Tuesday, February 20, 2018

This is February?

February in Sicily

Above: Uncle Larry with Ortigia in the background

This is one of those "Well, just rub it in that we're under X feet of snow!" posts, but this is what passes for winter here on the southeastern coast of Sicily.

Of course it'll be hotter than the hinges of Hades in July but we'll be up in Piedmont by then.

For now and the next few months, we're happy to be down here.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Training roads of the stars



We were riding around a few weeks ago as a couple of guys in UAE team kits came down the hill. One of them looked a LOT like the guy on the white Colnago!

They were nice enough, saying CIAO as they went past. We didn't recognize them enough to know for sure if they were pros or just fan-boys (FIT fan-boys, but) but today Larry looked here

https://cyclingtips.com/news/excited-martin-gets-season-underway-volta-ao-algarve/

and recognized the background in this Cor Vos photo. I guess we're not the only ones who think southeastern Sicily is a great place to ride in the winter!

In truth, we've seen some other pro teams out here over the years, but this photo confirms Sicily is again becoming a choice of the pros for their winter training.

Monday, February 5, 2018

The Pillbox Ride

The Pillbox Ride


When we first started cycling here years ago, Uncle Larry was struck by the number of German "pillboxes" along the roads. These date back to WWII and the German occupation of Sicily.


Back-in-day these were disguised as buildings so they were hard to see from the air, but these days the coverings are long gone, though some of the openings have been closed.


Some seem to be on private property these days and used for storing wine or oil. With the thick concrete construction the temperature inside can't change much from season to season.


You can see they've rebuilt this road and put up modern guardrails, but the pill box remains pretty much intact after 70+ years.


This ride loop passes more than pillboxes. Orange trees are full of fruit this time of year.


These red or blood oranges are tasty and juicy,


Just look at that juice!!! No artificial colors here.


And then there's a view to admire while enjoying it. It's a tough life but someone's gotta live it!

Friday, February 2, 2018

PIZZA GARAGE

Pizza Garage?


We've passed this place a zillion times and every time Uncle Larry's said, "We have to eat there" but up until last night it never worked out.


The students played soccer last night and it was too late to come home and cook so why not finally visit this near-to-the-soccer field place?


It was pretty quiet on a Thursday night in February so we wandered in to admire the old motos Nuccio has decorated his tiny pizzeria with.


Moto Guzzi, Gilera, Benelli, etc. might not be household names in the USA but in Italy they're revered in the same way as the tiny FIAT 500 cars.


Some of the old relics look to have seen some racetrack time, most likely at the local autodromo which hosted GP auto racing back-in-the-day. Photos on the wall show the 1958 GP of Siracusa


This place is crammed full of all kinds of racing memorabilia.


Including nicely finished engines, fuel tanks, etc. Everything's Italian through and through. The pizza is OK, but nothing special here in Italy.


As some of you know, Uncle Larry has a soft spot for motorized two-wheelers, especially Italian ones. This last shot is of him during his (very) brief period as a pro Superbike racer in the early '80's.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Transportation - but not by car

"SHOPPING BIKE"


Most everything we need here is available on the island of Ortigia and the island is only 1000 meters long X 600 meters wide.

But now and then we want to head off the island for some reason or another and sometimes it's too far to walk, especially if you're pressed for time.

Uncle Larry has usually rented a "shopping bike" for the periods when we're down here but decided since our plans are to leave some stuff down here anyway, why not break down and get a proper bike for this purpose?

One with fenders, lights, racks, chainguard, fat enough tires to handle the cobblestoned streets - in other words like a car, suitable for use at any time in any conditions.

The BIANCHI SPILLO Rubino pictured above seemed just about perfect! The only thing lacking was the classic celeste color. They make 'em but the local shop didn't have one so the matte black would have to suffice. Perhaps of less interest to potential thieves anyway? The Q/R's on the seatpost and wheels were replaced for the same reason.

A rack/basket for the front should be the next addition - in fact Heather's (in the "proper" celeste color natch!) came equipped with both so Larry's should have the same setup.

If we need to go farther than we want to ride these, there's an AVIS car rental office at the end of the island with reasonable rates. You really can't drive (and certainly park!) a car on this island anyway, so why have one unless you really, really need it?

Why aren't more bikes like these offered at bike shops or even the big-box stores? "Sprawl-Mart" could order a couple of million and drive the cost down to what they get for those cheapo MTB's - the ones you see those who need transportation often using despite the fact they don't need suspension and all those gears. Instead, give 'em fenders and lights!


Thursday, January 25, 2018

SCICON Aerocomfort bike travel case rental progrsm

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Sunday, January 21, 2018

Sicily 2018

Winter in Paradise?


Well, we'd say so! Too cold and damp up in Piemonte at present (and Larry knows first-hand since he was up there last week) so we'll spend our winter here before heading up to open up Piedmont Cycling Resort early in May.

Eating well down here is especially economical - another big reason we plan to spend most of our non-PCR time down here. That huge bag of red pepper flakes Zio Lorenzo is holding above costs the equivalent of $10!


And then there's this - SCARPETTA OBBLIGATORIA. We have yet to dine here but we think this is a good sign!

Buona Domenica!