Sunday, September 6, 2009

Riding in Rome

Ahh... a bucolic ride in the Rome countryside.

If you recall, in a previous post or three I had mentioned that riding in Rome was challenging. And not that picturesque. To prove my point, I decided to take my handy point-and-shoot camera on my ride this morning.

I live in southern Rome, relatively (about 17 kms) close to the beach. Unfortunately, the only convenient and relatively safe road for me to get to the sea and on to better riding is a heavily trafficked two lane road called the Cristoforo Colombo (yup, the guy who discovered the Americas, although the place was then named for a guy named Amerigo but I digress). Unfortunately the Colombo is one of the major thoroughfares to Ostia, a major neighborhood of Rome.

Yes. That means lots of traffic.

She is wearing a cool helmet...

Keep in mind that, while the asphalt is in pretty good shape and there is a safe emergency lane to ride in, the traffic is constant and pretty quick... in the 70~100 kph range. But hey, it's the quickest way to get to the sea road (that goes from Ostia all the way to Anzio). And once you are used to the cars zooming by (as all cyclists in Southern Rome) it can be pleasant.

Minus the cars it would be a nice ride!

Once I hit Ostia, after a ride of about 17km, I then turn South and start riding along the sea towards Anzio, which is about 40 km from Ostia. Today I was surprised to find that I had stumbled upon the Rome sprint triathlon. So I took a couple of pictures to show you that this blog is not just about road riding!

These guys were really moving... isn't riding in a swimsuit uncomfortable?

After all that excitement I rode about 20 kms down the coast, turned around and came home. Nice pleasant Sunday morning ride, got in about 75 km total by the time I got home (have yet to install the bike computer on the Cervelo yet!). The sea road (litoranea in Italian) would be fabulous if it wasn't for... the cars.

Yes. Those cars are parked along the shoulder. I ride in the middle of the road.
People are used to it (both riders and car drivers). Surprisingly few accidents.

The picture above shows what the sea road looks like after about 10AM during the weekend in the summer. The line of parked cars stretches for about 20km on this stretch. To the left, over the guardrail and the dunes, is the sea. Not more than 100 meters.

Occasionally the sea is unreachable along a stretch.
Then the road becomes, magically free of cars.

Then again, there are bits and pieces where there is no easy sea access. So people completely ignore that particular stretch of road. And the riding becomes wonderful again. Happy Pete.

This was not a very deep or insightful post, but I just thought it would be nice to show you what riding in southern Rome means. The good bit (not shown in the pictures) are the literally hundreds of riders who use these roads. So car drivers expect to come across cyclists, and that contributes to our safety. Not much, I know. But the best I can do without taking too much time away from the family on a Sunday morning.

I just liked this picture. Shows my Campagnolo ergos, Deda bars, and the fact that my bike is a...

Oh, there are wonderful roads to ride on around here. Those will come in other posts, do not despair!


  1. Sheesh I am lusting heavily over all of that silky smooth road......droooooool.

  2. LOL. Your roads must be pretty bad... Post some pics of where you ride!

  3. Ok you asked for it! Once I get rid of the plague I will for sure.