Monday, January 19, 2015

Amalfi Coast Bike Adventure

The next day, we got a late start (again!).  Peppino was nice enough to help us pack our bikes. We said goodbye to him and Kaylee, the dogs, the cats, and the farm. It was sad.

As for the bikes, Mark was riding on a patched tire with no spare and a loose rear brake. Also, Leaf happened to perfectly drop his bike, damaging his front brake, rendering it useless.  Boy, we needed a bike shop. But we had two days to get on a train in Salerno, so no lolly-gagging. That said, riding on one brake (Leaf and Mark) certainly made the hairpin turns and steep descents of the Amalfi Coast more interesting.  Below are a few examples of guard rails.  On the other side, 200+ feet drops.

Riding on the Amalfi Coast actually turned out to be a lot of fun.  Because it wasn't tourist season, the traffic wasn't too bad and most Italian drivers had a pretty good awareness of cyclist.  Cycling actually felt safer than walking because we were going with the flow of traffic.  We stopped a few times to take pictures, but it was hard to capture how incredible the scenery was. It was especially fun riding through the little towns on the way.

Riding Strategy. . .

Monet rode in front because it was a straight shot (well, straight-ish) and so she not only didn't have to watch a GPS, but also not watch Leaf zip around those precarious turns. Mark and Leaf rode behind, a bit slower. Mark tended to ride further out in the street ("So a car would get me first!") and was constantly generating scenarios in his head where he had to dive over the cliff trying to save Leaf.  Eventually, Leaf learned to keep a pretty straight line and Mark stopped stressing so much. Leaf only bounced his panniers off the guard wall a few times and dropped his bike once (luckily he was going slow and landed in the street with no cars around).

Amalfi (the town)

When we stopped at the actual town of Amalfi it was getting cold and almost dinner time.  We decided to stay for the night and push on to Salerno the next morning. Almalfi is a very old city-state naval trading town, built into a small canyon going into the cliffs.  It was touristy (many Italians come down from Northern Italy for the holidays), but also very beautiful. 

A very strange New Years parade

Leaf trying to decide what to have for a healthy snack

Monet's Mileage Count:

Sorrento to Amalfi 18 miles. We actually started seeing cyclist-- Italians slicked out in racing gear with skinny tires. They all seemed happy to see us and yelled, "Ciao!" when they rode past.

Oh, and there were some hills (see below):

Travel Tip:

When looking for Gelato using a GPS, be careful with these old twisting and turning stone cities.  The GPS may send you over a bridge or smack into a wall.  

Next: Into Salerno and missing our train. . .

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