Monday, September 19, 2011

Back in the saddle again.

Ok, no. I didn't get hurt. I've been on my bike riding around town for errands and work. But I haven't been out on a long, recreational ride in a long time. It has been in the 90's to 100's consistently for most of August and I just didn't want to ride in that kind of heat. But the weather has changed and I'm ready to ride again.

As you may know, I am tutoring 4 little girls in English. This isn't happening in Florence, but in a town about 20k from my home. I have been taking the train because it seemed the easiest way to get there. But I started thinking about it. It costs me 3,80 euro to take the train there and back. Not a huge amount, but I do need  to count my pennies. I already have to ride my bike to the train station. I can see the bike road for most of the train ride. Piece of cake.

Of course I only had to mention to Leif that I was going to try riding to my tutoring address to see how long it would take and if it would be possible to ride instead of take the train, and there we were....riding off to Lastra a Signa. I put on my little bike shorts (it's not a long way there, but we have to get back too), filled up our water bottles and we headed out early while the weather was still cool.

Most of the ride I have done before because I ride to Signa pretty regularly, just for fun. (I can't believe I actually said that.) Lastra a Signa is just over the river south of Signa, so I figured it couldn't be too hard to find the house where I tutor once I found the bridge over the river. I love it when I'm right. In a town where there are maybe three street signs I was able to take us right to it.

(slight pause while I give myself another high five for finding my way around the countryside)

Of course we didn't go back the way we came. Leif has been riding here for seven years and likes to take different ways to the same place. we went to find our way back to Florence on the south side of the river. Instead of the simple gravel road along the river we followed a twisted path of one way streets through a series of little towns outside Florence. I haven't been on this side of the river much, so it was fun. At one point I was a little nervous. You know how in Minnesota they took a lot of the old rail beds and made them into bike trails? There's one of those here too, except that the bed is only about a meter wide and the drop off on either side is incredibly steep (I would say cliff-like, really) and the bottom is a long, long ways down. At the end of a ride I am never at my most graceful, so even though the ride was flat and very smooth, I was happy to be off that path and onto something that seemed a little closer to the ground. You know what I mean.

As experiments go it was  fairly successful. I don't think I'll be taking the alternate route back on the south of the river as the twists and turns will certainly get me lost and then I'd spend the whole day trying to get back to Florence. It was a great ride and I have decided that I could just as well take the hour that I would normally take cycling, riding the train and walking and instead just ride straight to their house. Until it starts raining in November. Then I am absolutely taking the train and carrying my umbrella, just in case.

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