These lockdown days we tend to use (we have no choice!) a lot our imagination and talk about the rides we will do when „all that will be over” and the places we’re gonna visit etc. Let me please, contribute to these ideas and maybe even have the honor to figure on your „to-do-rides” list ? Please let me know - in comments below for exemple - what will be the first bike trip you will do when you will finally be allowed to! I would love to hear from you and get some inspiration too ;)
Some time in March 2019 and also this year in the end of October, I visited one of by far the most favorite places on the other side of the „fence”- an Italian town of Dolceaqua. This is one of those rides, that you never forget and the places you always want to get back to, BUT no matter how much you will over-estimate it in your memories - you will never be disappointed by your rediscovery! Personally, I always tend to „discover the unknown” and rather avoid revisiting the same place twice, knowing that there is still so much of stuff to see in the South. And yet, I keep getting back, even to the very same restaurant - Il Borgo, tucked away beautifully in the small square, giving you a clear overview of the town, the church and cute little bridge. A picture perfect spot !
Let me briefly describe the tour we did about a month ago with my fellow cyclist & companion - Chris. I think it’s uncesessary to mention that OF COURSE, we didn’t make it on time for the train we initially planned to catch, but THANKS to that we could enjoy a quick coffee, before boarding on for a long journey to Menton. (the border city of France).
After about 1h and a half by train, but in super-comfy conditions (they even have the power sockets in the train, TER you are doing it right!), we finally got off at the very end of France - Menton Garavan station, ready to get across the border and start climbing the rolling Italian hills.
Our French cycling buddy and a huge amante dell'italia in one person - Fabrice, was already there at the border, waiting for us to join and ride together. We did Perinaldo - Apricale - Isolabona and Dolcequa - short, but very plesant and picturesque loop. First town has a special place at Fabrice’s heart, as he almost bought an apartment once there and he still seems to regret it a bit every time the Italy topic is brought during some conversation. Well it’s never too late as they say…
This Dolce Vita Ride can also be twice as long - f. exemple if you start from Nice and follow the coast all the way to Mentone, then continue until Dolceaqua and then head back, but to make it even more challenging you can add a climb of col de la Madone and a panoramic views of Menone - this is exactly what we did with Sam and Umberto back in March.
This time, we decided to pick up the easier version and chase the sun via coastal route & catch up around Monaco with our long time-no see friend - Ivan „the terrible” (as he likes to call himself;)) - most creative & productive person from the cycling world I’ve met so far on the Cote d’Azur. (you can read on Ivan’s bike pilgrimage of Camino de Santiago in his book, available for a stationary read at Cafe du Cycliste in Nice). Besides, he’s a very talented photographer - check out some of the pictures he took of us during the ride and afterwards ;)
The best part about the Italian Pizza & Pasta ride is a true „evergreen” tour - meaning that you can do it all year long, regardless of the temperature (if you only dress warm enough you will be good to go - the sun will do the rest. There’s even a small tradition here in South that in the winter, the locals would always go on the bike to grab a latte (coffee) at Latte (first Italian town right after crossing the border - like Menton in France).
For those itching to go directly to the Italian side - feel free to browse and find you perfect accommodation with the Hotellook handy map-tool :
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