Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A few days and a couple of rides on my new "old" bike

Sunday, I did a guided hike for some very nice newlyweds, Kate and Matthew.  I offer guided hikes as well as cycling, but this is only the third hike in 4 seasons.  It was nice and they were a fun couple. We had a really excellent, large lunch at Nappino's, a restaurant in Santa Brigida.  When Emily and I lived up there, we went to Nappino's weekly for dinner and pretty much always had pizza.  They do not serve pizza at Sunday lunch, and we feasted on seafood and pasta.  I was amazed at how good it was.  In particular, the mussels were just excellent.

Monday, I did a Chianti tour for Florence by Bike.  Two Australians, Jim and Chris, were the clients. We started in the pouring rain, and they were amazingly game to do this.  Both Lia, the person at the shop, and I expected a cancellation.  It actually cleared after around an hour of rain, and we had a very nice tour.  On the way back from Villa Monteoriolo, where we had a great lunch, Everyone was doing very well, and Jim was so confident that he was taking pictures on a descent.  I certainly had no idea he was doing this, but everyone is adult and can make their own decisions.  Unfortunately, he crashed as he was taking pictures, but did not really complain.  We cleaned everything, mostly superficial scrapes, and waited until returning to the shop for antiseptic and bandages.  They both were still happy with the tour and Jim basically felt bad that he might have hurt his wife's Chris' time out.  All good in the end.

Tuesday, I picked up the bike I am riding for the Eroica, coming up in early October.  It is a 1973 Bianchi that I received from Kate's boss, Massimo.  The mechanic at Florence by Bike loves working on old bikes and he did a masterful job taking this bike and making it "Eroica ready".  I took it out for a nice test spin, then me Kate and the kids in the park to help with Viola's effort to learn to ride a bike without training wheels.  It started with a fair amount of difficulty, but Kate kind of made her hang in there and after an hour of effort she was riding for 5 or 10 seconds after either Kate or I let go from the running alongside her, holding the bike upright.  Hooray!  Tomorrow, Thursday, we will try again, and I am sure she will get it quickly.

Today, I took the Bianchi out for a real ride with a fair amount of climbing, a good test for both me and the bike.  It is certainly different.  Mostly the gearing presents some real challenges.  I am used to a modern compact set up 50/34 and 11/28 with DI2 electronic shifting.  The old bike is pretty much the opposite with 52/42 and 12/27 (in only 5 gears).  The hills will definitely present a challenge for me.  I made it and enjoyed myself and really liked the way the bike handled and rode.  Fun to have a new challenge, but I will use my new bike mostly and try to do a couple days a week on the old bike to get ready for the Eroica.  Andrea, the mechanic, suggested that to really be ready, I should only ride the old bike for a month, but 2 days a week will do.  Had a wonderful ride on a beautiful day in the Mugello.

Kate and Matthew on a break during our hike above Santa Brigida.

Jim and Chris on our Galluzzo break before the big climb to Impruneta.

Andrea, the mechanic with the restored Bianchi.

Beautiful day in the Mugello.

Sant Agata from the road to Galliano.

The bianchi"s first real work out with me.  Here it is posed
for the picture in the Mugello.  Around 80 k today with over
1050 meters of climbing.

Another view of the beautiful and peaceful Mugello today.

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