME (at least for now)
    Bravo Tag,
    Great ride and photos. :clap :clap

    I have been to Italy 4-5 times in my life and the last two times in Tuscany, cinque terra, then up to Lake Como. Beautiful area. Too bad I was not on my GS.:cry

    Thanks for Sharing your ride, and your advice for the wives is a good one!! Hopefully many ADV wives will read your post and take notice!!:clap :clap

    Ride Safe!

    Mark
    #44
  5. neduro

    neduro Addict Super Moderator

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2003
    Oddometer:
    12,278
    Location:
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Fantastic! Subscribing for a dose of something different, really enjoy the food aspect of the reports. :dg
    #45
  6. GB

    GB . Administrator

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2002
    Oddometer:
    66,670
    Thanks for the updated report and all those great pics and comments :thumb

    :lurk :lurk
    #46
  7. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    [​IMG]

    Here you see me working; from the rigth you see Sølvpilen (Transalp), Bamsefar (GS), two guests. That bridge is stunning.

    [TaSK]
    #47
  8. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    [​IMG]


    This area, central Tuscany, has been populated inthe modern sense of the word for (more than) 3.000 years. Bu this I mean that not only did heardsmen walk through here or stone-age people roam around, this is the place where the Romans encountered a well organized nation with large cities - the Etruscans. It is impossible to find a single spot that has not been plowed, or some trees under which there was once a village, or what have you. In an olive groove I come accross this small church; there are no vilage here (any more?), just the church. A small sign says that this is Pieve di San Giovanni Batista, consecreted in 1189. It is thus safe to day that 50 generations of farmers out here has been born, baptized, married and then had their funerals here. 50 generations! :eek1

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    But I came to look at the Brunello di Montalcino. Or, more to the point: The wineyards where they grow the grapes. Slightly devoted of colour now in winter, but still nice, I think. But I will for certain return here in May when it is lush of green.
    I am on the nothern slopes of the hill (you can see the church towers in Montepulciano on the hill in the lower of the three pictures).

    [​IMG]

    As I said, I am on the northern slope. The fros hasn't thawed properly yet, and then I arrive to this sign. 20% is quite steep! On a wet, slippery, not-well maintained Italian country road? Yes please!
    I make it all the way up, but barely so. As we got to the 20% part the Tourance lost traction and started spinning. As the bike is so small I can't stand on the pegs and ride (I am not kidding you - more about this later!), stopping would have been a disaster, so I just gave it all the power I had and we made it. The margin was about the thickness of a pubic hair! Remember, I am an on-road-only driver, so this is not my cup of tea. Make that coffee.

    [​IMG]

    The thing is that even with lowered pegs, if I stand up I have to bend forward to reach the handle bar. And that is not position where you have any control. So until I get myself a big bike I'll remain seated :lol3

    Just as I pull up in front of the Castello (1361, incorporating older walls) a large cloud draws up in front of the sun I manage to get this single photo. I ride around inthe narrow streets for a while, but with no sun I can't find a single shot I would like to make. I'll be back!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    I continue South to check out the wineyards also on that side of Montepulciano. Afer a few kilometers I arrive at the Abbazia di Sant'Antimo. It's existance is first recorded in 814 (not 1814!). Then, in 1117 a much lager church was built (on the bottom picture above you can see the old church integrated in the "new" one). But, alas, the new church was simply too big. A mere 40 years later (what is a few generations?) economic distress is documented. From then on it went down hill until the Pope in 1462 closed the whole thing. However, things are improving, and mass is now held six times every day, according to the Gregorian lithurgy (inlucing the singing) that was used the previous time the church was in use (about 700 years ago). Repeat after me: Six times a day! The times are fixed at Lodi (07:00), Terza Messa (09:00), Sesta (12:45), Nona (14:45), Vespro (19:00) and Compieta (20:30). But we are in Italy and the sign also reads Per Alcune circostanze il presente orario puo subire variazioni (For various circumstances this schedule is subject to change). So you just show up and hope for the best :lol3

    [​IMG]


    Finally (finally!) it is time for lunch. The Abbey is close to the vilage Castelnuovo Dell'Abate and I head over to find a trattoria.

    [​IMG]

    The tagliatelle was fatta a casa and on it I got cinghiale (wild boar), and then some insalata mista. The pasta was perfectly cooked just as I like it (al dente) and the cinghiale was full of taste. I had a small glass of, well, Brunello. Then un caffe' per favore, but no sigarillo. How nice would it not have been with a sigarillo? But, alas, no sigarillo. Let's ride on.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I convince Bamsefar pose on front of yet another wineyard, with a castle in the background (about which I know nothing), and in the horizon the holy mountaion Monte Amiata. At least it was a holy mountaion to the Etruscans (that lived here before the Romans came). I for my part pose in front of the huge Rocca di Tentennano (13th centry).
    If you ever have problems with the size of you GS, notice how I am seated and rest my hand on my leg, while I have both feet on the ground. This is not a very big bike :lol3 The yellow west is really, really ugly. No sane Italian would ever be caught in such an ugly outfit, so only police and other officials wear them. Hence, I am noticed in the traffic. Inexpensive insurance. But ugly - I'm sorry.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    When I finally get down in the valley I simply can't resit the famous spot with the tree-lined alley on the hilltop. Nice bike!
    The sun is setting and it is time for me to head North and home. I stop in Buonconvento for some posing in front of the city walls, and an espresso with tasty cream on top.

    [​IMG]

    Then I follow via Cassia to Siena, but stop for some posing in the sunset. I liked the cars going in the other direction; the name of the picture can be something like "Bikers want to go in the other direction", or something. As I get on the bike my frost-warning light starts blikning (2 C, or less) and it turns out to be a cold ride home.
    First North to Siena, then the highway to Firenze, and then the Fi-Pi-Li highway to Pisa and home.

    423 km - it has been a nice Saturday.

    [​IMG]


    This map will give you an idea of the geography. After taking care of some mundane issues around here, I'll create a Google Map with all the photos so you can explore the journey in more detail.
    Edit: The map is now here.

    Unfortunately I got carried away while driving so I forgot to study the wineyards where they make the Brunello. I'll just have to go back there some other day. Poor me.

    Thank you for you attention!

    [TaSK]
    #48
  9. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,368
    Location:
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    Excellent, Tagesk !
    Hope nest time I'll be on my bike to have a ride with you !
    About the handlebar, I've the same problem.
    So I spined forward a bit the handlebar. Far far better.
    You can also change the support of the handlebar (risers).
    I know you don't like offroad but as you saw sometimes even a road is a bit like a track. Especially in the campana.
    Keep going, your RR rocks !
    /thierry
    ps: baci to the Cappa della famiglia.
    #49
  10. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    [​IMG]

    After several awful days with rain, the sun came back to please us today. It was time to go to the ocean.
    I rode from my hide out up here in the mountain down to the plain, and out to Marina di Pisa (Wikipedia). There is a long street along the sea, but it was closed today; Sunday and I was not the only one thinking it would be nice to walk by the sea.
    I dashed over to the natural reserve at Marina di Vecchiano. Not so many peaple, but impossible to ride the bike down on the beach. The sun sets, I give up, but I enjoy the ride home with my new Hella FF-100 driving lights.

    I really, really want a picture with the bike and the sea today. In the end I settle for this spot. The city below on the plain is Pisa, and beyond is the ocean.
    The scene is lit by my fog lights. But, alas, I didn't have my tripod with me so the quality isn't perfect. But it was the best I managed today - sorry. 100 km.

    [TaSK]
    #50
  11. enduro0125

    enduro0125 Sticks and Stones™..

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2006
    Oddometer:
    31,954
    Location:
    WNY
    No need to apologise, keep them coming :lurk
    #51
  12. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    After yesterdays failed attempt to capture Bamsefar with the ocean, and after the whole morning wasted on Italian bureaucracy (about which I could write a whole book, which would be rejected when the publisher would say "OK, Harry Potter deals with fantacy - get real."). After all that, and more, I decided that it had to be ocean today.
    [​IMG]

    I had planned the picture above, but Bamsefar (that is the bike) looks drunk. Even with the puck under the side stand. However, the new Hella FF-100 driving lights are nicely and descretely installed. Anyway, let me skip this picture, even though it shows the ocean.

    [​IMG]

    Ah, much better. The reason it is no sun, is that I have taken Bamsefar to ee the ocean in Livorno (called Leghorn in English, Wiki). According to my neighbours, who have a combined 600 years of experience of NOT living in Livorno, nothing in Livorno is as good as it is in Pisa. In particular, if there is any problem in Pisa, that problem will be worse in Livorno. Always. And since there was no sun this morning in Pisa, it obviously can't be sun here in Livorno. Goes without saying! Now, before I get carried away, I must remember that my lawyer is from Livorno. He is a fine gentleman, even if he lives in Livorno. That is what my neigbours tell me. And they are all Montemagno DOC. They should know. Education just clutter the simple things - listen to the old folks!

    [​IMG]

    So I ride from where I hide in the mountains, down onto the plain, then west until I come to Livorno. From there I follow the cost down south for a while. Then I turn east into the country again to follow the ridge back to Livorno. On the top there is a very nice view of the ocean. The icland on the left is Capraia (Wiki). If I am lucky (with the photo) you can see the mountains of Corsica (Wiki). The careful reader will now say "Hey, you said you rode north, but your bike points to the south!". Sorry, but I missed the view and had to turn around, park the bike and then snap the photo.

    [​IMG]

    What would you say if your neighbour decided that he wanted to be a radio amateur and get himself an antenna in the garden? I got on the bike and rode on.

    [​IMG]

    I ride on, and arrive at Santuario di Montenero (Home page, in Italian). It is a sacret place, and has been so since a pesant on the 15th of May 1345 saw vergin Maria here. Now it is a nice complex, with a nice old bar. The lady cut some fresh bread and prociutto crudo and pecorino. I don't know why, but I simply love having lunch in such small and unpretencious bars. Tempt me to a Fresh restaurant with white tables, waiters and 350 years old wines - I'll still go for the simple things. In my view (and test), it is with food as with art: Conext is everything! The bar is deserted, and the lady asks if I am cold, tell me to sit my the termisifone (radiator). No, I tell her, I am not German, I am Norwegian. So we talk about the merluzzo (cod), the salmone, where my wife is (she noticed my ring!), that the ham has been made by a friend of her late husband that has a farm, and so on, and so on. I love it! But, alas, I can absolutely not take a photo of her - not now, not now. Later, she promises. The espresso is just as it should be, but I don't dare to snap a photo of it as she might believe I'm getting her on the picture.

    [​IMG]

    The church, and the complex in general, is most famous for the memorials pople leave behind. That is, if someone dies you leave a memorial here to assist them in Heaven (or how these things work). First of all I am puzzled by what looks like Arabic to me. My Latin is also somewhat rusty (to say the least :lol3) so I leave it to some Highly Learned Reader to explain what this is about.

    [​IMG]

    This has been going on for A Long Time.

    [​IMG]

    The picture shows a horse-drawn vagon running over a girl. The text says Caterina 12 years old, the daughter of Giovanni and Dioraira Cavallero, from Livorno, on the day of March 2nd 1888, on her way, was severely injured by a horse that had lost it's mind, but thanks to the graze of S:SS di Montenero she was saved. Q.M.P.
    There are thousand of them. There are helmets with bullet holes (not all were saved), there are bloody shirts of those that survived thanks to the power of the Church here onthe mountain. Pictures of smashed cars, and so on, and so on. Thousands!

    [​IMG]

    There is also a church, naturally, and it is nice. Too much decorated for my taste (remember, I like the austere).

    [​IMG]

    On the way home I find this series of curves. I do them up and down a few times until I feel that going any faster will be dangerous. But I must say that Bamsefar is heavy! Even though I am 110 kg (well, let's be honest: 115 kg :eek1) it is One Heavy Pig. Roads like these make me feel it.
    Don't get me wrong - I also have Transalp (two), and I believe that I would ride faster through here with a Transalp than with Bamsefar. But that isn't enough - I'll pick Bamsefar any day!

    [​IMG]

    On the way home I find these green, rolling hills. I will have to come back one day when there is sun and the colours are lush. Today it is only dull. But the bike is nice! Did I mention the new Hella?

    132 km made it a nice day, even though it didn't start so well. I think I managed to get what I could out of a grey day.

    Finally I'll let you in on a secret: Tomorrow there will be rain and I'll be attending my lessons. But Wedensday it's slated to be sun. Then I'll try to do 1.000 miles (that will be 1.610 km). You see, Capa della Famiglia is attending a Film Festival (Wiki) and that leaves me free to give it a try. The longest I have done in one day is 780 km, but that was several years ago (and tens of thousand of kilometers less experience and endurance). We'll see - however, I advice you not to hold your breath while you wait!

    Thank you for your attention!

    [TaSK]

    (edit: here is todays map).
    #52
  13. Klasjm

    Klasjm R100gs

    Joined:
    May 17, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,280
    Location:
    BMWMOA Ambassador, Fond Du Lac, Wi.
    Great Report. I like all the history and photos. :clap :clap :clap
    #53
  14. nerudarider

    nerudarider nerudarider

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2006
    Oddometer:
    327
    Location:
    Istanbul, Stockholm
    Beautiful report! I just love the pictures!! :clap :clap

    :lurk
    #54
  15. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,368
    Location:
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    Ah, un piccolo giro d'Italia !
    you know you're crazy, don't you ? :D
    Have fun !
    /thierry
    #55
  16. Cloud9

    Cloud9 I was HERE?

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,886
    Location:
    Grand Junction, CO., USA
    Really good report. Thanks for show us the country. :freaky
    #56
  17. tagesk

    tagesk Tuscan rider

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2007
    Oddometer:
    3,231
    Location:
    Tuscany, Italy
    [​IMG]

    I spent an evening reading the most absurde reports from the Iron Butt Ralley. Hello? Riding 20.000 km i a little more than one week? Holy Mackerel! Oh well, to be culturally connected, I shoudl probably say something along the lines of Holy Brunello; oh well, regardless: :bow
    Next thought: How far is it, actually?

    Here I must make a tiny digression. The thing is: I am well adversed in designing and conducting experiments. In fact, in my former life I was a university professor, making my living by conducting experiments, and teching students how to do so. Suffice to say that making an experiment is not quite as simple as one should think. Anyway, in my new life I have used my former skills for what it mmight be wort. For example (no pun intended!): Two years ago we examined with great care the following problem: Does Barolo (the wine) taste better in Barolo (the place) than in Toscana?

    [​IMG]

    The picture was taken while the experiment was ongoing! The while scientific report (with pictures) can be studied here. It is enctypted for security. At any rate: It is unlikely that you'll be able to read it. But the essence is: We got there on our bikes.

    With this backrgound it is obvious that there is only one way fir me to get a better understanding of what it implies to ride 12.000 miles in 11 days. I'll ride 1.000 miles in one day and make some projections. But since I live on the Old Continent, I'll do the 1600K instead.

    In other words: Today Bamsefar and I have done more than 1.610 km together. As the weather was really crappy, and I didn't know how far it aw so I couldn't spend time taking cool pictures, you'll have to accept what I got.

    Since I am a computer Geek, my plan for tyday is available for you to study on Google (cool, or what?). As you can see, Google report that the tour is 1.612 km, but a more careful pre-study in MapSource (that came with my Garmin Zumo) reveils that it is more like 1.680 km. In other words: We have a plan.

    Getting up before I "should" is for me much, much harder than getting into bed later that I should. Or, in other words: it has no purpose for me to get up in the middle of the night just to get a long day. I'll be so wasted after lunch that I'll be dangerous for my self and others. Thus, I get up at 07:30 as usual, have my cappuccino and two slices of fresh bread with jam made by a neigbhour from aprictos he has in his garden - yummi! I loat my Zumo with waypoints and create a route; this will turn out to work flawlessly!

    The forcast says that the rain that has kept us inside for 10 consectutive days (!) will run out during the night, it will be a little cloudy in the morning, but then clear sky. When I get up at 07:00 is has just rained, but it is not raining. Goodie! I ride down the local station to get my receipt (read the IBA pages to understand the importance of this step). I'm there at 08, and I fill up the tank, check the tyres, and I am ready to go.
    But....they have problems with their computer :puke1 and it is not before 08:30 I finally obtain my receipt. I reset the Zumo at home (2 km from the station), and the reults of hanging around there for half an hour will be evident later.

    [​IMG][​IMG]

    ANyway, I have been ten minutes on the bike when it starts to rain. And it doesn't stop, so before I know it I am soaked :eek1 When I finally find a place to stop to pull on my rain gear it is too late. Argh! I have a (very!) cold and damp journy. After 240 km I stop to refuel - rally style, not even getting off the bike. I reach Roma, and turn east.

    When I get the yellow light I stop at the first station. It is almost noon, I have done 470 km (292 miles) and it is time for lunch. The Zumo says that including the wasted in the morning 30 minutes I have a total average speed of 101 km/h (63 mph) and a running average of 115 km/h. The speed limit is 130 km/t and as I (try to) keep it 115 isn't bad at all over 470 km!

    Lunch, however, must be sacreficed today. I grab a panino and a bottle of water, eat it quickly, and then have an espresso. Proper crema on the espresso, but with no proper lunch, being wet, and the termomether showing only 5C I'm not looking jolly good. And look that sky - no sun to be seen.
    And, My Good, that yellow west is ugly! But it works, so the professor in me tell me to continue to wear it :cry

    [​IMG]

    The road climbes up, then winds down. And suddenly I'm at the Adriatic Ocean! I stop the bike to snap a quick photo, and Lo and Behold, just then the sun suddenly pops out. Just for two minutes, but it is enough! I race up north along the coast (in case you forgot the ineniary, it is still here) and stop every 200 km for fuel.

    [​IMG]

    At about four I stop for what one in lack of a better word could call dinner. I take two panini. They are not pre-packed (she put them in the trays for me), they are fresh, the bread is nice, the prociutto is good, and so on. But, alas, dinner is supposeed to be a little antipasti, then a primo, a substantial secondo, and then some dolce to finish it off. And a bottle of water is no substitute for Chianti. What sacrifices a man must endure!

    [​IMG]

    When the Autostrada pulls away from the coast it enter the Pianura Padana (plain of Po). It is not like those two-day rides without a turn that I read about from the central parts of the US, but it is still quite flat. And humid. And cold. Which is why smart people lilves in Tuscany and not in Milano. ehem - let's move on.
    The tank on my GS is too small. With an average of some more than 100 km/t I am out of petrol in about two hours. What a whimp! How could I have gotten accross Austraila when I can't even get from Rimini to Padova without refuling at least once? I get an attendant to snap a photo of Bamsefar 9with his new Hella FF-100), and me. It is not Bombay Sapphire that makes my nose red, it is lights rain and 5C (that would be....let me type into Google... 41F). Argh - that yellow west is ugly! You are also free to say "My God - look at that picture. Not only does his bike look like a Christmas tree, he even has white reflex on the front of his hemlet - I bet you he has red reflex on the back :huh". Sigh - safety and security used to be my field of expertice. What more can I say?

    [​IMG]

    In the evening I start to jump in for an espresso every time I have to stop for fuel (about every second hour). Mostly in order to get into the warm bar. But even at the bar at a random petrol station will the espresso be decent. I love this country!

    I run west until I get to Bologna, then I turn north and cross the plan up to Padova. Then I turn west again towards Milano.
    [​IMG]

    I pass Milano on my way west, I come to Novara, and I head south towards Genova. As I climb up on the mountains a red lamp start flashing on the dash. I stop to examine. It seems to be the frost-warning light. But it should't flash - there doesn't seem to be any reason for it to flash. Not as far as I can determine, at least. I ignore it and ride on. Soon I am down by the ocean, I turn south and after a while I am back in Toscana. Ah, almost home!

    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    As you can see, I rode 1.686 km today (1.047 miles) with a total average speed of 98 km/h (60 mph) and a running average of 112 km/h. I flagrantly broke the sped limit on one occation when I almost missed an exit and had to dash past two truck to squeeze in. The while experiment took 17 hours with two hours spend refuling and having a total of four espressi. The meter on the bike tries to tell me that I have done 1.755 km today for an added value of about 4%. I'll send a letter to IBA as soon as I find the time.

    Now, what did we learn from this experiment? First and foremost that the Iron Butt Rally is not for me. And that riding 12.000 miles in 11 days is an unbeliveable accomplishment. We also understood that January might not be the ideal time fo the year for such experiments.

    [​IMG]


    Regardless of how good I feel about myself, there is a reason! Do not forget that all this was possible only because Capa della Famiglia is not at home! So? Well, what about dinner? It is two-thirty, and making a proper dinner at this hour is out of the question. But I did not have lunch, e ora ho fame. I'll have to settle for some junk-food.
    I cut four slices of fresh bread, some nice procutto that was recommended to me by a neigbhour who works as a butcher, and spread duetto (mascarpona mixed with gorgonzola) on two of them as dessert. Add ample supply of Chianti. And, since I am such a naught boy, I'll have a non-trivial amount of grappa to finish it off.

    Thank you for your attention!

    [TaSK]
    #57
  18. NSFW

    NSFW basecamp4adv

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Oddometer:
    20,855
    Location:
    Burbank CA
    Very nice, I'm always interested in seeing pics from far and away places. Maybe one of these days I'll be able to smell the flowers.

    Thanks.
    #58
  19. lowrpm

    lowrpm Tar Baby

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2006
    Oddometer:
    1,354
    Location:
    On the ribbon of black, Melbourne, Australia
    Love your report! And I'm envious of your beautiful country. I have visited a couple of times (including Tuscany), but not with a bike - my wife now says maybe we can rent a bike in Europe and visit the wine regions responsible for the three greatest wines in the world: Bordeaux, Rioja and Barolo. We plan to ride from Paris to Rome via Spain. :wink: Oh, and Italy has my vote for the only real coffee in the world - and great food. I love the outback, but I will trade a bit of my country for a bit of yours any day!
    #59
  20. kktos

    kktos on a bright side of life

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Oddometer:
    2,368
    Location:
    in front of Mare Nostrum
    And so you did it ! :D
    crazy you ;)
    So next time, Tagesk, you can take this route
    It's a bit shorter and I'll be able to offer you a coffee ! :evil
    ciao,
    /thierry
    #60