Cycling

Dreaming of Italy

My Saturday evening reading has, temporarily, brought my mind back to Pulglia 2010 and my plans to follow the Via Francigena to Rome and beyond. The book that I am reading – Vroom With a View – recounts the travels (on a 1961 Vespa) of the author, Peter Moore from Milan to Rome. He’s not far from having set off and to my delight he spends some time following the pilgrimage route:
“Castell’Arquato was a mjor stopover on the Via Francigena, a medieval trail pilgrims followed on their way to Rome. They came from all parts of Europe, taking months, sometimes years, and suffering all kinds of privations, to reach their destination. They must have felt awed, as I did, when the crenellated towers of the Rocca Viscontea fortress came into view”
The author goes on to describe how, quite frankly, the locals were out to fleece the pilgrims out of every penny they had but it looks as though the rest of his journey will follow, more or less, the route of the Via Francigena. Excellent!
Other things worthy of note today? I bought a magazine called The Bicycle Buyer. It was quite a good read. Lots of practical stuff, not just about the bikes, but about the equipment including one section on cleets – the shoes that fasten themselves to the pedal. It gives them a good write up and even recommends them to the novice as they are well worth the initial hassle of getting used to them. There is another section on fitness. It states, interestingly (but entirely predictably) that when you cycle, you exercise your legs very well, but not the stomach and there is a severe risk, if you are not careful, of ending up with a physique which is “top heavy”. I think I may be at risk and have decided to start doing the sit-ups and press-ups again. A couple of years ago I was doing about hundred of each every morning. I think I might struggle to do ten at the moment. You would think that not having had any alcohol since the 31st December would mean that I no longer had a beer belly. But it’s still there. I was, incidentally, a bit tempted (not too much to overcome) to sink a pint of beer while reading the magazine in the sun this afternoon. I didn’t of course.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Easter holiday so there is a risk that the blog might go quiet again for a few weeks. I’ll try my best to make sure that it doesn’t. Back to work on Monday and like all teachers up and down the country, I am trying to persuade myself that this is not the end of the holiday but the middle of the weekend!
The picture at the top is, hopefully (as I have yet to find a picture on the Internet) of the Rocca Viscontea in Castell’Arquanto. Here goes!

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What do you think?