Cycling in Italy

9 10 2008

Cycling in Italy is fun when you see the new Ferrari and the driver gives you a thumbs up

Cycling in Italy is no fun when drivers of crappy little Mercedes cars don’t see you

A Wilier like mine

A) a Wilier Triestina like mine

B) My Canada team kit

B) My Canada Olympic Team kit

I think I am noticeable with my flashy bike and cycling kit.
I tend to attract a lot of attention when I ride around town and in the country. The area where I live is one of the cycling meccas of southern Italy and there are many cycling tourists from around the world, especially in the spring, who want to chat about the local routes when we meet along the roads. Drivers will often wave from their cars as well. I have even had my picture taken by some hikers as I whizzed by.
like my Wilier, world championship Italian performance

Ferrari California: like my Wilier, world champion Italian performance

On Tuesday afternoon, I happened to come upon the road tests for the new Ferrari California. As I was pedaling home, I saw one red Ferrari after another – and not your garden variety Magnum PI models.The first driver recognized the spiritual kinship between our two examples of world-beating Italian performance engineering, slowing down on the curve to give me a thumbs up as I passed. The second driver went by at mach speed…
After all that excitement and 50 windy kms of exercise, I arrived back in town and discovered that I had become invisible. A couple of cars cut me off on the main road – one genius drove across from the other lane and parked in front of me at a 90 degree angle. Tired and irritated, I was glad to get on my quiet little street and relax for the final few metres back home…
Alas, as I coasted up to my front door, some clown in a Mercedes A-class roared down the street at full blast. There no place to hide – typical of a narrow Italian side street, there were parked cars everywhere. The car slowed down – to 30 kmh – but I was getting squeezed between the pretentious minicar and a parked Lancia. The only place to go was up.
Some gymnast like balance, honed over years of cycling, along with some choice Italian obscenities saved my skin (and attracted a crowd on the neighbouring balconies) but it was a close call. As they say, most accidents happen close to home.



10 responses

10 10 2008

Eek, sorry to hear about the bad driver exp. Glad you’re ok.

10 10 2008
Cycling » News from the neighborhood(s): A mixed bag for bike-friendliness

[…] Cycling in ItalyThe area where I live is one of the cycling meccas of southern Italy and there are many cycling tourists from around the world, especially in the spring, who want to chat about the local routes when we meet along the roads. … […]

10 10 2008

Eeek, indeed. It was pretty scary actually.

11 10 2008

Italians do not know how to drive – there is no other possible conclusion. Glad to see you’re OK. One of these days I need to write about driving here as well, and about parking, or rather: dumping your vehicle anywhere you like.
That’s a good-looking cycling outfit, by the way. I would of course go for Rabobank team colours, but I am not sure if I want to get a bike, because of the safety. In Holland, needless to say, I always had a bike.

12 10 2008


I’d love to say get out your Rabobank kit and give it a go but cycling can be scary anywhere (although I’m sure there are more bike paths in Holland). Even I didn’t get a bike until we moved out of the big city. When I arrived in Italy I began scouting out all the glamourous racing bikes but then I saw what the traffic was like and it broke my heart.

Another good argument for a driving post would be the persistent refusal of the locals to use their turn signals…

13 10 2008

Happy to read that you survived. I took off my shoes the last time this happened to me and banged the cleats against the car.

15 10 2008


Off your feet or off the pedals?

15 10 2008

Bad adventure at the end!! but at least you saw two new Ferraris! So… it is not so bad “Cycling in Italy” 🙂

17 10 2008
Cycling with Ferrari « Shakespeare Politics and Italy Blog

[…] my recent encounter with a group of Ferrari Californias during my usual bike ride, I discovered that Ferrari is holding the official test drives and press previews of the new […]

11 05 2009
Cycling Deaths in Italy « Shakespeare Politics and Italy Blog

[…] have had my own death defying experiences, such as when a motorist tried to drive through me in front of my house. I could recount lots of anecdotes about pointlessly dangerous maneuvers, serving only to feed the […]

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