We are a group of friends who enjoy cycling together - every three years we find a new way to torture ourselves on bikes and then decide to get sponsored so that people can watch us suffer.

So after LEJOG (Lands End to John O’Groats) in 2004 and LeKnees (The Atlantic to The Mediterranean along and over the Pyrenees) in 2007, we are now asking you to support our L’Express ride: Paris to Venice in 2010.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Day 12: Saltuzio to Trento

Back on High Tech tonight, but keeping it short and sweet as we had a very long day.

We broke camp in good style this morning - after nearly 2 weeks we're getting quite good at it. However the uncertainty of Jeremy's hub played on our minds. We managed the steep climb out of the camp site without incident, then Jeremy managed to cycle the remaining distance into the town of Merano without once stopping pedaling - quite a feat when you're not used to it. Once into the town, however, we had to stop and start quite a lot, and eventually wheel the bikes through the centre in search of bike shops, by which time the hub had become completely unusable. The town is a Therme (hot spring spa town) and has splendid buildings galore with a backdrop of mountains. 

 Merano nestles in a valley surrounded by high mountains. It is a Therme with many attractive old and new buildings.

We eventually asked a policeman about bike shops and were directed to two close by. The one that looked most useful fortunately had a knowledgeable mechanic who spoke English. At this point the hub had given up completely, just whirring round without actually moving the bike! It would need a new wheel we were told, but they didn't have any Campag ones. Fortunately they knew of another shop that might help. We followed directions and ended up at a very good shop run by a complete Campag expert and it was just as well we did. 'Yes we can repair it' he said to our shock and pleasure. And he proceeded to not only fix it, but also check out the hub as a whole. It was just a simple 2 euro spring that had gone. This was replaced and the wheel now runs more smoothly than ever, proving that it really is cheaper to get an expert in the end.
Merano also has a bike shop where they fix Campag kit! We wait in the sun and surrounded by high mountains whilst JR's bike is fixed.

All bikes now roadworthy, we headed south towards Bolzano, picking up a cycle path that ran on very good surfaces along the top of the river defenses. 

Once on the way, we come across this ideal place for lunch built at the side of the cycle route that follows the river defenses.
The route to Bolzano is lined by orchards. This turned out to be typical of much of our route all the way to Trento.

This took us all the way to Bolzano, but not seeing any clear signs that the route continued, we headed to the road going south out of town, eventually finding that it was a "no cycles" road. There appeared to be no way south for cyclists! Fortunately, John then saw a roadside map of the area which showed a cycle route on it. We followed a route to get on to it, only to find that, within a few hundred metres of our goal, road works had blocked off access... Much frustration - we were beginning to believe that we were trapped! Once again, fortunately I had taken a photo of the map so we managed to work out another possible route - and this one worked. This took us on the same, defense-top route as before, all 55 km to Trento. 
The photo (taken at John C's suggestion) that saved our bacon. We eventually got on to the cycle route (bottom) using the Via Stazione (lower left) having been turned back by roadworks on Pfattner Str.
 The route continues along the river defense along the mountain-lined valley all the way to Trento.
As we cycle on towards Trento in to the early evening it becomes increasingly murky.

We found out from talking to a couple of very helpful runners that there wasn't a camp site at Trento as we thought there should be from the map, so we ended up at the youth hostel at about 7:30 pm. It was full. So was the hotel that we tried next. Then we went looking for some B&B's. No luck! We were beginning to think we'd have a night on a park bench when we were rescued by an elderly gentleman who appeared on a bike. He preceded to trail us through the town, riding Italian style (ie. ignoring traffic lights, one way streets and generally bossing the other traffic around) until we found a hotel with a room, though it was a bit pricey for our budget. No problem for our rescuer, who then negotiated our price down and finished by recommending the best route for tomorrow. Amazing! So after 2 hours searching, we ended up, at 9:30pm, finally with a room, and extremely grateful for our knight in shining armor. We've managed to get food now, and Jeremy is going to put his iPad to work looking for route options on our revised plan.

We're not going to quite make it to Venice tomorrow, but we should be close ....  

Vital Statistics
119.14 km / 78 miles, 6 hours 22 minutes in the saddle, but this includes a lot of walking around in both Merano And Trento. Average speed 18.7 kph, Max speed 41.3 kph, 324 m of climbing. 

No calorie count tonight as John C is fast asleep and I don't think I'd get a good reception if I tried to wake him to ask him...

Later update: 5767 calories used

1 comment:

  1. i shall raise a glass to expert hub fixers and knights on shiny bicycles! Luck indeed!

    nearly there? hope you have a safe and incident free ride to the finish!

    verification word:
    inestrat - being on a German road.