Monday, August 31, 2009

Things to love about Italy...

Ok, sometimes I get annoyed by problems in my country, but then I have to admit that I love it, and the good far outweighs the bad, for me at least!

Of course, the greatest compliment that can be made needs to come from an unbiased source.... for example, an American who has cycled in Italy as a pro cyclist. Interestingly enough, I just came across this entry in the Italian Cycling Journal (one of the blogs that I follow) about just how nice Italy and cycling here are.

Yes, this post put a smile on my face. Especially the bit about the Giro! Nice to see that Italy and our cycling being appreciated!

Mille grazie!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

De Rosa Professional SLX

De Rosa Professional SLX. My original 'specialissima'.

So ladies and gentlemen, today I would like to take you for a ride down memory lane. Yes, indeed, that is a 1993 De Rosa Professional, Columbus SLX tubing, built up with a mixture of Campagnolo Corsa Record (8 speed), Super Record and a wee bit of Shimano.

She (all my bicycles are females) has a rather interesting history. I was attending graduate school at the time, and British Airways bent the back triangle of my previous bike to the point that a wheel would not fit into it. This De Rosa was therefore purchased at a bike shop in Manhattan, NYC, where I was living at the time, with my components switched over from the previous frame (a very nice Rossin SL). Yes, an Italian specialissima bought by an Italian in the United States. A bit complicated, but you get it.

Columbus SLX. Wonder-ride...

So, for the ignorant (or the very young) amongst you, Columbus SLX tubing was the top of the top in terms of steel (really the only serious option, beyond some funny 'beer can' alu frames by some American company called Cannondale... or a French Vitus not to be taken seriously by roadies at the time) and far better, in my humble unbiased Italian opinion, than the similar high grade stuff being made by Reynolds. The peculiarity of SLX tubing was that it was quite light for its time, but without losing its rigidity. This was accomplished by making the tube walls thin, but strengthening the 'high stress' sections with helicoidal (spiral) reinforcements inside the tubes. The ride was (is...) very nice, with little power lost to frame flex.

The geometry was classic pro for the time, and this was rumoured to have been developed by Ugo De Rosa for some Belgian guy named Eddy who won a few races here and there on De Rosa frames (occasionally rebadged)... Which translates into a relatively relaxed frame on which you could pedal all day with no aches or pains. And that was stable at any speed, although probably not the quickest steering bike around (criteriums, what are criteriums? we raced road races!).

Yup. Flat-head fork, along with some dirt and Dura Ace brakes, 1994 vintage, if I recall correctly.

Although there were some sleeker, 'modern' designs coming out at the time, this frame came with the flat-head fork, which was more rigid and never gave anything but the greatest feedback downhill (I descended the Iseran on this bike and hit speeds in excess of 90 km per hour... I was also younger and more reckless then).

Corsa Record derailleurs, 8 speed set-up, with 53x42 Super Record cranks. Look pedals

Components? Well, as I hinted in the introduction to this post, the bike is a bit of a mish-mash - remember, I was a grad student, and had to ask my dad for the cash to buy the frame. I was not exactly in the position to pick up a ful C-Record groupset (although I desperatly wanted to!). So 8 speed C-Record seatpost, derailleurs, hubs, freewheel and chain. Plus the Super Record cranks and bottom bracket that I already had.

Super Record cranks. Still a thing of beauty today.

I then opted for Shimano Dura Ace brakes, which were far cheaper than Campagnolo, as I was hearing rumours about trouble with Delta brakes, and the last thing I wanted riding in Central Park was trouble with my brakes (BTW, are the NYC yellow cabs as homicidal today as they were then?). I had regular Campagnolo friction shifters, which were replaced at a later date with Synchro II (Campagnolo's second attempt at index shifting, works ok, not great).

The original seat was a San Marco Rolls. Replaced by a Flite Titanium and later by this Flite Gel when I became old and fat and worried about my prostate. Hubs were mounted on Mavic GP4 rims and Clements. Replaced four years ago with a set of Open Pros (the GP4s were beyond truing salvation by that point).

The chromed chainstays are suffering...

The bike needs a bit of tlc, and I should probably contact De Rosa about repainting it (the chromed chainstays are starting to rust).

So, you ask, how was the ride. Yes, that good. Still is, matter of fact. I keep this bike at my parent's house, in hill country about 90 kms north of Rome. Quiet country roads with quite a bit of climbing. The bike is wonderful to ride. Really nice. Very comfortable. Descends on rails. A pleasure to look at. Takes a few minutes to get used to the levers on the frame, then you are fine.

My only complaints are the weight (clearly, it weighs a LOT more than my Cervelo) and the gearing - I don't remember, but I think my bailout gear is a 42x25? But that has more to do with my legs and fitness. Or lack thereof.

Still puts a heck of a smile on my face each time I ride the bike (which is not often enough!).

Ok so, tell me about your classic bike (only if it is still regularly ridden)!

Thursday, August 27, 2009


Today I would like to discuss one of my favorite topics. Probably the thing I most like to talk about excluding bicycles... food. Being enthusiastic about food is useful in that it makes it possible for cyclists to interact with non-riders... after all, they don't understand how we could be excited about carbon fiber frames and riding for hours in lycra. And we don't understand how their lives have any meaning with cycling and salivating over new Campagnolo parts...

But I misled you with that intro. Because I will not beguile you with wonderful pictures and tales of Italian food. That will come... as the weather worsens and my desire to ride decreases, I have this sinking feeling I will post about Italian lunches, but that is still a few months away... hopefully!

Today I will discuss on-bike food. Clif bars, to be exact. You see, I have just discovered these little bundles of joy during my time in the US this summer. I had, as many roadies, a very traditional approach to these things. Riding food consisted of some combination of the following:

  1. honey or nutella micro-sandwiches wrapped in tinfoil;
  2. apple slices wrapped in tinfoil;
  3. micro prosciutto sandwiches with a touch of olive wrapped in... yes, you guessed it;
  4. pre-packaged apple sauce (a French brand, no, actually it is yummy); and/or
  5. stops at bars for a pastry and coffee.
Yes, usually it was number five. I am a great forward planner, no really... but could you resist this after 50 km:

Ahhh, caffè e cornetto...

But then a terrifying problem rears its ugly head when you plan your riding in rural South Carolina. They do not have Italian espresso bars on every street corner. As a matter of fact, they do not have them anywhere. This is the closest thing I came across. I am not sure what the opening hours were, though:

I stayed away, a bit of a 'deliverance' feel to the place, wouldn't you agree?

So what is an increasingly hungry Italian cyclist going to do to stave off hunger... especially before his 45 million calorie lunch that is waiting for him when he returns from his ride?

Consumerism to the rescue! For 99 cents you too can purchase a Clif bar, which comes in about 300 different distinct flavors, from your local Trader Joe's (I like to show off and drop American store names, just to show how hip I am regarding the Americana shopping experience). These are in environmentally friendly wrappers that ensure that even in 40 centigrade heat in your sweaty jersey pocket for several hours there will be no effect on the contents.

Nothing left. Only the nuclear proof packaging.

When you open the package, the actual contents look like something that your dog might leave on the footpath during your (his? her?) daily walk. The consistency is a wee bit chewy. And you do need some water to get them to go down well.

Having said that, they are really, really yummy. As in, I wish I had brought a second one on the ride. The regular Chocolate Chip and Chocolate Chip Peanut Crunch (the only two flavors I tried) were both absolutely great. And I had no trouble eating them while riding...


A happily refueled Powerful Pete riding along in his Fat Cyclist jersey!

Now if I could only find them in good old Italia. Carrying 1~2 on long rides is definitely an option.

Highly recommended. 4 out of 5 stars on the Happy Powerful Pete rating scale. Minus one star for the way they look when you pull 'em out of the package. So, if you get a chance, try 'em.

I am curious. Let me know if you like them, and what other fake cycling food you enjoy partaking while riding. And, for the American readers of this blog, I am curious about Clif Shot Bloks. So be nice and send me a few to sample. Mille grazie!

In the meantime, I will go back to my caffè e cornetto until I can locate a decently priced supplier here in the Old World.

What did he say?

I was just re-reading my Italian post, and realised that I had not provided an English synopsis for my rather significant (no really, hundreds... LOL) number of English language speakers. The post is about traffic and courtesy, or rather lack thereof, that I have noticed since coming back from my recent vacation in the US.

Now, as a European, I realise that it is my duty to complain about America. That's what we do! But one plus week of riding back in Rome, notwithstanding the fact that the city is almost deserted for August break, has me disgusted. The roads are in horrible shape, the way people drive is downright dangerous (especially for pedestrians and cyclists!) and there is litter everywhere. Maybe it's the big city mentality, but people simply are not courteous to others.

The exact opposite to my experience in South Carolina. The road infrastructure was fantastic, there was little or no litter by the roads (and Americans have volunteer adopt-a-highway programmes - something that is completely foreign to the Italian mentality), most drivers were quite courteous and extra cautious when passing me. It was a real pleasure to ride in the US.

I don't know if I was simply very fortunate, if Aiken is actually a cycling hotbed and everyone rides (if they do, I did not run into the cycling hordes), or if I have some kind of 'foreigner: be polite to him' mark that was secretly placed on my cycling jersey that all Americans take heed of.

So, as an Italian I am a bit sad and annoyed by this state of affairs, which is, unfortunately representative of the 'state of nature' which we Italians seem to have accepted here (at least in Rome).

Oh well. Time to get excited about another ride. No matter how others act.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Traffico? Civilta'?

Traffico senza speranza... altro che vigili, chiamate la Folgore!

Avendo notato che molti visitatori del blog sono italiani, presumo che ci sia anche qualcuno che non se la cavi tanto bene con l'inglese. Allora oggi vorrei scrivere un post in italiano - comunque una buona cosa, visto che sono un italiano e che vivo a Roma!

Forse avrete notato i miei post 'americani' e le fotografie - strade deserte, asfalto liscio come un biliardo... poca sporcizia ai lati delle strade. Quest'estate ho avuto la fortuna di passare le mie due settimane di ferie nella Carolina del Sud, in una cittadina a due passi dalla frontiera con la Georgia. Il sud, insomma.
Non proprio una zona rinomata per la sua grande tradizione ciclistica (ok, lasciamo stare Lance ed il Texas). Tengo una bici da corsa (la Specialized rossa che potete ammirare in un post precedente) li che uso per allenarmi. Due settimane di uscite, niente di particolare - dai 40 a 70 km al dì. Sempre solo (anche se conosco una squadra locale, dopo un anno lavorativo difficile ho preferito uscite solitarie molto 'zen') sulle strade intorno alla città di Aiken. Percorsi per lo più rurali, visto che bastano 5-6 km per uscire dalla città.

Qualche considerazione...

Infrastrutture fantastiche. Strade perfette. Quello che loro considerano strade messe male per noi sono il meglio del meglio. A quanto pare sanno anche fare manutenzione. Ciclabili dappertutto. E dove non esistono, cartelloni che esortano gli automobilisti a 'share the road' , ergo fate attenzione ai ciclisti - hanno tutto il diritto di utilizzare la strada con voi!

Pulizia... pochissima plastica e solamente qualche lattina (gli imbecilli ci sono dappertutto) a bordo strada - il tutto che viene comunque pulito regolarmente da volontari di ditte e/o scuole locali. Si avete letto bene, volontari. Proprio come in Italia.

E poi, il comportamento degli automobilisti lascia esterrefatti noi ciclisti italiani. In una decina di uscite nessuno mi ha mai 'stretto' o sorpassato in modo pericoloso. Alla guida nessuno è aggressivo, e a quanto pare sono consci della responsabilità che ha il conducente di un'auto. Mi sono trovato con gruppi di 5-6 auto che attendevano, pazientemente, il momento di potermi superare (quasi sempre evitando del tutto la corsia dove pedalavo). Proprio come qui da noi...

E come ho fatto notare. In una zona dove non ci sono moltissimi ciclisti. Dove non sono per niente abituati ad incontrarci per strada.

Allora, perché si comportano cosi'? Forse perché sono in gran parte persone educate. Esiste ancora un livello di coscienza civica che noi non abbiamo (forse... mai avuto).

Poi uno torna a Roma e per andare in bici in ufficio, od allenarsi dopo l'orario di lavoro viene visto come: (i) un problema; oppure (ii) uno stravagante... (per usare un'eufemismo) dopo tutto, potrebbe stare bloccato nel traffico per ore in auto come 'una persona normale'. Per poi arrivare a destinazione e cercare parcheggio per un'altra mezz'ora.

Credo proprio che il concetto stesso del
public good - del bene pubblico, non esista. Peccato.

Mancanza di civiltà. E come italiano, questo mi fa un po male.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Riding in Aiken... part II

Proof! I really did ride there!

This evening I raced home from work to be able to squeeze in a training ride on the R3 before dark. Made it home, changed into my cycling clothes (I ride in mtb shorts and a t-shirt for my work commute on the Kona) and hopped on the R3 for the ride.

Rome - Ostia - Rome - about 32 kilometers on a high traffic road. Why would you ride on that kind of road, Pete, especially with Italian drivers, zooming by you at high speed in cars and scooters?

Well, dear pastatrails blog reader, it is the quickest way for me to get a quick training ride in! All I have to do is exit the front door and start riding. Reach the sea (Ostia), turn around and come home. There is a decent (kind of) emergency lane both ways, so cars usually (occasional morons excepted) leave me alone. Not so the motorcycles and scooters, but we'll leave that to another day...

It's not beautiful, quiet, smog free. And has crap asphalt too.

My, I am painting a pretty picture here, aren't I?

So, riding this evening while trying not to breathe too deeply, I began to think about my Aiken, SC rides again. I returned to Rome from the US on Sunday the 16th. So it's only been a few days. And a universe away from rural South Carolina...

So I though I would share with you what it's like to ride there... with another few pictures.


Toolebeck Road. I took this while riding, which brings us the weird effect. Whatever, I think it's cool.

Wire Road. Cotton, or so I am told. As a Euro, I found this fascinating... first time I have ever seen it!

Old Dibble Road. Just look at all of that traffic. Unbearable, really.

Wire Road. The best for last. This is my favorite picture from the entire vacation.

Oh, by the way. The Cervelo is wonderful. A hot knife through buttah. Superlative. Smooth. Tight. Fast. Click, click, change a gear. Stand up. The bike jumps instantaneously. I found myself giggling on a longish downhill. The problem are the legs...

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Cervelo R3... the first ride

Just back from her first ride...

Yup, there she is. Just back from the inaugural ride. So, what's my first impression?

Wow. It's that simple.

I am coming from a seven year old De Rosa Planet, a nice frame in its day, full alu with a carbon fork and upper chainstays. While pretty light when it was produced, the tradeoff was rigidity, or lack thereof. This was noticeable when riding out of the saddle uphill or in a sprint, and unfortunately also made itself felt downhill, where it was quite skittish at speed.

'Squoval' downtube. It's huge.

Not the R3. The massive bottom bracket area does not flex. Not even with all of my (not inconsiderable) weight and (rather minimal) power. It. Does. Not. Budge. Which means that I was able to climb the small hills on my inaugural ride one to two gears higher than normal.

The bottom bracket area. And first grease stain... ugh.

The handling is also excellent. It is much more stable than my old De Rosa on downhills (I have yet to reach massive speeds, only reached about 60 km/h today) and the best thing I can say is that by km 30 in the ride I was no longer conscious that this was on a new bike and my first ride. I was perfectly comfortable riding no-hands, drinking while at speed on downhills, etc.

Having said this, after years on a noodle frame, I did feel the rigidity when riding on Rome's miserable roads. The seat stays may be carefully studied by a super engineering team to be rigid yet vertically compliant (or so the Cervelo marketing spin tells us) but you do feel the road. This is a race bike, so that makes sense. Caveat emptor to potential buyers who want comfort. Look elsewhere for a plush ride.

The components are straight off my old bike. Modifications will be forthcoming (this bike is screaming for carbon Record 10 speed levers, black Record brakes and, if I can sneak them past the wife, a Neutron wheelset). So I have little to report beyond the fact that Campagnolo 10 speed continues to impress with its awesomeness. So let me wow you with a few pics of bike porn... (at least, for me).

Deda Newton stem and bars. Note the Cervelo cap on the stem. Nice touch.

San Marco Mantra saddle. Comfort for my bum and prostate, all in one! Happy Pete!

Tecno Tubo Torino (that's 3T to you) Funda fork. Delicious.

Ahh... Campagnolo Record Titanium. Bellissimo.

Front view. Very Euro Pro, in my humble opinion.

Just to prove that there is silliness in the best families... look at the service sticker on the top tube. Yes, white text on white paint. A wee bit difficult to read. LOL.

So, my overall first impression is that this is really, really great performance package. It is a fabulous race bike, well above my limits at the current time. On the basis of ogling and one flat ride in traffic choked Rome, I strongly recommend this to anyone looking for a high performance frame, one do-it-all bike.

I will do a full, bore you to death review in a few weeks when I have a few more kms under my belt...

A parting beauty shot. Simply gorgeous.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

New Cervelo R3...

Hello there... just needed to quickly post the big news... my new frame has now been set up with the components off my De Rosa (the one you see in the header of this site). First ride will be Saturday. I will be posting pics in a few days and providing you with my impressions.

For now, I was just really excited about the new arrival in my stable and felt the need to share the good tidings with everyone out there!

Quick and dirty build list: 2008 Cervelo R3, white. Campagnolo Chorus/Record mix. Deda Newton bars and stem. Selle San Marco Mantra saddle. FSA seatpost. Fulcrum 7 wheels.

Smiley borrowed from wikipedia... thanks to Pumba80!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Kona Jake the Snake Review

2008 Kona Jake the Snake

Ok guys... now that I have owned and commuted on the Kona for the better part of a year, I feel that I am in a position to review the bike. And yes, before you ask, apparently August is review Pete's bikes month. So deal. :)

The pictures of my bike are here, on one of my first posts on this blog. No reason to clog up bandwith posting more pics of the same thing, so click the link (or scroll down the page) if you want to see what she looks like! The full specs (I have a 54cm) can be found on the Kona website here.

The Kona is, I am ashamed to admit, the bike that I ride the most. On average five days a week, to and from work, on either an 11 kilometer route or a shorter 7 kilometer one... occasionally, when I have the daylight hours and the weather is good (and I sneak out of work around 17:00), I will extend the home leg of my commute. So this bike does get its fair share of riding, around 80 kilometers a week if I stay on the conservative side.
The bike, as any commuter I suppose, is ridden in any weather, and in the fall and winter, spends most of its time riding after dark with lights. Subject of a forthcoming equipment review, I suppose, but I digress...

My commute is not very challenging either in terms of road surface (all paved, Rome pavement, which is pretty bad, but paved) or in terms of hills - I have a couple of short grades in that can be used to add some pain to the ride, but nothing serious. Having said this, with two panniers full of clothing, a laptop computer and assorted odds and ends (sometimes 10 kgs of stuff), the cyclocross gearing (46/36 chainring up front) comes in handy. The frame is heavy (compared to a road bike), but very solid, and the ride predictable. This is no downhill carving uberbike, but you will have no nasty surprises in handling terms either. The frame comes across as a very sturdy, and with the included eyelets for a rack, is an ideal (IMHO) light commuting bike...

The bike comes with Shimano 105 components, FSA Gossamer crankset, Avid Juicy cantilevers (good braking, hard to avoid some brake squeal, but very low maintenance), Mavic Aksium wheels, and rather gnarly Maxxis tires.

The Mavic wheels, contrary to what I have read on the net, were very poor performers. I apparently got a bad set, they creaked to no end (seriously, people in Rome traffic could hear me from 500 meters away) and the only way I could fix'em was to get rid of them. Replaced with a set of cheap Shimanos, not much better in performance terms, but at least no noise!

After rather poor experiences with the stock clinchers in rainy conditions on asphalt (very exciting... in a bad way) I went through several different sets of clinchers. All poor performers for what I needed. I have now settled for a pair of Schwalbe Marathon Plus... they are expensive, weigh a ton and are not exactly speed racer tires, but punctures are now a thing of the past. And they appear to not be wearing at all, which is also a good thing!

The Gossamer crank is absolute crap. The allow appears to be soft butter. The shifting is only just acceptable, and the rings are not even very true out of the box. I am simply using it because the gearing's right for commuting, and because trashing it will not hurt my inner cycling self...

The 105 components are ok. Very clunky shifting, as I have mentioned in other posts, but maybe there is a bit of lack of love for maintenance on a commuter that affects their performance. They are light years behind my Campagnolo Chorus in feel as well as in ease and speed of shifting. Then again, that is the way it should be, as we are obviously comparing apples and oranges in the two component lines. In any event, the step down in performance from Ultegra (please see my review of the Specialized) is noticeable. If you can possibly spare the cash, go for the better group. And I will be substituting the 105 bits for a hodge podge of Campagnolo parts once I have the chance.

So, along with a set of Arkel T-28 panniers (they are great, by the way), that is the set-up. To sum things up, this is a very capable bike, which is a bit let down by some components (obviously
the spec is built to hit a price point). I recommend the Jake the Snake for light touring, commuting and I cyclocross (I guess, never used it for that, though). The frame is tough and made to last. The components, as you can surmise from my review, can all be changed out for something better.

Hope you found this review helpful!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Specialized Allez Review...

The Specialized...

I have a number of different road bikes, but the Specialized Allez here is probably the most unique bike in my stable. Why? Well, the frame material is similar to my other 'main' bike - a De Rosa Planet - Alu main triangle plus cf fork and rear stays, but the similarities end there. The Allez is very much a criterium machine, IMHO, being a very compact frameset (it is extremely compact in the 54 sloping size pictured here), and set-up with a full Shimano Ultegra Grey group, Mavic Ksyrium Elite wheels, FSA bars, and Thomson seatpost and stem. Essentially a no nonsense racing frame (preferably for shorter, nervous races - I suspect that the previous owner used it as a criterium machine).

Yes, previous owner. This bike was purchased through ebay as an occasional use bike that I keep in the US (I regularly vacation in the US, but rarely more than 2-3 weeks a year in total). So I was not really looking for the latest and greatest, but rather a solid dependable bike that would give me little trouble. And indeed it satisfies my needs and more.

The business end...

I was a bit nervous when I unpacked the bike - I suspected that the position would be rather less forgiving than my De Rosa and the stout alu frame (especially the aero downtube) would give an effective but bone-jarring ride. Especially coming from the De Rosa, which is built with U2 tubing... about as noodly as it gets! Well, I was mistaken. This bike, with Elite wheels (as opposed to the 32 spoke handbuilts I usually ride at home), is quite comfortable. While I cannot say that I have ridden extreme distances, it is good for rides up to 80~100 kilometers (or at least, that is the most I have ridden it) without any serious aches and pains. I am not certain whether this has anything to do with the 'zertz' inserts that Specialized marketing types hype up, but I have no complaints comfort-wise.

Columbus Squadre Corse... a little bit of Italy!

This does not limit the power transfer of the frame - it is quite rigid and I have felt no power (not that I have much power!) loss while attempting to power-sprint up the short rolling hills that I ride in South Carolina. And the bike feels even more composed on the flat, where it is simply a joy to pedal hard, reach and maintain quite high 'cruising' speeds in the high 30s to low 40s (kph) with little effort (this is all relatively speaking, of course!).

Now about the groupset. As a proud Italian I am a Campagnolo man through and through. And must admit that I find the Shimano 105 group that came with my Kona to be inadequate the more I ride it... the shifts are clunky, the groupset is heavy and does not stay well regulated (maybe it's me, but this is not a problem with my Campagnolo groups) and... well, the aesthetics are nothing to write home about either.

The Ultegra drivetrain... where all the magical 'go fast' power transfer happens!

So... I was taken aback by how well the Ultegra group on this bike functions. It works the way a high quality group should - effortless shifting, no trouble making it work right, easy to maintain. Really nothing negative to say, beyond the fact that the STIs are huge, but then again, that is coming from a Campagnolo man, and it is the design characteristic of the entire Shimano line. And I do find them quite comfortable (apparently I am one of the few people who have no trouble riding either STIs or Ergopowers, both in terms of comfort and functionality). So, kudos, nothing negative to report on the group front.

The rest of the component set is also without fault. The FSA bars work fine, the massive Thomson stem and very elegant seatpost are excellent, and the Elite wheels have stayed true and spin well. The only complaint I have is the aftermarket Scott seat. I am sure it fits some people well, but any ride over one hour becomes torture. It will be replaced on my next visit with a Fizik Arione to protect my delicate posterior.

So, to sum it all up, if you have not already abandoned reading this post out of boredom: this is a great budget road bike, which will definitely not hold you back at all should you choose to race on it. A fantastic machine that you will enjoy riding many thousands of kilometers, should you so choose. Just remember to get a seat that you can live with!

She's actually quite striking, isn't she?

P.S. Apologies for the pictures - two days of training in the rain will do this... but I preferred to show you what it looks like 'in reality' as opposed to pictures taken following a 'showroom' cleaning session!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Cycling in Aiken, South Carolina

Words to live by!

Hello everyone! I only just realised that I have not blogged since May! Finally have some time to blog again... it has been truly hectic with work and life. Sorry about that...

Ok, on to the good stuff... I am currently in Aiken, South Carolina, for a two week family vacation. So this was a wonderful opportunity to get some riding in - I keep a Specialized alu roadbike here to ride when I am in town... having a nice bike, wonderful roads with little traffic make the riding here a true joy. So I thought I would impress all of you with a few pictures of the roads around Aiken, along with the 'heavy' traffic I have to deal with (this will make all the Europeans reading this laugh - remember this is early August!).

Beautiful. Just beautiful.

Yes, this is normal traffic here... and the road surface is that good.

Wonderful legs... not shaved, I know. And check out the gleam on the frame...

In any event, hope that you are all having some good riding time out there. I cannot wait to get back to Italy for rides on my usual training routes, but definitely cannot complain about rides here in Aiken either. No real climbs, but lots of very pleasant rolling roads where you can ride as far as you want. Just be aware that there is the occasional rabid dog out there...

And also let me thank all of the drivers out here. Very, very polite (so far!), and they have always given me plenty of space when passing. A highly recommended area for riding.